Lisa Donovan
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Pastry Chef and James Beard award winning writer

Lisa Donovan

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Bio

Lisa Donovan is a James Beard award winning writer who has redefined what it means to be a "Southern baker" as the pastry chef to some of the South's most influential chefs. She has been formative in developing​,​ writing and establishing a technique driven and historically rich narrative of traditional Southern pastry. Lisa is a regular contributor to Food&Wine and she has been a featured speaker at René Redzepi’s globally renowned MAD Symposium. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post​,​ Eater​,​ LitHub​,​ Saveur. OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HUNGER is her first book.

Synopsis/Praise

“The pastry chef Lisa Donovan knows the insides of some of the South’s top restaurant kitchens even better than people think they want to know them. In her moving, real-talk memoir, the James Beard Award–winning writer describes beautifully the current, sometimes painful moment that Southern writers, editors, and chefs—perhaps especially women—have found themselves in as the world at large seems enamored by Southern food.” —Garden & Gun, Favorite Books for Southerners in 2020 “Donovan is such a vivid writer—smart, raunchy, vulnerable and funny— that if her vaunted caramel cakes and sugar pies are half as good as her prose, well, I'd be open to even giving that signature buttermilk whipped cream she tops her desserts with a try. . . . Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger is about the multiple hungers that Donovan has been driven to satisfy in her life—for wonderful food, certainly, but also for love and community and for gratifying work that can support a family.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR “An absolutely stupendous memoir…defines a philosophy that I value very much: good old American pragmatism—what is most useful is most truthful… She’s an amazing chef, she’s an amazing person, an amazing mom… [Now,] the world will finally get to see what an unbelievable writer she is. She is gifted in ways that most people, even good writers, are not… [Donovan] finally has a platform to let the world know just how talented she is.” —Dave Chang, chef of the Momofuku restaurants and host of “Ugly Delicious” “Lisa is an all-around perfect person, and this book tells the story of one of my favorite people.” —Matty Matheson, New York Magazine “Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger from Southern pastry royalty Lisa Donavan won’t steer you wrong. A heady cocktail of love, family, food, and the fire that drives her personal and professional journey, Donavan really knows how to wring out the marrow in a story, how to bring you into a world that is etched and fleshed out with tremendous skill and a singular voice.” —Thrillist “With anger, honesty, wit and passion...an impeccable blend of deadpan humor, candor and righteousness, Donovan critiques not only the rampant sexism in haute cuisine, but also the misogyny prevalent in our culture at large, not shying away from depicting her experiences of domestic partner abuse, rape and gender-based pay disparity...Assertive and empowering”—Kathleen Rooney, Star Tribune “Donovan documents her struggles in a male-dominated field, her mixed-race heritage, her own experience with abuse and assault and how she put her life back together through the salvation of food."—Zibby Owens, Good Morning America “As much a manifesto as a memoir—in the tradition of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential—Donovan’s testimony is beautifully written, fresh, and powerful. . . . a straightforward, no-holds-barred account of a difficult journey described in vivid, eloquent prose showcasing equal parts strength, anger, persistence, earthy humor, and eventually, something like grace.” —Chapter 16 “Donovan’s story is that of a pastry chef working her way up in an often inhospitable industry, but it’s also about a woman creating her own narrative and grappling with the ways that the choices of the women who came before her—both personally and professionally—affect her life." —Eater "Like Donovan's famous desserts, Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger takes simple ingredients--a woman's life, a journey into motherhood, a romance, a family legacy--and transforms them into something delectable, delicious and downright inspiring." —Shelf Awareness, starred review "Donovan . . . reveals the struggles and hard-fought lessons that have made her the courageous woman that she is today. . . . [W]ritten in a fierce and visceral style. . . . In a world that all too often credits male chefs for the culinary contributions of women and people of color, [Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger] is a valuable addition to the culinary memoir canon." —Booklist "Donovan… chronicles her career as a chef and her unrelenting passion for the culinary arts, but she also digs into her family history, offering keen reflections on the intersections of race and gender and spirited discussions of work, class, and opportunity. . . . [Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger] is not just a lively story of a talented pastry chef at the top of her game; it’s also a profoundly relatable memoir of the pervasive push back against female success. A fresh voice with a recipe for empowerment."— Kirkus "[A] fiesty confessional. . . . Donovan’s candid, passionate memoir will resonate with anyone who has worked in professional kitchens, and particularly women."— Publishers Weekly

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