French Bakery Opening

Later this Spring a New Bakery is Set to Debut, Elevating the Downtown Lake Zurich Scene.

Article by Michael Beightol

Photography by Stephen Neilson

Originally published in SW Lake Lifestyle

She had me at the macaroons. Delightfully colorful. Light, almost airy with a satisfying crunch to the outer shell followed by a not too sweet melt-in-your-mouth creaminess.

Jenn Duke, a 30-something mom and Lake Zurich resident, is busy planning for the opening of Après Pastry & Bakery. It will be right next door to Lake Zurich Florist on Old Rand Road (near Main Street).

Duke’s first foray as an entrepreneur represents an early career change for her. A 2009 grad from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), she used her communications training to first work as a public relations and marketing associate in the healthcare and consulting industries.

A hankering for a career change led her to the French Pastry School. Founded in 1995 and located in downtown Chicago, it’s the only major culinary school in North America dedicated to all things sweet and baked.

Duke continued her education with internships, and most recently worked for three years at Hewn Bakery (Evanston and Libertyville), an independently owned artisan bakery that focuses on hand hewn, naturally fermented breads and pastries. Significantly, to further establish her French credentials, Duke also served as a stagiaire at Pierre Hermé in Paris.

With a little luck and a lot of hard work, Duke is preparing for the grand opening of Après this Spring. Right now her days are busy with requisitioning equipment and furnishings, designing marketing and staff uniforms, and refining recipes for her French focused approach to baking. Duke is even planning some Asian influences as an homage to her family heritage.

When her bakery opens, expect a warm and welcoming place, perfect for a sweet treat while visiting with friends or for picking up a loaf of bread or a special order.

To learn more about Après Pastry & Bakery follow them on social media or visit them at

For a treat or special occasion, Jenn Duke’s bakery will appeal to everyone.

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