The Big Apple Moves Back to the Minne-apple

Whether we’re one of the best kept food-town secrets held in the world or a bubbling hot bed of cooking talent, we have definitely got the larger world’s attention now. On Friday news broke that Gavin Kaysen of Cafe Boulud in New York City would be leaving his long time post to come here and open a restaurant. The local food world kind of collectively lost their minds. People leave here to go to New York City with the wild and crazy dream of working in a bold name kitchen. People don’t grow up in Bloomington, launch into the culinary stratosphere like that and come back! Except, Kaysen is reportedly anxious to do it. He’s said that he dined out while home visiting his parents and realized that now was the time to open a his own restaurant back home.

Kaysen has cooked around the world, including time in Switzerland and England (where he worked for the internationally famed chef Marco Pierre White). His star began to rise while he was working in San Diego and received several local food awards. He then was recruited by Daniel Boulud. Kaysen has since been recognized as a Rising Star Chef by the James Beard foundation, a Best New Chef by Food & Wine and earned a Michelin Star. I try to explain this to people who don’t follow the food world, but I know you, dear friends, will understand when I say: This is a really big deal and the kind of thing that makes us local food writers get all CAPS LOCK shout-y on Twitter.

My sympathies are also with Kaysen for the amount of eyeballs now watching his every move. His new spot will be called Merchant and will be located somewhere in an historic building in the North Loop, he’s not saying where just yet. Shea, Inc will be handling the design of the 6,000 square foot space. It’s expected to open in December of this year. Follow the progress at @MerchantMN on Twitter.

In other James Beard Award winning chef opening news, Tim McKee of La Belle Vie (and others) will be running the show at a new Parasole concept. McKee has been VP of Culinary Development for the company since 2011. While he has worked with them on such other concepts as Cafeteria and Il Gatto, this will be the first time he’ll be taking full control and selecting the management team. Details are slim, but Parasole did just hold a survey asking fans to weigh in on a new name. Candidates were Skol, Libertine, Gambrel, or Paleron and no word on who won. Gambrel just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Over on the Eastside, Tongue in Cheek is coming to 989 Payne Avenue from a team that includes Leonard Anderson, one-time chef at W. A. Frost, Ashleigh Newman and Ryan Huseby. All the meats and produce will be ethically sourced. The team is committed to working only with farms who have given their animals a great life. The menu looks to be a great mix of neighborhood eats with a gastro twist. Looking forward to both tuna crudo and fries with gravy, because that’s how I roll.

Just as food truck season approaches, another one is pulling into a permanent home. Cajun to Geaux, with their spicy jambalaya and heavenly beignets will open Bistro La Roux in Circle Pines later this summer.

Exciting pastry happens are over at The Bachelor Farmer. They announced this week the hiring of Khanh Tran. She’s the celebrated pastry maven who has spent time at Cosmos, 20.21, Levain and more. She’s a great addition to the highly talented team over there and a good reason to save a little room for the end of your meal.

Smoked meat fans were sad to learn of the abrupt closing of Rye Deli this week. I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Also, mark your calendars for mid May. Solo Vino’s Rose Tasting has ordered an enormous tent and owner Chuck Kanski is promising a bigger than ever bash. It’s not just pink wines they’ll have on sample. They’ll also be pouring whites and craft beers, plus a selection of Kramarczuk’s sausages. Tickets are $35 and available online.