Brenda Langton, Chef and Owner of Spoonriver and Café Brenda


Photo by Dave Turner

Where were you born and raised? St. Paul

Where do you currently reside?
By Cedar Lake in Minneapolis

Age: 50

Five things you love about the Twin Cities:
1. The Lakes and their bike paths
2. The arts
3. The people
4. My staff at Café Brenda and Spoonriver
5. The Wedge co-op—if I didn’t have the Wedge to shop at I’d be miserable.

Favorite local hidden treasure:
Tanpopo Noodle House in downtown St. Paul

Where do you get your inspiration for your restaurants and for your menus?
From travel, cookbooks and colleagues. I like to travel and my cooking is very worldly. I love Asian and Mediterranean foods so I do a lot of ethnic cooking. We sometimes interpret classic ethnic recipes and substitute beef or pork with either mock duck or lentils or some sort of bean or nut or eggplant. My lifestyle and my philosophy of cooking embrace healthy cuisine, so I do a lot of seafood, a lot of fresh fish.

What would you tell someone considering moving here?
We have some wonderful venues for the arts. We have the Dakota Jazz Club, we have the Varsity Theater, the zoo, and many more great venues for music. And for theater, of course we have the Guthrie, a total destination for sure. I find the art museums to be tremendous and the local movie houses are great. In addition, we now have quite a good number of wonderful little independently owned restaurants that are unique to our city.