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DeRushaEats: Five-Course Meal in A Homeless Shelter


The chefs and restaurants in the Twin Cities donate so much to non-profits—from gift cards for silent auction items, to private dinners from local chefs, to an amazing experience I was a part of this week.

I hosted a "Chefs For Change" fundraiser at People Serving People, a homeless shelter largely for families in downtown Minneapolis. Monday night PSP had 120 families staying in 99 rooms. One hundred and twenty of their guests were under the age of five.

So why am I writing about this in a food blog? Once a month, a local chef comes in and cooks an incredible four or five-course meal, complete with wine pairings. Forty people pay $75 to attend, every dime goes to the shelter, and the dinner is served in the cafeteria of the shelter.

PSP asked me to host this week's dinner, and I asked JD Fratzke from The Strip Club Meats & Fish in St. Paul if he would be willing to cook and donate the food. JD's a Winona guy, comes from farm country, supports local farmers, and his philosophy that food is about more than just eating really fit with the message I wanted to send.

The idea is to get people who wouldn't normally think about coming to visit a homeless shelter, or volunteering, or donating, in the door. The dinners do that. Then we get to talk about the mission of the shelter.

But I want to show you what we ate:

Course 1: Blue Cheese Truffle Salad with beets, radishes, kohlrabi and walnuts (this is coming to the Strip Club's menu and will be called Blue Balls or something totally inappropriate).

Course 2: Hot and Cold Cucumber Soup with sweet corn and duck succotash. This one had people saying, "Wow." "Wow." "Wow." It was really interesting.

Fish course: Alaskan red king salmon with an incredible coconut-saffron sauce. The salmon sat on top of fennel and shell peas.

And JD knows I'm a sucker for belly. The entree course was pork belly over green bean, tomato, and kimchee salad. It had a soy ginger glaze to it.

JD got the fish donated from Coastal Seafoods, the wine donated by a local supplier, some farmers donated vegetables, and The Strip Club and JD donated the rest of it. His friends (pictured above) Phil Ward (from Black Cat Natural Foods) and Aaron Uban (from The Strip Club) helped cook the meal.

This is what our local chefs do. They help. They give back. This week, JD and all those people exposed 40 people to a really important issue and important place in our community.

You can get involved too. Next month, there's a dinner cooked by graduates of People Serving People's culinary program. On September 20, it's Scott Pampuch from Corner Table.

People Serving People

Strip Club Meat & Fish
378 Maria Ave.
St. Paul MN 55106

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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