Nobody would ever mistake me for Jacques Pepin or Jamie Oliver, but I do know my way around a kitchen. I can cook chili, chicken, turkey burgers, and soup. I can steam broccoli, slice garlic and onions, and shred both cheddar and Swiss cheese. I know what a zester is, and have used the “frappe” setting on my blender at least once. Most days, I can fold an omelet without getting scrambled eggs.
These are, of course, the skills of a cook, not a chef. But I firmly believe that “fancy” doesn’t always mean tasty. Elk steaks aren’t necessarily better than ground chuck. And hours of preparation don’t always yield finer results than a minute spent with a can opener. Many of the most delicious meals I’ve ever eaten were the result of a process that basically boils down to this: select the freshest ingredients you can find; prepare them simply, expertly, and quickly.
This month’s cover story reflects that recipe for success. In mid-December, our food writer, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, was sifting through her larder of story ideas when it occurred to her that one of the most interesting stories in Twin Cities dining was the influx of young talent that has redefined the local food scene in the past year or two. It was a fresh idea, and Dara knew it. She dove into the research, spent hours and hours tracking down busy chefs, boiled hour-long interviews into a few juicy quotes and meaty bites, and served it up as a string of profiles. The series, which is titled “Hot Young Chefs,” resembles a parade of small plates, each beautiful, distinct, and uniquely flavored. It fits my theory, too: fresh ingredients, simply prepared and presented—and deeply satisfying.
Still not full? Then tuck a napkin under your chin and read “Hot Plate,” our profile of what is arguably the Twin Cities’ hottest new restaurant, The Bachelor Farmer. The eatery, opened by Governor Dayton’s two sons last fall, remains insanely popular. What accounts for this instant fame and staying power? For the answer, see what Rachel Hutton, formerly City Pages’s food critic, has to say. Bon appetit.
Joel Hoekstra, Editor
|Longtime readers of Minnesota Monthly may recognize the byline of Rachel Hutton. Formerly an assistant editor with the magazine, she left in 2009 to review restaurants for City Pages and now works as a freelance writer. While researching her story on The Bachelor Farmer (“Hot Plate”), Hutton was impressed by owners Eric and Andrew Dayton. “They don’t have to work, but they do—and hard,” she says.|
|New York freelance writer Debbie Nathan talked with hundreds of people while researching her book Sybil Exposed, about the famed psychiatric patient associated with multiple personalities. But one of those sources, a Minnesota woman named Muriel Coulter, brought a unique perspective to the table. Nathan writes about Muriel and her connection to Sybil in “The Friend that Disappeared.”|
|Photographer Kelly Loverud says he’s a “people person” and his portraits of actor Randy Reyes and singer Dessa suggest he can really connect. But he’s also a cook, and his eye for a tasty dish is evident in the work he’s done for Minnesota Monthly. In July 2010, he shot a rack of ribs for our “Best Barbecue” cover. This month, he delivered a series of food shots for our “Hot Young Chefs” story.|