A big part of the fun at the Minnesota State Fair is trying new foods, and indulging in old favorites. Everyone has something they love to eat: Pronto Pups, sweet corn, mini-doughnuts and more. We asked six Twin Cities chefs what they like to nosh at the fair. Here's what they said.

Ann Ahmed

“We’re Minnesotans, so we have to go, right? But I only go for the corn, and then I leave. I’m probably going to sound stupid saying that. But my husband can’t stand crowds, although he agrees with me about the corn. There is no other corn that can replace that corn. We have a friend who is a policeman in St. Paul. He has a special parking spot, and we use that to park, run in, get corn, and run out. I get two, for sure, and two for my husband, so we don’t have to share. With butter. I’m looking forward to it. I heard that the corn stand did a remodel. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what I heard. But I don’t think it matters where they sell their corn, because whatever it looks like, people will line up for it.”

Lat14 Asian Eatery, 8815 7th Av. N., Golden Valley, lat14.com, and Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine, 8600 Edinburgh Center Dr., Brooklyn Park, lemongrassmn.com


Scott Pampuch

“In all honesty, I’m a purist. It’s the sweet corn. It’s the deep-fried pickles. It’s the mini-doughnuts. The turkey sandwich next to the all-you-can-drink milk is by far the best deal. The Mouth Trap cheese curds are the freshest. The honey ice cream at the honey stand, any flavor. And of course Sara’s Tipsy Pies, and not just because I consulted a bit on the recipes, here and there. I guess I have some opinions. I could say that the Gizmo is overrated, and start a stir.”

4 Bells, 1610 Harmon Place, Mpls., 4bells.com


Daniel del Prado

“For people who grew up here, the fair is nostalgic. It’s not that way for me [del Prado is from Argentina]. But I like to go there, and smell the stinky deep-fried air. I love the farming culture of the fair. That’s the biggest thing for me. The food isn’t the biggest thing for me. I like the cookies, for real. And the Nordic waffles. Oh, and the corn on the cob, I always get that, for sure. But whatever my company wants to eat, I’ll eat. I’ll eat everything, anything I can get my hands on. That’s not the way that I normally eat. I’m always watching what I eat. But the fair gives you permission to do that, and I don’t feel bad about it.”

Martina, 4312 Upton Av. S., Mpls., martinarestaurant.com, and Colita, 5400 Penn Av. S., Mpls., colitampls.com


Christina Kaelberer

“My really good friends from high school, we’ve all scattered to the winds, but we usually end up getting together for the fair. We’ll go, and stay the whole dang day. And we’ll eat everything. I have my staples that I have to have every year: the Tom Thumb mini-doughnuts, the cheese curds, the corn. And the Sweet Martha’s cookies, like, hello, that’s a given. Last year, the pork chop on-a-stick became my new favorite had-to-have item. This is going to make me sound like a basic white girl, but I like that beer slushie, the berry one. And I can’t remember if it was last year’s fair, or the year before, but I went back four times for the nitro coffee with the maple cream at the Minnesota Farmers Union. I’m a big fan of that place, a big fan. I always try a few newbies, too. Last year I got the Nordic waffle. That was pretty great.”

Edwards Dessert Kitchen, 200 Washington Av. N., Mpls., edwardsdessertkitchen.com

Justin Sutherland

“I’ll be there this year, because I’m doing cooking demos — I’m pretty sure it’s something with porchetta — at the Cambria Kitchen [Dan Patch Av. and Cosgrove St.] on the first day, at noon. I’m a big pork chop on-a-stick guy. Not the fat one, the thin one with the bone in it, the over-seasoned one. That’s always been my go-to. I’m definitely a Pronto Pup guy and not a corn dog guy; that’s something that I always get. I like the not-sweet batter of the Pronto Pup, and it’s mustard only, no ketchup. I’ve never really been much of a dessert person, but I always need two or three Sweet Martha’s cookies. I’ll never buy a whole bucket, but I’ll steal a few from someone who has. I’ll have that all-you-can-drink milk to go with my two cookies. And I’ll drink beer. I’ll go and listen to Alex Rossi playing at that pavilion [Cafe Caribe], and have a few beers.”

Handsome Hog, 203 E. 6th St., St. Paul, handsomehog.com; the Fitz, 173 N. Western Av., St. Paul, thefitzstpaul.com; 345 N. Wabasha St., St. Paul, grayduckstpaul.com; and others


Solveig Tofte

“We go to the fair every year, and there are very particular things that we must eat. But that’s every Minnesotan, isn’t it? Everyone has the things that they have to see and the things that they have to eat, and then they leave a little room for exploration. I’m not the most adventurous State Fair eater, and I have very low crowd tolerance, three to four hours, tops. For sure I have to eat French fries and a turkey sandwich, although not together. I love those turkey sandwiches. We’ll get sweet corn, too. Last year, we went to a new place and had the Nordic waffles, and I really, really liked them, especially the smoked salmon version. That was probably my favorite. That’s probably going to be my first stop this year. A few years ago, Martin [Ouimet, Tofte’s spouse and business partner] discovered the Scotch egg and had an out-of-body experience, he loved it so much. In subsequent years, they haven’t been as amazing. You can’t step in the same stream twice, right?”

Sun Street Breads, 4600 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., sunstreetbreads.com