A native of Chicago, Gand has always been an artist and spent her college years studying silver and goldsmithing. When she took a year off and went to work in a restaurant, she discovered that the skills she had learned in art translated well to cuisine. She started her own catering company and also worked three years at the Strathallen Hotel in Rochester, NY. There she met culinary partner Rick Tramonto.
During that time, Gand traveled twice to Europe for pastry classes at La Varenne in Paris and worked in a number of bakeries and restaurants throughout France. In 1985, Gand moved to New York City where she cooked at Jam's with Jonathan Waxman. Later, she moved to The Gotham Bar & Grill with Alfred Portale where her desserts were awarded three stars by The New York Times critic Bryan Miller.
Feeling homesick for Chicago, Gand moved back to the city in 1987 and worked at Carlo's restaurant That same year, she won first place in the Heart Healthy Desserts Competition from the Chicago Heart Association and became pastry chef at the Pump Room. She opened several restaurants, including Bella Luna, at which time William Rice of the Chicago Tribune, named her a "Dessert Diva."
While she was pastry chef at Bice, Gand was referred by Rich Melman (Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises) to Bob Payton who operated 14 American-style restaurants in London and 17 other venues across Europe. Payton asked Tramonto and Gand to transform the kitchen and cuisine at Stapleford Park, a five-star hotel in Leicestershire, 90 minutes from London, and they accepted the opportunity to live and work in England, France and Spain. Stapleford Park received acclaim from some of London's toughest reviewers. Fay Maschler of the London Evening Standard called Gand's ice creams "the best that I have tasted in Britain." Perhaps the greatest acknowledgment of their talents was receiving the red "M" in the 1991 Michelin guide, the first received by an American in five years.
Upon returning to Chicago in 1993, Gand worked at four-star Charlie Trotter's before joining Tramonto and Henry Adaniya to open the triumphant Trio, earning the Chicago Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel’s first four-star rating in six years. Tramonto and Gand sold their partnership in Trio in 1995 after opening the popular Brasserie T. In 1996 they opened Vanilla Bean Bakery, which they sold a year and a half later to clear their plates in preparation for the opening of their world-class fine-dining restaurant Tru with partner Rich Melman. In 2001 they closed Brasserie T to fully focus on Tru.