I admit, when I think of great food, the resorts up north aren’t exactly the first thing to come to mind. So I was intrigued, last summer, when Madden’s on Gull Lake invited me to come up and check out their August Food and Wine Experience.
Would the food be good? Would this be a waste of time? Would there be any couples in their 30’s visiting?
The answers: Yes. No. Yes.
We had an absolute blast attending a seminar on making chocolate from the man himself, Brian “B.T”. McElrath. We took an awesome pastry class taught by the extremely funny and talented chef at Madden’s, Amy DeSantos. There was a killer dinner by all sorts of visiting chefs, including a shockingly amazing Chicken Foot Soup by Jamaican chef Rayan Reid, another member of the team at Madden’s.
Last year was great. This year they’re stepping up the caliber of the visiting chefs big-time.
Remember Eric Anderson, the incredibly talented chef who opened Sea Change at the Guthrie? Now he’s one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs for his work at Catbird Seat in Nashville.
Erik’s successor at Sea Change, Jamie Malone, also a Food & Wine Best New Chef, will also be at Madden’s, along with one of my favorite local pastry gurus, Niki Francioli.
Doug Flicker from Piccolo Restaurant and the soon-to-open Sandcastle in Minneapolis will also be there!
Some of what’s planned: tips on how to host an unforgettable summer BBQ, discussions on cigar and dark liquor trends, meat smoking demonstrations, mixology lessons while cruising the lake in the Madden’s pontoon, burger cook-offs, and adventure foraging with a chef leading the way!
If you’re worried about going up there without knowing anyone, don’t be. Alyssa and I met another couple last year who have become good friends of ours. It’s a really casual, fun time.
The event starts Thursday night with a benefit dinner, but the main activities run Friday, August 23 through Sunday, August 25. It costs $185.50 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. Reservations can be made at maddens.com or by calling 800-642-5363.