I am Erwin John Tan.
I was born in Manila, braised in a Chinese culture peppered with Filipino flare. My parents ran multiple food businesses and this planted the seed of curiosity and inspiration for the love of food. In my eyes, my dad was king of savory and my mom was queen of pastry, perfect pairing right? My parents, were self-taught chef owners, taking seminars and classes whenever and wherever they were offered. I remember tagging along in their adventures trying to make sense of it all. From procuring essential elements, preparing these ingredients with precision, and then executing the methods to make delicious works of art.
My whole family moved to America when I was 17 via the Big Apple and now I reside in the Windy City. I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and focused on fitness and wellness (BS and MS in Exercise Physiology). I was also a competitive swimmer, and from an early age my parents always stressed the importance of having nutritious well-balanced meals for optimal performance and development.
Working in the fitness and wellness industry, I met individuals with not only specific fitness goals, but also various dietary needs. I began tinkering with recipes on how it would be like to be gluten free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian and dairy free. I started cooking for friends and family then preparing meals and pastries for clients. This was when being in the kitchen meant more than just putting food on a plate. I started to notice different flavor profiles making food that was both delicious and visually appealing.
In 2014, I enrolled into the French Pastry School's l'art de patisserie program. For 24 weeks I studied under exemplary and accomplished chefs. It was during this time, my culinary passion started to percolate. Every day in class was such an adventure into the unknown and a wonderful opportunity to pick their brains while learning flawless techniques. Story time was the best, I listened and noted the experiences that they would share. Little verses that they would say still echo in my head every time I'm in the kitchen.
Shortly after graduating, I started working at Eataly Chicago where I learned so much about the food industry. Being thrown into the fire, and not really knowing what to expect, I thrived in pastry production, plating desserts, writing in chocolate on the fly, and working the line at Chef Mario Batali's restaurant, Baffo Ristorante. I also made gelato and sorbet, all 20 plus flavors made fresh daily. Eataly was the perfect crash course for a sponge like me. I couldn't have picked a better place to incubate my ideas and soak in the highs and lows of my 2-year tenure.
Eataly was great, but what I missed the most was the personal interaction with people just like with personal fitness training and massage therapy. I decided to leave the comfort of Eataly to create my own food and pastry company. My recipes and creations serve as mementos to my heritage, inspirational classics and to the people dearest to me. I would like to share my love and passion for food with you and in the words of Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher: “Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.” I hope you find savory and sweet satisfaction from my meals and desserts.
Thank you for taking a moment out of your day to read a little about me.