Chef to Watch: Kenzie Edinger

The chef de cuisine at Mucci’s Italian and her team of chefs are creating bold and precise flavors in St. Paul

Instagram has been an amazing thing for scouting new talent. And chefs talk. Lately there’s been a lot of buzz among people I’ve been talking with about a chef who’s been working hard in a St. Paul kitchen for a long time: Kenzie Edinger.

So on a recent Friday night, I bellied up to the cozy bar at Mucci’s in St. Paul, to see if the food on the plate matched the pictures and creativity I’ve been seeing on Kenzie’s Instagram. Spolier alert: This is a chef to watch!

First of all, you should know that the kitchen is generally all women, and on this Friday night the front of house was made up of 75% men. Clearly there’s an environment here for women to thrive as the culinary force at Mucci’s St. Paul.

We tried all of the specials, figuring that was where we’d really get to enjoy Kenzie’s food. First we had what appeared to be crab cakes sitting on an Old Bay aioli. But these weren’t crab, although you had to look closely to figure out that it was a lion’s mane mushroom cake. The mushrooms are shredded and take on the consistency of crab meat. I’m not sure if it was a visual trick or the Old Bay aioli messing with my mind, but I swear it tasted like crab meat, too. Balanced perfectly with arugula dressed in apple cider vinaigrette. So cool.

Then her next new item: buffalo sweetbread sliders. Sweetbreads are a bit of a lost art—maybe people don’t want to put them on menus because they don’t want to explain what they are. (They’re certainly not bread. In fact, they’re meat.) But Kenzie is breading and frying these veal sweetbreads, tossing them in buffalo sauce, topping them with a blue cheese aioli, and then serving them as sliders on a King’s Hawaiian roll. Sort of like sweetbreads on a sweet bread. Just glorious.

Have you ever had a light spaghetti dish? Or a spaghetti with some chew, some heft to it? That’s precisely what the spaghetti at Mucci’s St. Paul tastes like: a dense noodle cooked just past al dente, with beautiful oily tuna. Edington fires a hint of acid with capers and preserved lemon, a punch of sweetness from shallot, and then so many fresh herbs my wife said, “This dish smells like spring.”

Mucci’s Italian
786 Randolph Ave., St. Paul

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