Chef Ann Swanson

Ann Swanson’s culinary career began at a young age while in high school, working in Monticello, IL at a local restaurant called Sage City Café. After high school, Ann pursued her studies in Hospitality Management from the University of South Carolina, while simultaneously running a kitchen for an upscale Italian restaurant called Garibaldi’s.

Ann Swanson

Following her undergraduate studies, Ann moved to Charleston, SC where she worked four years at McCrady’s for owner and Executive Chef, Sean Brock, known for “Mind of a Chef” PBS TV series, gaining knowledge of molecular gastronnomy and working with sous vide techniques.

In 2010, Ann moved back to Illinois working for Bacaro starting their Market Monday themed dinners that were focused on using produce from the local Urbana Market. The dinners showcased local farmers and helped to promote farm fresh food on a weekly basis.

Another opportunity came open for Ann to create and manage a vegetable farm for the Hendrick House which provides dining services to University of Illinois students. Ann currently manages a 2-acre vegetable farm and high tunnel hydroponics courtesy of the University of Illinois Department of Crop Sciences, and is committed to serving fresh local ingredients.

Ann’s blog can be found at where she tracks her farm adventures.