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Women chefs/restaurateurs speak mind in new video

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: April 18, 2015 - 12:40 AM
Brenda Langton speaks as one of the four local women in the film, "Women Chefs of the North."

Brenda Langton speaks as one of the four local women in the film, "Women Chefs of the North."

The March magazine cover of Mpls.St. Paul magazine, where no women were included in its "Best Restaurants" photo, prompted local women chefs and restaurateurs to respond in unprecedented ways that included a letter to the public, as well as a film to be presented this weekend at the Women Chefs & Restaurateurs conference in New York City.

Filmmaker Joanna Kohler talked with four Minneapolis chef/restaurateurs to create "Women Chefs of the North":  Kim Bartmann, who owns eight restaurants, including The Third Bird and Tiny Diner; Brenda Langton of Spoonriver; and Carrie Summer and Lisa Carlson, both of Chef Shack in Bay City, Wis., and Chef Shack Ranch and the Chef Shack food trucks.  The film, "Women Chefs of the North," offers these recommendations for the media and for other women in the industry to improve the lives of their peers in the restaurant business.

1. A redefinition of what's called "best food," possibly to include an acknowledgement of different styles,  ethnicities and price points.

2. A change in the media's presentation of the restaurant community to reflect its breadth and diversity.

3. The creation of a local network of women chefs and restaurateurs.

4. The support of young female chefs through a fast-track program with other women in the restaurant business around the country.

Find out more at Women Chefs and Restaurateurs of the Twin Cities. The Minneapolis women are proposing to bring the 2017 conference to the Twin Cities, says Lisa Carlson.

Food & Wine magazine heralds Heyday chef Jim Christiansen

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: April 1, 2015 - 7:31 AM

It’s official: Jim Christiansen of Heyday (2700 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-200-9369, www.heydayeats.com) is one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs.

Christiansen learned the news about a month ago — via a call from the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Dana Cowin — and keeping the news under wraps in advance of Tuesday’s announcement was not easy.

“That was not good,” he said with a laugh. “I just wanted to tell everybody, especially all of the people that I work with. It’s another chapter for Heyday, about doing what we do, and about progessing, and going forward, and building a great team.”

He was in New York City on Tuesday, posing for photographers and meeting-and-greeting at a gala announcement event.

“I’m just so grateful to be a part of this group,” he said. “They’re all super-talented.”

The news coincide’s with the restaurant’s 1-year anniversary, and to celebrate, Christiansen is planning a greatest-hits tasting menu to run April 23 through April 25. If he can acquire the necessary city permits, Heyday would like to host a block party on April 26. “We’ll get some music, and some grills, and some guest chefs,” he said.

Christiansen is the sixth Minneapolis chef to join the magazine’s Best New Chefs fraternity. Earlier BNCs include Tim Anderson (formerly of Goodfellow’s) in 1991, Tim McKee (of La Belle Vie, then at the former D’Amico Cucina) in 1997, Seth Bixby Daugherty (formerly of Cosmos) in 2005, Stewart Woodman (of Workshop at Union, then at the former Heidi’s) in 2006 and Jamie Malone (formerly of Sea Change) in 2013. A seventh, Erik Anderson (formerly of Sea Change) was a 2012 honoree for his work at Catbird Seat in Nashville. Malone and Anderson are working to open Brut in Minneapolis.

“We’re a great food city,” said Christiansen.

Along with Christiansen, the 2015 group includes Bryce Shuman of Betony in New York City, Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas of Olamaie in Austin, Zoi Antonitsas of Westward in Seattle, Jake Bickelhaupt of 42 Grams in Chicago, Jonathan Brooks of Milktooth in Indianapolis, Katie Button of Cúrate in Asheville, N.C., Tim Maslow of Ribelle in Brookline, Mass., Ori Menashe of Bestia in Los Angeles and Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Being in the Food & Wine spotlight isn't Christiansen's first taste of national recognition. In Februrary, he was named a semifinalist for Best Chef: Midwest by the James Beard Foundation.

Food & Wine's 2015 Best New Chefs — who must be in charge of a kitchen for five years or fewer — will be featured in the magazine’s July issue and will participate in the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colo., from June 19 through 21.  

Minnesota restaurants, chefs, architects and media garner James Beard award nominations

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: March 24, 2015 - 1:39 PM

The James Beard Foundation announced nominations for their 2015 awards -- widely considered the Oscars of the food world -- and Minnesota is well-represented across the board.

Four-month-old Spoon and Stable (pictured, above) was nominated for Best New Restaurant. It’s the first time a Minnesota restaurant has been nominated in the national category. The restaurant, led by chef Gavin Kaysen (a Beard winner in 2008 for Rising Star Chef of the Year, bestowed upon chefs "age 30 or younger who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come"), is competing with Bâtard and Cosme in New York City, Central Provisions in Portland, Me., Parachute in Chicago, Petit Trois in Los Angeles and the Progress in San Francisco.

The North Loop newcomer has another Minnesota first: A Beard nomination for Outstanding Restaurant Design. Shea Inc. of Minneapolis was nominated in the 76 Seats and Over category for its work, a conversion of 1906 stable. It is the firm’s first Beard nomination. Other nominees in the category include the Grey in Savannah, Ga., designed by Parts and Labor Design in New York City, and Workshop Kitchen + Bar in Palm Springs, Calif., designed by SOMA of New York City.

“It’s a good way to start a morning,” said Kaysen with a laugh.

Kaysen was alone at home – his wife Linda was taking their children to school – and going through the motions of making breakfast while watching the announcement as it rolled through the Beard Foundation’s Twitter feed.

“Then my phone started to blow up, and I was literally crying tears of joy as I was thinking of all the people who have worked so hard to get us where we are today,” he said. “To me, the amazing part is to see us get two nominations. You just never know how it’s going to pan out. I tried not to speculate. I’m just proud of what we do, and that’s what’s important. But it’s history, right? This has never happened in Minneapolis.”

Three Minnesotans are nominees in the Best Chef: Midwest category: Paul Berglund of the Bachelor Farmer, Michelle Gayer of the Salty Tart and Lenny Russo of Heartland Restaurant. They’re competing with Gerard Craft of Niche in St. Louis and Justin Carlisle of Ardent in Milwaukee. Russo is a five-time nominee in the category, and this is Gayer’s third consecutive nomination (along with two previous nominations in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category). This is Berglund’s second nomination.

For its 10 regional chef awards -- given to those "who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions" -- the James Beard Foundation divides the country into 10 geographic regions. The Midwest region includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.

Restaurant and chef awards will be announced at a gala program at the Chicago Lyric Opera on May 4. It's the first time in the awards' 25-year history that they are taking place outside New York City. 

“I’m thrilled that it’s going to be in Chicago, and not just because it’s a shorter flight,” said Kaysen with a laugh. “The Beard Foundation is doing what they stand for, which is spreading the wealth and the love throughout the whole country. They see what we see, which is that destination dining is spreading across the country. It’s going to be incredible, to be in Chicago with all those amazing chefs and restaurateurs and designers and media people. I know that there’s going to be some pretty great parties.”

In broadcast and new media, Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods” is a nominee in TV Program on Location, the Perennial Plate (by Minneapolitans Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine) in Video Webcast on Location and DeRusha Eats by Jason DeRusha of WCCO-TV in TV Segment. “Bizarre Foods” won the award in 2012 and was a nominee in 2011. Perennial Plate is a 2013 and 2014 winner. It’s the first Beard nomination for “DeRusha Eats.”

Media winners will be announced in New York City on April 24.

Congratulations to the nominees.

Where are all the women?

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: March 4, 2015 - 5:11 PM

The photograph of 15 male chefs featured on the cover of this month's Mpls.St. Paul magazine (above) has local female chefs and restaurateurs angry. Food-and-dining senior editor Stephanie March offered the reasoning in a subsequent blog post

The public response from 22 women, crafted in reaction to this month's cover of MSP magazine, is as follows:  

“Where are all the women?” We Are All Right Here!

As a group of female chefs and restaurateurs, we’re moved to respond collectively.

We’re outraged at the viewpoint taken by the cover and subsequent editorial comments on the March issue of Mpls St. Paul Magazine depicting the best chefs of the Twin Cities as all male. It’s a false and embarrassing representation of our diverse food community.

Did anybody notice that your mothers, wives and sisters weren’t in the room?

As a young female grocery store clerk remarked when handing one of us the issue—“Where are all the women?”

The media, as our society’s most influential institution, has a duty to advocate against gender and racial inequalities. As Alice Waters pointed out in 2013, “I think it’s a matter of how we go about the reviewing of our restaurants. Is it really about 3-star places and expensive eccentric cuisine? The restaurants that are most celebrated are never the ones that are the simple places.”

We take this opportunity to have a lasting impact by engaging in ongoing conversation on this topic in our community.

We pledge to hold the media accountable.

We’re committed to fostering the development of our diverse and talented young food industry workers for the next generation. It takes a village.

These, and many other women and men contributed to this conversation and the ideas expressed in this letter:

Lisa Carlson

Brenda Langton

Kim Bartmann

Nettie Colon

Hannah Benti

Nan Bailly

Heather Kim

Carrie L. Summer

Maren Mattson

Taya Kaufenberg

Heather Kim

Sue Zelickson

Beth Fisher

Tracy Singleton

Liz Benser 

Dana Kevlahan

Stephanie Worums 

Sarah Masters

Sylvia Izabella

Linda Quinn

Tamara Brown

Soile Anderson

Tammy Wong

Pillsbury Bake-Off announces million-dollar winner

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: December 3, 2014 - 2:52 PM
Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters won $1 million at this year's Pillsbury Bake-Off.

Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters won $1 million at this year's Pillsbury Bake-Off.

Is a sweet treat made of packaged ingredients worth a million dollars? (The more important question may be, "Is this really cooking?")

The public apparently thought so when, for the first time ever, the winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off was determined by those who voted online.

Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters was announced today as the winner, out of the four finalists, which all made heavy use of brand-name products.

Here is the winning recipe and the three finalists (none of the cooks are from Minnesota, or even the Midwest). The brand names have been removed from the recipes as printed here, except where there didn't seem to be an equivalent.

PEANUTTY PIE CRUST CLUSTERS

Makes 30 clusters.

Note: Grand prize winner of 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. From Beth Royals of Richmond, Virginia. This appears to be a variation, sort of, of Pearson's Salted Nut Roll. 

1 refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box

1 bag (12 ounce) white vanilla baking chips (2 cups)

1 tablespoon butter-flavored all-vegetable shortening 

1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

1 cup salted cocktail peanuts

2/3 cup toffee bits

Directions

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with wax paper.

Unroll pie crust on work surface. With pizza cutter or knife, cut into 16 rows by 16 rows to make small squares. Arrange squares in single layer on large ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove squares from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 5 minutes.

In large microwavable bowl, microwave baking chips, shortening and peanut butter uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring once, until chips can be stirred smooth. Add pie crust squares, peanuts and toffee bits; stir gently until evenly coated. Immediately drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lined cookie sheets. (If mixture gets too thick, microwave on High 15 seconds; stir.) Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until set. Store covered.

Cuban-Style Sandwich Pockets, a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off

Cuban-Style Sandwich Pockets, a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off

CUBAN-STYLE SANDWICH POCKETS

Makes 6 sandwiches.

Note: From Courtney Sawyer, Bellingham, Wash.

3 tablespoons coarse-grained mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cans refrigerated seamless dough for crescent rolls

8 ounces ground pork

6 slices (3/4 ounce each) cooked ham from deli

6 slices (3/4 ounce each) Swiss cheese

18 dill pickle chips

Directions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray large cookie sheet with no-stick cooking spray.

In small bowl, mix mustard and cumin. Unroll dough sheets on work surface. Cut each sheet into thirds. Press each third into 7 ½  by 4 ½ -inch rectangle. Spread mustard mixture evenly over each rectangle to within 1/2 inch of edges.

Shape pork into 6 (3-inch) squares; place over mustard on each rectangle. Top each pork patty with 1 slice ham, 1 slice cheese and 3 pickle chips. Fold dough over filling; press edges firmly with fork to seal. Prick top of each pocket 3 times with fork. Place pockets 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown and meat thermometer inserted in center of pockets reads 160 degrees. (It’s easy to substitute crescent dinner rolls for the seamless dough sheet. Just unroll the dough and firmly press perforations to seal),

Chocolate Doughnut Poppers, a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off

Chocolate Doughnut Poppers, a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off

CHOCOLATE DOUGHNUT POPPERS

Makes 9 doughnut poppers.

Note: From Megan Beimer of Carlsbad, Calif.

1 can refrigerated seamless dough for crescent rolls

5 tablespoons chocolate-flavored hazelnut spread

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 cup powdered sugar

3 to 4 teaspoons milk

1/4 cup finely chopped nuts

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly sprinkle work surface with flour. Unroll dough on work surface; press to form 12- by 9-inch rectangle. With pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into 3 rows by 3 rows to make 9 rectangles.

Spoon rounded teaspoonful hazelnut spread onto center of each rectangle. Brush edges of rectangles with melted butter. Bring dough up around filling to cover completely. Pinch edges together to seal; shape into ball. Place seam side down, 2 inches apart, on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk with whisk until smooth and thin enough to glaze. Dip top of each doughnut popper into glaze; place on parchment paper. Let stand about 1 minute or until glaze is set. Place nuts in small bowl. Dip each popper into glaze again, then into nuts. Serve warm.

Creamy Corn-Filled Sweet Peppers

Creamy Corn-Filled Sweet Peppers

CREAMY CORN-FILLED SWEET PEPPERS

Makes 22.

Note: From Jody Walker of Madison, Miss.

1 bag (11 oz.) Green Giant Steamers frozen honey-roasted sweet corn

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

11 mini-sweet peppers (3 to 4 inches long), cut in half lengthwise leaving stem attached, seeded

1 can refrigerated seamless dough for crescent rolls or 1 can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (8 rolls)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Microwave corn as directed on bag. Cut open bag; cool 10 minutes.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add corn, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning; mix well. Place cream cheese mixture in large resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut off 1/2 inch from corner of bag. Squeeze bag to pipe filling into each pepper half.

 Unroll dough. (If using crescent roll dough, firmly press perforations to seal.) Press to form 11 by 9inch rectangle. With pizza cutter or knife, cut dough into 22 (9 by 1/2-inch) strips.

 Wrap 1 dough strip around each pepper, from stem to tip. Place filling-side up on cookie sheet, tucking in ends of dough under pepper.

Bake 12 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix melted butter and remaining 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Remove peppers from oven; brush with butter mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese evenly over peppers. Serve warm.

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