Congratulations to Vincent Francuoal for his big win at the Local Chef Challenge last weekend. $10,000! Amazing. JD Fratzke came in second with $1,000. JD came in second last year too… which has to be a little irritating, but frankly, $1,000 is pretty sweet. It’s more than I made last weekend.
We did four secret ingredients this year, and it made judging a little easier. We compared barramundi with barramundi, octopus with octopus, buffalo with buffalo. But it made the food a little less delicious. I would say in the past two years, we had more outstanding dishes—because the chefs only had to incorporate one ingredient.
That said, the creativity of Vincent, JD, Jack Riebel, Mike DeCamp, Erik Anderson, Kevin Kathman, Judi Barsness, and Scott Graden is impressive to see up close. Also impressive, Cheryl Tiegs.
It was a great weekend, and you must visit all of their restaurants (Vincent, The Strip Club, Dakota, La Belle Vie, Sea Change, Barbette, Chez Jude, and New Scenic Cafe).
Speaking of restaurants, I stopped in at Sun Street Breads today. I can’t review the place, because I just had one sandwich, but holy buckets, it was a great sandwich.
The Range is $9, pulled porketta and fennel slaw on a wonderful hoagie roll. You can taste the light, buttery goodness in that hoagie. It’s Solveig Tofte’s place at 46th & Nicollet, and it’s been getting rave reviews. The space is light, open, and inviting.
And the chef walked out and gave two kids homemade animal crackers while I was having lunch. Fantastic. Can’t wait to go back. It’s open for breakfast and lunch, until 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon.