Today, I’m featuring yet another accomplished, award-winning chef in Philadelphia you should know. Anna Lee-Lendvay has worked in the culinary arts and hospitality industry for a long time, but you might not have heard her name before. I’m happy to shine a light on her culinary history and current projects so that you can get to know and follow her.
Anna’s culinary path began at the early age of 12, working at her father’s restaurant, The Mai Kai, in North Bergen, New Jersey.
Her next decade in the culinary world, she worked at the St. Regis Hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel, The Essex House Hotel with Master Chef Christian Delouvier, then the Plaza Hotel Edwardian Room Restaurant.
1n 1997, Anna decided to go back to college and get a degree in hospitality management at NYC Technical College.
Once she graduated, she landed a job as the Executive Assistant to the President and Vice President of Foodcom, a PR firm representing the International Olive Oil Council. In this new position, she organized press tours to Spain and Portugal, and she worked on a cookbook editing recipes from Star Chefs from all over the world. Anna also had the opportunity to meet and work with famous chefs and assisted at the James Beard Awards Dinners.
In the years to follow, Anna became the Executive Assistant to famous chefs and restauranteurs, such as Pino Luongo (Le Madre), Chef Francois Payard (Payard Patisserie & Bistro), Chef Gray Kunz (Café Gray), Chef Gabriel Kreuther (The Modern), and Reika Yo (EN Japanese Brasserie).
In 2005, after volunteering for Lend a Hand India, Anna decided to move to Philadelphia. She felt Philadelphia had a lot to offer and where she could realize the possibility of owning a restaurant one day.
In 2011, at 43 years old, Anna got married and welcomed a daughter. She chose to take a few years off cooking professionally to become a stay-at-home mom, focusing her energy on raising her daughter.
In 2016, Anna experienced a significant loss with her mother and sister-in-law’s passing. This increased stress resulted in the discovery of Anna’s Graves’ Disease. By eliminating inflammation-causing foods, she decreased many of its side effects and managed her disease better through a gluten-free diet. This new awareness inspired her to create a food delivery service that offers gluten-free, healthy, delicious, and affordable meals. Healthy Meals by Anna serves the Greater Philadelphia area.
This summer, Anna will be coming out with a line of products called Anna Lee Foods, offering marinades, sauces, dressings, and snacks.
This lady is one to watch and proves that you can follow your dreams at any time and under any circumstances. Go, Anna!
Let us know another woman chef to feature in honor of Women’s History Month. Get in touch!
Food enthusiast. Travel lover. Social media maven.
Independent Journalist. Food marketing/PR expert.