Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

Lauren Lane: “Hospitality is love in action.”

By  0 Comments

Many leaders in the business world seem to have the same basic formula for success: a little bit of luck, a dream to follow, a whole lot of passion driving them forward and the personal faith to take the plunge. This recipe for achievement holds true for Lauren Lane, culinary influencer, cooking instructor and recipe developer. Lauren will join the staff of HERLIFE Magazine in January, creating a monthly food column to share delicious recipes and entertainment ideas.

“I want to inspire people to bring the dinner table back. Some of the best memories are made in the kitchen and around the table with family and friends,” she shared. “Anyone can learn to cook and entertain. I show them how with easy recipes and entertaining tips. You can get a recipe from anywhere; I want to make the process more enjoyable.”

Sparking Joy
As a youngster, Lauren lived in Illinois but visited her father frequently in Virginia. He was a great host, creating amazing meals for his family with ingredients from his own garden. Eventually, his influence and that of her mother-in-law moved her to begin cooking on her own.

“When I started cooking, I wasn’t very good, but I kept at it because it brought me so much joy. I loved having my friends over and feeding them for Saturday night suppers. Then I started to cook really well and people started requesting my recipes and asking me to help with special-occasion dinners,” Lauren recalled. “Then I began posting recipes and photos on Instagram and my blog and people liked what I posted. Following my passion suddenly became a business opportunity. I believe I was always meant to do something more but it took me a while to figure it out.”

Her journey to her present-day occupation took decades to complete. By most accounts, she had the ultimate life: great corporate career, family and a passion for cooking. But at the age of 50, Lauren realized there had to be more to life than what she was experiencing. “I was an art director for merchandising at Hallmark and led the creative account for Walmart. My team and I designed the fixtures and graphics to generate a compelling environment to shop,” Lauren shared. “But I had to leave Hallmark for my sanity; I said to myself that I’m turning 50 and, if I stay another year, I’m going to flip out.”

The Launch
Two years ago, on April Fool’s Day, Lauren said goodbye to corporate life at Hallmark and hello to the unknown world of culinary creativity. She had countless hours of recipe and meal creations under her belt and a huge social media following, but the world of actually running her own business fell outside her mixing bowl. “I did a lot of meditating and dreaming, but I truly believe you are born with what you are meant to do on earth. I feel that the dreams you had when you were little are pushed aside because life gets in the way and people forget their dreams. Going back to them is not a bad thing. I never thought I would have a business, but now I’m so passionate about the brand I’m creating and expanding my horizons,” noted Lauren. “It’s never too late to pick a new direction in your life. I quit my corporate gig after 25 years to pursue my love of cooking, entertaining and people. I lovingly call this my second act or my life reinvented.”

Lauren isn’t about stuffy tablescapes or difficult, multi-step recipes. Her food is amazingly tasty yet simplistic in preparation. She’s a champion of dishes that can be made ahead. Her goal is to keep the cook out of the kitchen and around the table conversing and enjoying the company of her guests. “In my social media, I share imagery that’s beautiful but uncover how easy it is to plan a wonderful evening. I don’t focus on complex recipes, and everything doesn’t have to be so fussy. I focus on rustic, casual, simple, beautiful evenings full of love,” remarked Lauren. “I want to inspire others to find what they’re passionate about and go for it. But my main goal is to try to get people around the table, relax and make memories.”

Creative Endeavors
As she continued to build her brand, Lauren was asked by a local company, Cervasi, featuring Italian products, to create content for them. This was followed by other companies. She does teach cooking classes and host pop-up dinners, but she’s cut back on the number she offers. The majority of her time is spent on her social media presence by creating recipes, capturing enticing photographs or shooting and editing instructional videos. In every endeavor, she is creating helpful and entertaining original content and finding different ways of sharing those ideas with others.

“Success for me is finding your passion. Most people have passions but may have forgotten about them. For Lauren Lane, I’ve never worked harder, but I love it because I have the freedom to work from different places and do what I want to do each day,” she added. “I say that you should find your passion and go full throttle. I’m about trusting the universe and leaning into what feels right. I’m a spiritual person, and when I spend time being quiet, I have the opportunity to see my path more clearly.”

Of the hundreds of recipes she’s created, Lauren believes her braised short ribs are her absolute best creation. They’re fall-off-the-bone tender and roll-your-eyes delicious, and she claims anyone can take her recipe and create a mealtime masterpiece. “I was at a restaurant with my sister, and she ordered braised short ribs. I tried them, loved them and wanted to learn how to make them,” she recalled. “Finally, I perfected the recipe and made it for a corporate team-building meeting. A friend wanted me to teach her how to make it, and that was one of my first recipes I perfected and put on the blog. They’re some of the best around and perfect for entertaining because you can make it ahead.”

When it comes to the sometimes-fickle job of cooking in the kitchen, things can go wrong no matter how experienced you are. But just like a pro golfer who hits a shot in a bunker and with the next swing lands the ball on the green, a good cook will know how to make the best when things go south. “I was hosting a paid pop-up dinner, and I had people seated around the dinner table as I made the main course. I thought the oven was on but it wasn’t,” Lauren said. “I urged my guests to head out to the patio, grab a blanket, sit by the fire, enjoy some wine and have an intermission. Forty minutes later they had their dinner and they loved their time outside almost like it was planned.”

Recipe for Success
As she continues creating her business, every day Lauren learns new ways to go about things, adding to her vast knowledge and experience. She shares this advice for other entrepreneurs. “You can’t do it all by yourself. I realized that I need to figure out what I’m best at. I hired an editor to help me edit my copy because I’m a horrible writer. Most everything goes through her before it’s posted. I believe you can learn to do anything, whether it’s through online classes, YouTube or hiring someone to teach you,” Lauren offered. “I also say don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. It’s never too late to follow your dream. For me it was cooking and entertaining. Hospitality is love in action and you can show that you care when you feed others around the dinner table.”

Lauren Lane is mixing and measuring a pinch of this and a little of that as she cooks up a delicious future with many more dishes to develop, share and teach to others. She relishes her new role and looks forward to a solid future filled with love and laughter.

“I have big Oprah-sized goals. I have an idea for a new type of entertainment cooking show for my Instagram TV channel and am currently working on a kitchen/entertaining lifestyle product line. So many ideas and so little time,” Lauren shared. “I am a creative that loves to cook, entertain, design spaces, travel and learn new things. I want my audience to feel my love and passion for life and I share all of my ideas through my Instagram and blog posts. I hope to inspire others and give them a desire to fulfill their dreams and goals.”