When it comes to culinary expertise, local talent is overflowing in the Twin Cities. We are incredibly privileged to have internationally trained and awarded chefs who are innovative visionaries expanding our food culture right here in the North.

Bringing us extraordinary food, while staying true to their culinary roots and heritage, the household names that we are fond and familiar with, along with the new wave of innovative chefs who are shaping our culinary community, are constantly introducing and nurturing our pallets with their mouth-watering cuisine as they are inspiring the way we shop, cook, and eat.

As fig to fork partners and collaborates with local chefs each month, we look forward to introducing their dishes into your kitchen, immersing you with fresh new recipes, and enabling you to experience the local culinary superstars while further getting to know restaurants in your very own city.

meet our monthly guest chefs

CHEF ERIK SATHER, CHEF & OWNER

September 2016

Erik Sather, owner of Lowry Hill Meats in Minneapolis, was born and raised in Minnesota. Between years of cooking in Minneapolis restaurants: Bar la Grassa, Solera, La Belle Vie, and Corner Table, and cutting meat at Clancy's and Seward Co-op, he got to hone in on both his culinary and butchery skills. Growing up on a farm in Southern Minnesota, Erik has always had a connection to the local farm community, and known the importance of quality ingredients. It is important to him to share and teach these simple values, that are easily overlooked in these busy times. Some of the best moments are shared at the table, over a good meal.

www.lowryhillmeats.com


He's Back!

CHEF BRENDAN " JUNIOR" MCDONALD, EXECUTIVE CHEF

May 2016 - June 2016

Chef Brendan "Junior" McDonald came to find his passion for cooking at a very young age. As a Minnesota native, he has always appreciated the warmth and love that cooking brings to his family’s kitchen. Though the childhood table was never anything fancy, the food was always satisfying, and gave him a sense of comfort and belonging.

That youthful affinity with his family table also fostered a curiosity about the culinary world. He started exploring that path after graduating from Cretin Derham Hall, when he enrolled in the St. Paul College for Culinary Arts. This was where he was able to more fully explore and develop that passion for cooking.

Chef Brendan began his professional culinary career when he took a job at the White Bear Yacht Club.  After two seasons of great experience and hard work, he landed a job in downtown Minneapolis at the Dakota Jazz Club, where he was lucky enough to work under Chef Jack Riebel. 

After four years with Riebel at the Dakota, Chef Brendan followed his mentor and friend to Minneapolis' newest hot spot: Butcher and the Boar. Hired by Riebel as a grill cook, within two months he was promoted to Sous Chef.

"Exceeding the goals I set for myself has always been very important to me," said McDonald, "I always move upward and never take a step back." 

Fast forward to 2015: Butcher and the Boar opens its new eatery 4Bells in the vibrant Loring Park neighborhood of Minneapolis. Now-Executive Chef Brendan McDonald is at the helm in the kitchen,  cooking dishes he learned while spending time in South Carolina's low country working under chefs Mike Lata and James Beard Award-winner Jason Stanhopes.

"I was lucky enough to work with [Chef Mike and Chef Jason]," said Chef Brendan, "through that experience, I've grown to love not only the cuisine, but the passion that goes into Southern cooking, both of which I'm thrilled to bring to the Twin Cities."

www.4bells.com


CHEF BROOKE MARTIN, PRIVATE CHEF & CATERER

April 2016

Brooke Martin is a personal chef and caterer in the Twin Cities area. From a large family where cooking and entertaining are considered life skills, Brooke is passionate about creating intimate and engaging meal experiences for clients, friends, and family. 

She travelled frequently for work and was exposed to many cultures and cuisines, fostering a desire for adventure and discovery in the kitchen.

In 2014, she helped open The Copper Hen in Minneapolis, a farm-to-table restaurant and bakery. She created a naturally leavened bread program to fit their made-from-scratch vision, and also helped create their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.

From there, she became a personal chef for families in the metro area that were looking for interesting and healthy meals on a daily basis, while catering dinner parties whenever possible.

She now runs a full-service catering company called Quince with a vision to create stand-out quality dining experiences in intimate settings.

www.quincemn.com


CHEF Marc Leandro, Private CHEF

February 2016 - March 2016

Chef Marc Leandro has spent more than 15 years plying his craft in private homes across the country spending a large amount of his career in Manhattan, San Francisco, and Normandy, France. Marc has been dishing up dining extravaganzas since age 14, not long after landing a job in a Newport, Rhode Island kitchen that afforded him a clear view of the head chef’s station. In the years since, while working in restaurants and as a private chef, Marc has developed a keen eye for what works on a dinner table and acquired the skills to bring his vision to life. Rather than specializing in one cuisine, Marc is happiest when picking and choosing from the immense variety that the culinary world has to offer -- he plucks the finest and freshest ingredients from inside sources, and creates unique menus suited to clients’ individual tastes. His meals are an invitation to a culinary experience that will be savored by your family and guests, and remembered fondly in the days and years to come.

In 2005, the American food quarterly Gastronomica devoted an edition to Julia Child revolving around her investigation into what makes le gout français so distinctive. She discovered that the secret was no secret at all -- it’s simply seriousness and a love of cooking, which come together in an end result that has clearly been made with pleasure. This sums up nicely how Marc Leandro approaches his career in the kitchen.


CHEF Thomas Boemer, Co-Owner & EXECUTIVE CHEF

January 2016 - February 2016

Chef Thomas Boemer started his career at Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington. He moved on to work under chef Alain Ducasse at his Mix concept in Las Vegas. Now at his critically acclaimed South Minneapolis restaurants Corner Table and Revival, both of which he co-owns, he crafts European-influenced Midwestern cuisine with a touch of southern sensibility. 

Chef Thomas looks to highlight the bounty of the Midwest in a seasonally relevant and focused manner by sourcing ingredients of the best quality. He works his craft to offer a dining experience that is both unpretentious and inviting, while focused and thoughtful.

Thomas recently won both the regional Cochon555 event and the national Grand Cochon, earning the title of the King of Porc, and has been a two-time nominee for Food & Wine Magazine's People's Choice Best New Chef.

cornertablerestaurant.com

revivalmpls.com


CHEF Brendan " Junior" McDonald, EXECUTIVE CHEF

December 2015 - January 2016

Chef Brendan "Junior" McDonald came to find his passion for cooking at a very young age. As a Minnesota native, he has always appreciated the warmth and love that cooking brings to his family’s kitchen. Though the childhood table was never anything fancy, the food was always satisfying, and gave him a sense of comfort and belonging.

That youthful affinity with his family table also fostered a curiosity about the culinary world. He started exploring that path after graduating from Cretin Derham Hall, when he enrolled in the St. Paul College for Culinary Arts. This was where he was able to more fully explore and develop that passion for cooking.

Chef Brendan began his professional culinary career when he took a job at the White Bear Yacht Club.  After two seasons of great experience and hard work, he landed a job in downtown Minneapolis at the Dakota Jazz Club, where he was lucky enough to work under Chef Jack Riebel. 

After four years with Riebel at the Dakota, Chef Brendan followed his mentor and friend to Minneapolis' newest hot spot: Butcher and the Boar. Hired by Riebel as a grill cook, within two months he was promoted to Sous Chef.

"Exceeding the goals I set for myself has always been very important to me," said McDonald, "I always move upward and never take a step back." 

Fast forward to 2015: Butcher and the Boar opens its new eatery 4Bells in the vibrant Loring Park neighborhood of Minneapolis. Now-Executive Chef Brendan McDonald is at the helm in the kitchen,  cooking dishes he learned while spending time in South Carolina's low country working under chefs Mike Lata and James Beard Award-winner Jason Stanhopes.

"I was lucky enough to work with [Chef Mike and Chef Jason]," said Chef Brendan, "through that experience, I've grown to love not only the cuisine, but the passion that goes into Southern cooking, both of which I'm thrilled to bring to the Twin Cities."

4bells.com


CHEF ALAN BERGO, EXECUTIVE CHEF

November - December 2015

Alan Bergo started cooking when he was 15. He worked his way through kitchens around central Minnesota, before moving to the Twin Cities to get a business degree from Hamline University. After leaving school, he couldn’t ignore his calling and pursued a culinary career full time.

His formative years were spent working under the tutelage of William Salvadore, former Maître d’ of La Gavroche, A 3 star-Michelin restaurant in Britain, Rino Baglio, The former personal chef to Princess Caroline of Monaco, and Angelo Volpicelli, a Roman-born chef who ran his family’s restaurant in Rome for more than 10 years. Eventually, he took Lenny Russo’s position on the line at the opening of Heartland Restaurant in Lowertown St. Paul in 2010, rising to sous chef before leaving.

In 2014, Bergo signed on with a new concept and help design The Salt Cellar, an ingredient-driven steak house serving heirloom Piedmontese beef alongside locally sourced seasonal produce.

Bergo is most widely known as an authority on wild Midwestern food, especially mushrooms, which he began studying during his time at Heartland. As an experiment with a technology savvy friend, he launched his website: Forager | Chef in 2012 which he writes, photographs and formats himself. 3 years later, the website reaches more than 1,000 people per day, and allows him to connect with mushroom hunters and foragers from around the world. 

His work has appeared in Experience Life Magazine, various wild food cookbooks, and online publications like The Daily Beast and National Geographic. For the past two years he’s also been working with his photography mentor, Food and Lifestyle photographer Chris Bohnhoff on a video series exploring the wild food of the Midwest. You can watch online through Vimeo.

When not in the kitchen, Alan likes collecting antique mycological and food literature, watching fantasy movies like Star Wars and The Lord of The Rings, spending time with his girlfriend on her 400 acre farm in Wisconsin, and tending to his black truffle orchard on his father’s farm near Grove City, Minnesota.

“Alan’s been with me for over four years, I thought it was time for him to leave the nest and try something new. I think the retro steakhouse frame will be good for him. I’m a food geek—but Alan is really a geek. He outnerds me by a mile. If he and I are foraging for mushrooms, I know the names, but he knows the Latin names, and the soil characteristics the mushrooms require. His culinary icon is Jean-Louis Palladin. That’s the person you want running a steakhouse today, because he can appeal across generations. Old people will remember what he’s doing in a nostalgic way, but young people will see it in a new, cool way—don’t forget Escoffier only knew grass-fed beef, retro doesn’t only mean Sinatra on the sound system.”  - Chef Lenny Russo, told to Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Mpls St. Paul Magazine

saltcellarsaintpaul.com

foragerchef.com


CHEF Erick HaRCEY, OWNER AND CHEF

October - November 2015

Chef Erick Harcey was born and raised in Cambridge, Minnesota and still lives there today with his wife Sonrda and four young boys: Jameson, Quinton, Graham, and Ashton. He is an avid fisherman and loves working the farm and collecting cookbooks. Chef Erick knew at a very young age that he wanted to be a chef. With one grandfather being a chef and the other being a farmer - he seemed destined. Chef Erick takes several unique approaches to his style of cooking and always loves pushing his creative levels to something further than he imagined was possible. He has never been afraid to go against the grain. He started Victory 44 in 2009 and with a brigade of young eager cooks embarked on a new culinary experience in which the chefs also served the food... He is always looking for the next ingredient, the next technique and the next challenge. His new projects are located in Linden Hills. One being a casual grab and go concept called The Dirty Bird, and the second one will be a full service restaurant that will focus on Chef Harcey's Swedish and country boy roots. Both are set to open in mid November.

Victory 44 has rewritten the rules of what is possible with food and drink. “… he forever changed Twin Cities dining” – Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl
victory-44.com

upton43.com


CHEF DON SAUNDERS, OWNER AND CHEF

September - October 2015

Don Saunders is the chef owner of The Kenwood restaurant in Minneapolis, MN.  Don began his career in the restaurant industry as a server at the age of 20.  At first, it was a way to make money but quickly turned into a job and industry that he was very passionate about.  Wanting to finish his college degree while waiting tables, Don decided to finish school at UW-Stout and obtained a hospitality management degree in 2000.  

While attending school and working at some top restaurants in Minneapolis, Don realized that the food aspect of the industry was his real passion.  He decided to attend culinary school at The Cordon Bleu in London, England.  The culinary school experience was a confirmation to Don that he had a knack for cooking, was extremely dedicated to it, and that he had chosen the right career path for him.  While in England, Don did a 3-month internship at Chez Bruce, a 1 Michelin Star restaurant in South London.

Don moved back to Minneapolis after completing his culinary degree and internship, ready to start learning from already established and talented chefs.  He landed a job helping open Vincent restaurant under the tutelage of French chef, Vincent Francoual.  Don started as a line cook at Vincent.  Within 6 months he was promoted to sous chef and 2nd in charge of one of the most popular new downtown Minneapolis restaurants.  After 2 years at Vincent, Don was recruited by Jack Riebel, to join him as his sous chef at La Belle Vie in Stillwater, MN.  La Belle Vie was and is (now in Minneapolis) considered one of the best, if not best the restaurants in Minnesota.  Don contributed to the ongoing success of La Belle vie by creating his own dishes and executing Jack’s ideas as well.  In 2004, Don was offered his first head chef job as opening chef of Au Rebours in St. Paul.  Au Rebours opened with extremely favorable reviews from critics and patrons alike.  In 2005, Don decided to go out on his own.

With the help of a few investors, Don opened Fugaise restaurant in 2005 in NE Minneapolis.  Fugaise was high-end French food and received many accolades from critics and “foodies”.  Don was really earning a nice reputation as one of the top chefs in Minnesota.  Unfortunately, some business factors including a bad economy, location, and overhead contributed to Don deciding to pull the plug on Fugaise in 2008.

From 2009 to 2010, Don worked for a St. Paul company and helped run Stout’s Island Lodge in WI as well as The University Club in St. Paul.  It was a great experience for Don but the passion for creating his own concept and dishes in a smaller setting, compelled Don to set out on his own again.  He acquired a small space in S. Minneapolis and opened a small dinner only restaurant called In Season.  In Season was very successful, drawing new fans from the neighborhood as well as the “foodies” who couldn’t wait for Don to open his own place again!  In 2012, Don saw an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.  A beautiful space in The Kenwood neighborhood had opened up.  The landlord agreed that Don would bring the perfect upscale neighborhood restaurant in an area that demanded it.  The Kenwood was opened in September, 2012.  Business has been spectacular!  The Kenwood is the perfect setting for Don to bring his creative yet approachable style to the neighborhood while still attracting the loyal following he has created.

Don lives with his wife, Jackie and 7-year old son, Henry in Minnetonka.  They love baseball, basketball, going out to eat, fishing, playing with their dogs and traveling. 

thekenwoodrestaurant.com


Chef Jourdan Morris, Chef de Cuisine

August - September 2015

Chef Jourdan Morris, currently Chef de Cuisine at Mill Valley Kitchen in Saint Louis Park, cooks with good health and wellness in mind. To him, that means letting the best possible ingredients speak for themselves, and also developing positive relationships with farmers, purveyors, customers, and restaurant staff. Morris began cooking professionally at age 19, working in cafes, burger joints, and fine dining restaurants. He has worked with and learned from well-known local chefs like Tim McKee, JP Samuelson, and Mike Rakun. His dishes usually feature a new-age twist on something nostalgic. Morris is currently the Chef at Mill Valley Kitchen in Saint Louis Park.

millvalleykitchen.com