San Diego native Aly Lyng is the pastry chef at George’s at the Cove, a nationally-renowned, ocean-view dining destination on Prospect Street in the heart of La Jolla. Learn about Aly Lyng…
Hometown: I am a San Diego native. I went to high school and college in La Mesa just outside of the city, and I still have most of my immediate family right here in San Diego.
First job: My first job was in high school at Helix Environmental Planning. I worked after school as an admin clerk. I would help file paperwork, set up offices and learned a little bit about setting up desktops with the IT department head. My first food service job was at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, known as the Wild Animal Park. They often scheduled me to work at Safari Cones, which was building ice cream sundaes and cones and handling the cash register. I always made the cones as perfect as possible and as tall as I could. Little did I know I’d be following a career in pastry.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: My husband was gifted his father’s Jeep when he passed, so we have stumbled into the off-roading world. The Otay Mountain Truck Trail is a beautiful afternoon trip we love to go on and watch the sunset from there. You can see all of San Diego; it’s a great hidden gem.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: I’d have to say that my biggest accomplishment is following my career to where I am now. I started college thinking I wanted to study oceanography, and I ended up realizing that I wanted to be a pastry chef. And here I am, doing it day in and day out at George’s at the Cove working with renowned Chef Trey Foshee. I absolutely love what I do.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: I think the most uncertain times in my life have been fairly recent. When the pandemic shut down all restaurants, we had so many unknowns to solve. My husband and I both knew we didn’t want to sit around and that we needed to make money in some way. So I started making miniature pies and selling them as a way to give a small piece of cheer to not only ourselves but to the community. Aly’s Pie is now on the menu at our sister restaurant, Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters.
Someone who inspires you and why: My sous chef, Anna Adams. She has an eye for detail. We’ve worked together almost eight years now, and we’re always bouncing ideas back and forth. It’s very rewarding working with her and we keep pushing each other to come up with new things for the next menu, and the next.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Pay attention to how other cooks and chefs are working around you. Try not to just focus on what your duties are, but see the bigger picture as well. Absorb as much information as possible, and practice. You don’t need to nail it on the first time.
Favorite quote: “Look with your hands, and not your eyes.” Something our Executive Chef Masa Kojima used to tell me as a young cook. I now say this when cooks come back from the walk-in fridge saying they can’t find an ingredient.
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: My dad owns and lives on a sailboat, and I grew up living with him on the boat on the weekends.
What makes someone fabulous: Treating people with kindness, and being true to yourself. Pursuing your goals even if it seems out of reach, and allowing yourself room to fail.