Lucky Rochester. The fast-growing southeastern Minnesota city just scored a culinary coup, landing a James Beard award-winning chef.
He’s Paul Berglund, the St. Louis native who made his mark on the Twin Cities dining scene during a six-year (and four-star) run at the Bachelor Farmer. He left that North Loop gig in mid-2017 and has spent the past 18 months as culinary director for Vestalia Hospitality, the company behind Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza.
What is taking him to the home of the Mayo Clinic? Love.
“I’m getting married,” he said, to Mayo neurologist Dr. Tia Chakraborty. “And I’m moving to Rochester, if that wasn’t obvious. And I’ve found a great job that I’m really excited about.”
Berglund (pictured, above, in a Star Tribune file photo) is now the culinary and sustainability director of Fiddlehead Coffee Co. The burgeoning enterprise started inside the Forager Brewery in 2017 before matriculating, earlier this week, into its own space.
That new address (412 3rd Av. SE., Rochester, 612-839-1685) underscores the commitment that co-owners (and siblings-in-law) Patrick and Sarah Phelan have to the region’s agricultural community: the restaurant and roastery is located on the street level of a new 92-unit residential building that’s across the street from the warm-weather home of the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market, one of the state’s top farmers markets. Proximity is everything, right?
“I’m committed to working for the health of the food system in Minnesota,” said Berglund. “A big part of the job is seeing that Fiddlehead is committed to tackling issues of food access, and sustainability, and connecting with the local agricultural community.”
Berglund is following the lead of another high-profile Twin Cities chef who has relocated to another city in the region: former Surly Brewing Co. chef Jorge Guzman, who is now cooking at the La Crosse Distilling Co. in La Crosse, Wis.
At Fiddlehead, Berglund and chef Brandon Adams are currently offering baked goods in the a.m., a grain bowl-focused lunch menu and a series of small plates in the evening.
“We’ll be focusing on local foods, whenver possible,” said Berglund. “We’re going to do our best to give Rochester the best food that we can.”