A firecracker of a chef, Allie Lyttle knew from a young age that her passion for cooking would take her far. The journey hasn’t always been easy, but she persevered and built an impressive career despite the challenges women face in the male-dominated restaurant industry.
“I had been obsessed with creating through food for as long as I could remember, but I always thought a trade wouldn’t be an acceptable answer to the equation,” Allie wrote in an editorial for The Livingston Post.
Nevertheless, she persisted. At first, she studied nursing in school to get a “real job.” But after getting a C+ in anatomy and physiology and working in a retirement home, she realized health wasn’t the field for her. At the same time, she got her first restaurant job, and it became an a-ha moment: Being a chef could be her career.
Allie decided to pursue her true passion and enrolled in culinary school at Schoolcraft College and earned a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Eastern Michigan University.
After school, Allie honed her skills at renowned establishments such as Zingerman’s Roadhouse before running the kitchens at Detroit’s Parks & Rec diner and taking over for James Beard Award-winning chef Alex Young at The Standard Bistro & Larder in Ann Arbor. (In 2018, Allie even appeared on the Food Network’s Chopped.)
Her culinary philosophy is simple: embrace change and creativity, and always use the best possible ingredients.
“As a chef, I like change,” she told The Livingston Daily. “For me, it’s really using what people like and what is available seasonally, and getting things from farmers and cattle-raisers.”
In 2022, Allie opened LaLa’s Too, a carry-out restaurant in Brighton that specializes in “elevated comfort food.” With a focus on using fresh, seasonal ingredients, the menu changes every two weeks to keep customers on their toes.
Despite initial reservations from her family about her career choice, Allie has become a successful and respected chef in her own right. With plans to open a LaLa’s restaurant in the future and expand LaLa’s Too to additional locations, Allie is excited to continue sharing her passion for food with the world.
Follow Allie on Instagram: @chefallielyttle