CHICAGO – After a five-year drought in the winners’ circle, Minnesota has another James Beard Award-winning chef.
Paul Berglund of the Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis was named Best Chef Midwest by the James Beard Foundation at its annual awards gala on Monday night in Chicago. The awards are often considered the Oscars of the food world.
Berglund thanked all of the restaurant’s farmers, and farmers across the country. “Farm by farm, they’re showing that positive change can really happen,” he told the black-tie crowd at the city’s Civic Opera House.
He was also uncharacteristically not-so-Midwestern: “To my team in the kitchen, I love you guys so very much.”
Back in Minneapolis, the kitchen crew had a live stream of the Beard Awards. Michael Hoolihan, assistant general manager, heard a shout, went into the kitchen and was greeted with all smiles.
“We couldn’t be more happy for Paul and the restaurant,” he said, noting that the staff was passing out sparkling wine to customers there during the announcement.
Nathan Rostance, the restaurant’s managing director, was listening to the live stream from the Beard Awards when he heard the news. “I don’t think I cried this much when my daughter was born,” he said.
“This is a win not just for us, but for Minneapolis,” Rostance said. “Being this far north, we are at a bit of a disadvantage. It’s hard for people to get here, which makes this award even more special.”
Berglund was previously nominated in 2014 and 2015.
The Bachelor Farmer was named Restaurant of the Year in 2011 by the Star Tribune.
Previous local Best Chef Midwest winners include Tim McKee of the former La Belle Vie (2009), Alex Roberts of Restaurant Alma (2010) and Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery (2011).
Minneapolis was well-represented at the gala that followed the awards, with three local chefs cooking: Jamie Malone and Erik Anderson of the upcoming Brut, as well as pastry chef Diane Yang of Spoon and Stable.
Lee Svitak Dean contributed to this report.