It was the first time the company had entered in the competition, which represents “the forefront of American craft food, making products that are delicious, respectful of the environment and connected to communities and cultural traditions.”
“I was surprised,” said Red Table owner Mike Phillips. “We entered three, hoping one might win.”
Phillips (pictured, above, in a Star Tribune file photo) and his crew shipped almost 400 pounds of product ahead of their arrival. “We’ll have a lot of people to feed,” he said, at both a gala party following the awards – which took place at the city’s Herbst Pavilion in the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge – and at a weekend-long marketplace. The awards were hosted by Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters, International Slow Food Movement founder Carlo Petrini and Newman’s Own Organics founder Nell Newman.
Red Table wasn’t the only Minnesota winner. Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Co. in Minneapolis won for its Suke Quto Ethiopian coffee, and Far North Spirits in Hallock was recognized for its Gustaf Navy Strength Gin.
The Midwest was well-represented. Wisconsin won six awards: Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee for its Growing Power Organic Powerhouse Pale Ale, AeppelTreow Winery & Distillery in Burlington for its Barn Swallow cider, Ela Cider Co. in Rochester for its Stone Silo cider, JBC Coffee Roasters in Madison for its Finca La Mula Panama Geisha coffee, Kickapoo Coffee Roasters in Viroqua for its Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Idido Cooperative coffee and Ruby Coffee Roasters in Nelsonville for its Ethiopia Guji Uraga coffee. And from Iowa, winners include La Quercia in Norwalk for its Speck Americano and Milton Creamery in Milton for its white Cheddar-style Prairie Breeze.
Find a full list of winners here.
A look at the numbers: In September, 203 judges tasted their way through 1,947 entries from 33 states, and 176 winners were ultimately selected in 13 categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, cider, coffee, confections, honey, oils, pantry, pickles, preserves and spirits.
Phillips learned of the win in November, and it was strictly a mum’s-the-word situation. “That’s the hard part,” he said with a laugh. “You have to keep quiet. We were dying to tell people.”