Hot Young Chefs
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You’ve heard it said, again and again: chefs are the new rock stars. And they’re rocking it right here. Forget what you’ve read about coastal cuisine. The Twin Cities has one of the country’s most vibrant original restaurant scenes, full of great food, fresh young talent, and a future so bright we ought to wear shades. Who’s in this Generation Next? Keep this issue handy for 20 years, because these are the chefs who will define the next taste of Minnesota.
Paul Berglund, 35
Chef at Bachelor Farmer
50 Second Ave. N., Mpls., 612-206-3920
Born: Hinsdale, Illinois
Raised: St. Louis, Missouri
Education: After graduating from the University of Michigan and spending four years in the Navy, Berglund started in the café of the Oakland, California, restaurant Oliveto. Five years later, he was promoted to chef de cuisine.
Famous for: Immediately striking a chord with locals with his Nordic-inspired restaurant Bachelor Farmer, going from opening day to the Star Tribune’s restaurant of the year in a few short months.
Similarities between running a ship and running a restaurant: “The most important thing you can have at both jobs is the ability to convince everyone that if you all put your heads down and do whatever it takes, you will get the job done. The Navy taught me everything I needed to know about running a kitchen, except the creative and cooking aspects.”
Secret ingredient: Apple cider. “We use apple cider where other kitchens might use white wine. It adds a lot of dimension and makes sense in Nordic and Midwestern cooking.”
Favorite non-chef hangout: Al’s Breakfast in Dinkytown. “They have the best pancakes I’ve ever had. My wife gets the whole-wheat blueberry, but I like the buttermilk. What a great way to start the day.”
Jason Schellin, 33
Chef de Cuisine, Muffuletta
2260 Como Ave., St. Paul, 651-644-9116
Born and raised: Brainerd
Education: Art Institutes International Minnesota
Famous for: Making the something-for-everyone Muffuletta a beacon of fresh, healthy, creative appeal.
Cooking school as a mid-career move: “I started as a dishwasher at Madden’s when I was 15 and climbed the ranks, eventually working in Tahoe at a resort,” Schellin says. “When I went to culinary school, I’d already been running kitchens for five years, so it was really more of a networking thing for me. But it clarified a lot of what I thought.”
On locavore cooking: “People say I’m locavore, but really it’s inevitable: when you’re thinking about the quality and freshness of a product, you end up going local. It’s very hard to make a piece of celery taste good if it’s not good to begin with. I’ll always go for the high-quality, fresh ingredient that was picked that day as opposed to one that’s been sitting on a truck, or multiple trucks, for a week.”
Lisa Hanson, 36
Chef and owner, Mona Restaurant & Bar (forthcoming)
Born: Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Education: Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York
Famous for: Her star resumé—L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, chef de cuisine at Corner Table—has everyone buzzing about her forthcoming restaurant.
On a second career as a chef: “I had a business degree and worked in software, but I wanted a change. I took a train up from New York to the CIA campus, saw everyone walking around with bags of knives on their backs, and knew that was it. They frown on accepting someone without professional cooking experience, so I volunteered in a soup kitchen to meet the requirement.”