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Monday, April 16, 2012

Chef Goff Heading a Restaurant—For a Short Time

Chef Goff Heading a Restaurant—For a Short Time

Chef Ken Goff will be cooking at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School’s restaurant, Technique, for the next five weeks. Do not miss the chance to try his food.

In 2005, Goff left his position at the Dakota Jazz Club after 20 years and started teaching the next generation of chefs as a culinary instructor at Le Cordon Bleu–coincidentally, just a few months before I started teaching there myself. Since that time, he has taught just about every class the school has to offer. Now, he’s teaching and cooking in the school’s student-staffed restaurant until May 16.

Chef Goff has an illustrious past. In 1995, I was a line cook at D’Amico Cucina, the flagship restaurant for the growing D’Amico restaurant group in Minneapolis. I worked on the garde manger station (that’s a fancy way of saying I made salads), which was one step above prep cook and a mere two steps above plongeur (that’s a fancy way of saying dishwasher). Meanwhile, Ken Goff was already one of our region’s most influential chefs. In 1985, he opened the Dakota, as its executive chef, and by ’95 had long since been highlighted in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Gourmet, and numerous other national publications, as a leader of the Midwest dining scene.

He and a few other pioneering local chefs, like Lucia Watson of Lucia’s, and Brenda Langton of Spoonriver, laid the groundwork for our current Twin Cities dining scene. Their menus were amongst the first in Minnesota to specialize in local and seasonal foods. Goff was quoted in the Los Angeles Times saying, “we don’t swim here in January, and we don’t eat strawberries then either.” Signature dishes like Brie and apple soup and turkey potpie with yam sauce formed a menu the New York Times called “familiar with a twist.”

For Goff, ideas in cooking always matter. When teaching, he quotes Escoffier’s culinary compendium, Le Guide Culinaire, like it’s scripture, and speaks to students about it as if he and Escoffier were intimate friends, telling them, “Escoffier knew cooking would change, he knew we would have to adjust.”

He built a restaurant with ideas and rules in mind at the Dakota. As the club showcased a Minnesota jazz scene, he showcased Minnesota ingredients and was quoted in the Great Chef series saying, “I want the restaurant to reflect what the people in this region like to eat. That is what regional means to me.” He established relationships with farmers and was one the first chefs here to see the benefit of our local bounty.

Thanks to people like Ken Goff, who celebrated Midwestern cuisine for its own sake, we enjoy a dining scene now recognized on a national level, garnering our state 16 James Beard cooking award nominations this year.

If you like our local dining community, then come check out a chef who helped put us on the map. When you do, tell him Jason sent you, or better yet, scoot down the hall to my class and say “hi.”

Technique Restaurant

Technique gives students real world experience with paying customers. Students work in all aspects of the restaurant’s operations. They cook, wait tables, answer phones, and help develop daily menu specials. They serve a three-course meal focused on seasonal ingredients and highlight cooking technique as a way to showcase the students' education and learned skills. The restaurant sits at the far corner of the school’s Mendota Heights campus.

Technique Restaurant
1315 Mendota Heights Road, Mendota Heights
Seating from 5:30-7 p.m.
Tuesday-Friday
Reservations recommended
651-286-2400

Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 in Permalink

Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Old to new | New to old
Apr 16, 2012 03:52 pm
 Posted by  galamaria

Hey, thanks for sharing this! Technique is such a fun little place to eat, and Ken Goff's a great guy. Definitely headed over there!

Apr 16, 2012 04:49 pm
 Posted by  tkrecu

More information about Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis/St. Paul is at http://www.chefs.edu/minneapolis-st-paul

Apr 17, 2012 03:35 pm
 Posted by  JasonRoss

Galamaria, Hope you have a nice visit and thanks for the nice comment.

Apr 23, 2012 10:54 pm
 Posted by  Grand Master Brunnen

I wish my last class was in the restaurant like I was told it would be when I joined the school! :(

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TC Taste answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally bring the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Minnesota Monthly Senior Editor Rachel Hutton, Sustainable Food Correspondent Marie Flanagan, Home Cook Stephanie Meyer, Chef Jason Ross, Savvy Mom Kristin Boldon, Food Writer Joy Summers, and Drinks & Real Food Senior Editor Mary Subialka. Learn more about the TC Taste bloggers.

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