Lauren Zanardelli Foster, a 37-year-old Pittsburgh native, and Graham Lee Foster, a 34-year-old South Carolina native, were classically trained as chefs at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC where they first met in 2011.
Lauren graduated from Virginia Tech, received her Masters from Duquesne University, and taught elementary school for five years in Charlotte, NC. A desire for a career change and her passion for food and cooking led her to culinary school at Johnson and Wales’ Charlotte campus. Graham earned his degree in Physiology from East Tennessee State University after which he took up residence in Europe for almost a year. Upon his return to the States, he worked as a personal trainer and raced as a Cat 1 professional cyclist. Like Lauren, he decided he wanted to trade one passion for another and also enrolled in the culinary program at Johnson and Wales.
Following the completion of their classroom education, Lauren and Graham moved to NYC to intern in Michelin-rated kitchens. The exploding mobile food scene in New York inspired Lauren and Graham to explore operating a food truck as the best first step in developing their own culinary vision. They opened Neue Southern food truck in Graham’s hometown, Greenville SC, in August 2012. As food truck pioneers in that area of the country, they played a significant role in establishing the regulations and guidelines that cleared the path for the emerging mobile community that followed in their wake. Wanting to explore another area of the country, they moved to Portland Oregon and reopened their business as Neue Southern PDX. In both ventures, the chefs were dedicated to local and sustainable sourcing and natural and organic foods. In addition to the highest-quality products, Lauren and Graham insist on creating as many foods from scratch as possible. Also during this time, Lauren and Graham traveled extensively. Their cuisine incorporates many of the flavors of the Far East, the Americas, Europe with an emphasis on their Southern influences.
The growing culinary reputation of Pittsburgh, and their desire to be closer to family, brought Lauren and Graham back “home.” They married in April of 2016, bought a home in Brookline where they live with their two dogs, Eddy and Nugget, and have spent the two years prior to opening Fairlane, working in the kitchens of a number of highly regarded Pittsburgh restaurants; Dinette, Casellula, Bar Marco, and including Block 292, the predecessor of Fairlane.