Jennifer Lyle: “Be Your Own Hero” | Talks at Google

Jennifer’s love for baking began after she spent a summer baking pies with her grandpa in her youth. After attending Detroit public schools and Howard University, she took a job with Teach for America in Atlanta. While working with Teach for America, she acted as head coach for her school’s cheer team. She taught the girls how to bake and they raised money through the sale of their pastries. This experience made Jennifer realize how much she loved cooking.

After she moved home to take care of her ailing father, she began to bake her grandpa’s pies to sell to small markets. Eventually, Eastern Market gave Jennifer the chance to be a “pilot vendor”. As a pilot vendor, she had 5 weeks to prove herself and sell her product. When she first started it wasn’t going well – she wasn’t selling anything. She called her aunt who came and physically pushed her to get out in the aisle and start advocating for herself and selling her product by talking to people.

Eventually, Jennifer began connecting with food shows and grocery stores . After competing in a Kroger food show, she was given the chance to prove herself again by selling her pies in a Kroger store and was incredibly successful. She now has deals with Kroger, Buschs, Westborn, and Meijer.

This year, Jennifer is opening a store front near Little Caesars Arena and has hired young, aspiring pastry chefs from Detroit to grow their culinary skills. She also partners them with mentors who share their passions and help them grow their professional skills.

You can find her website at

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