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Small bites can pack a big punch; just look at this grilled, spiced beef tenderloin pate a choux

sandwich, crafted by Margaret Doran, owner of Margaux's Table in White Bear Lake.

PHOTO COURTESY OF: TATE CARLSON.

small is the new B IG , denmark is the new spain & BREAKFAST is the new dinner
Minnesotas top chefs and restaurateurs are rewriting the menu in 2014, and events are going to be tastier than ever. BY JULIE KENDRICK
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ON A PERFECT

last August, local and visiting chefs, food writers and ardent foodies gathered at Maddens on Gull Lake for the fth annual Food and Wine Weekend. They watched presentations on chocolate, tea, smoking techniques and preparation of fresh sh catches. They hiked into Maddens chef garden to gather herbs, then into the nearby woods for a foraging expedition. Over the weekend, they ate everything from a seven-course, six-wine benet dinner on Friday night, to a Saturday-afternoon burger cook-off between chefs. In between bites, food fanatics and working chefs held passionate conversations on current tastes and trends, with animated discussions about what lies ahead in the world of food, specically which hot ingredient will turn out to be a passing fad, and which currently unappreciated world cuisine will suddenly be popping up on menus all over town.

end-of-summer WEEKEND

Heres a glimpse into what theyre predicting:

PIG ATE MY PIZZA

CRAFTSMANSHIP MATTERS
As much as the atmosphere in many restaurants is trending toward casual, the level of craftsmanship behind the cookery continues to rise. People are taking to things that are heavily fabricated, like charcuterie, because they want to experience how hard a chef works to provide quality food, says Mike Brown, chef and coowner of Pig Ate My Pizza, Travail and Rookery, a Robbinsdale triumvirate that generates a loyal foodie following.

SMALLER IS BETTER
While exotic ingredients and crazy new flavor profiles are usually the headline grabbers, when the talk turns to trends, one of the hottest topics lately is not whats on the plate, but how much is on it. Americans have finally gotten the message that more is not more, and were serving smaller portions and lighter foods, says Paul Lynch, executive chef of FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar at the Radisson Blu in Bloomington. People like a small, palate-teasing portion. He notes the light-andhealthy trend is extending to beverages, too. At meetings and events, truly flavorful, healthy options are playing strong, with the addition of such features as interesting hydration stations.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF: MARKUS AKRE; MELISSA BERG PHOTO; HEIDI B PHOTO.

Spanish is Out, Danish is In


Sitting down for an interview just moments after claiming a two-way tie for first place in the burger cook-off, Doug Flicker, executive chef and owner of Piccolo, says, Denmark is the new Spain. Just a few years ago, everyone was looking to Spanish chefs, and now Copenhagen is the gastro capital of whats being called the New Nordic cuisine. Flicker predicts Scandinavian influenceswith ingredients such as wild berries and horseradish, and techniques such as marinating, smoking and saltingwill be making their way onto even more Minnesota plates in the future.

SEA CHANGE RESTAURANT

ARE YOU GOING TO EAT THAT?


Family-style service is a growing trend for events, says Jamie Malone, chef de cuisine at Sea Change Restaurant. Events have more energy and fun when you bring out a big platter of food to share, she says. Will Minnesotans be brave enough to tackle a head-to-tail fish? Absolutely, Malone answers confidently. Keely Nyquist, floor manager at Borough, is noticing the same phenomenon. People like to share so they can have a little bit of many menu options and taste lots of flavors, says Nyquist, who notes that although Borough doesnt serve family-style entres, guests often share items off their three-course menu. We highly recommend sharing small plates and entres, especially during events, because its just more fun that way.

Dietary Trends
Catering to those with special dietary restrictions or lifestyles has also increased in popularity. The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis has embraced this by adding an on-site Kosher Kitchen, which allows executive chef Aaron Hagerdorn to adhere to the Orthodox methods of creating kosher cuisine for events held at the hotel. [The kitchen] expands on the offerings we can provide the [Jewish] community, says Hagerdorn. We have so much for all other organizations and types of businesses; now its just another opportunity for us to expand into a community that we werent able to service before.

Catering to Taste
While eating out is a trend here to stay, many still love an evening at home, but one that features the same high-end cuisine. Annette Coln, former chef de cuisine at Lucias Restaurant, is now the owner of Red Hen Gastrolab with Jennifer Becker, a collaborative partner. Together, they create private, in-home catering events for as few as six and as many as 60 participants. Its like bringing a restaurantthat level of quality and expertiseright into your home, but you have the ability to keep everything feeling more relaxed and intimate, says Coln. Customers often ask for more complicated dishes that will showcase her classic technique.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF: MARKUS AKRE; MELISSA BERG PHOTO; HEIDI B PHOTO.

everywhere now, and theyre learning to demand higher quality. If youre at the beach, you dont have to just eat a hot dog.

People are getting better food

Doug Flicker, executive chef and owner of Piccolo and Sandcastle on Lake Nokomis
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Andrew Zimmern, the mastermind behind AZ Canteen, holding a Cabrito Butter Burger.

Fire is
HOT
Many local chefs are getting back to basics with their cuisinelike, as far back as the caveman era. Steven Joel Brown, chef and co-owner of Tilia, is installing an outdoor patio with woodred cookery that will be available this spring. People love the addition of experiential elements like hearth cooking, he says. It makes the event feel unique and special.

Street Food Revolutionand Brunch, too

People are getting better food everywhere now, and theyre learning to demand higher quality. If youre at the beach, you dont have to just eat a hot dog, says Flicker, who owns Sandcastle on Lake Nokomis. Korean street food is the newest cuisine to have its moment in the sunand on the menu. Dishes like lettuce wraps and Korean-influenced burgers are featured at The Rabbit Hole, opened in November by Thomas Kim and Kat Melgaard, the duo behind The Left Handed Cook. Its a full-service restaurant, with interesting cocktails and live acoustic music, says Melgaard. Other nontraditional food options, like breakfast for dinner, are gaining in popularity at events. Heikki Rouvinen, business manager of The Deco Catering, says, We recently worked with a wedding couple whose favorite meal was brunch, so they asked us to serve quiche, lox and crepes.

Keep on Trucking

Food trucks, which offer the ultimate in street food, continue to show up in just about every setting. Many embrace food trends year-round, but will only utilize them in something attainable to customers, using familiar items in a sometimes unfamiliar way. Trend stuff is important and powerful, but you need to remember the things that dont change, says John Larson, co-managing partner of AZ Canteen, which serves a baby goat burger. We are trying to provide the best of whats trend and sustainable, but still in a familiar form.

Mix it Up

According to Amol Dixit, who after a 15-year career in marketing at General Mills, started the Hot Indian Foods truck, there is still plenty of room for growth in the food-on-wheels sector. That accessible gourmet concept wont be going away any time soon, he says. Still, hes worked to make exotic ingredients more approachable to the sometimes timid Minnesota palate. Our Indurrito uses traditional Indian ingredients as the filling for a burrito wrap.

TWISTED & TASTY

Cynthia Gerdes, co-owner of Angel Food Bakery & Coffee Bar, used a heartfelt approach when asked to prepare room gifts for alumni returning to a University of Minnesota event. We put our small-batch fresh pretzels in cellophane bags tied with school-color ribbons, she says. They were made with Minnesota ingredients, by a Minnesota-owned business and the card said, Welcome back to Minnesota. It was a huge hit.

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Sweet Tooth

The days of serving big wedges of cake with a steak knife shoved in top are out the door, and have been for a while, says Lynch. Its all about individually sized, more detailed and elegantly plated items. Small-in-size and untraditional-in-approach seem to be growing trends for dessert. We love to do crazy things and fun things with cupcakes, says Jeanne Lundell, sales and operations manager for the Cupcake on the Go food truck and Cupcake restaurant. When were doing an event, we usually suggest a group of cupcakes that are known crowd pleasers. People really want a great variety of great flavor." Desserts are the star of the show, but people dont really want those over-the-top sculpture cakes they see on television, says Gerdes. We recently did a 450-person event at Nicollet Island Pavilion, and they wanted an array of smaller things instead. It matters to people that their dessert is handmade by a pastry chef, and that we are literally cracking every egg that goes into what theyre eating.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF: AZ CANTEEN; TATE CARLSON.

Each of Angel Food Bakery & Coffee Bar's desserts is handmade and carefully crafted by a pastry chef.

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ALSO TRENDING
MEETING AND EVENT PLANNERS, just like great chefs, know presentation, dcor and overall atmosphere can make a huge difference in the success of any gathering. Below, find other noteworthy trends to look forward to in the upcoming year:

SPEAKER SUPPORT
Canned speeches with routine PowerPoints are a thing of the past, according to Devie Hagen, CEO and president of lan Speakers Agency. Ive noticed that meeting planners have become more in tune with building a relationship to ensure the speaker truly ties into the theme and expectations of the audience, so presentations are customized to not only include specics

of who and what the company is about, but also their specic challenges. Clients are looking more for business expertise in their eld and less of general motivational content. And, she adds, more planners are requesting that speakers step away from the podium, please: Were seeing different formats to engage audiences, not just standing there and talking. If the speaker uses a screen at all, it tends to be more interactive, and will probably include music and video.

Bye-Bye Bling
Over-the-top razzledazzle is a thing of the past, says Jennifer Braun, CEO of Festivities, a supplier of event rental, dcor and floral. Rhinestones are being tossed aside in favor of a softer, yet industrial elegance. We expect to see more events that combine steel, iron and wood with lace, crystals and sheer fabrics. The combinations can be breathtaking, and they elevate the events mood much more than all that bedazzling ever could, she says. Braun also notes an increase in requests for eco-conscious furniture, and says that more customers are looking for clever ways to tie together a meetings theme, such as strategically placed logos, funny quotes on napkins and coasters, and even punny T-shirts for catering staff, like writing barTENder, for a 10-themed event.

New ideas for team-building events are always popular, and the folks at Maddens have hit upon a unique way to combine teamwork and dinner during corporate events. Guests work in teams to earn points for activities, which they use to purchase ingredients and then create a dish. A panel of judges then picks the winner. Weve found that its a really creative way to get the members of a group working together in a fun, but team-building way, says Abbey Pieper, vice president, Maddens on Gull Lake. It really adds to the overall experience of the event.

IRON CHEF at EVENTS

Light up the Night

Good lighting is always a trend, says Tim McVean, director of sales and marketing at audio-visual company AVEX. Lighting the room in an interesting way changes the atmosphere and makes an event feel special. McVean notes a rise in large-format projection, often onto the side of a building or other structure. It can look like the night sky, a beach with a bouncing ball whatever you want.

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GET CONNECTED
RESTAURANTS
ANGEL FOOD BAKERY + COFFEE BAR angelfoodmn.com // 612.238.1435 BOROUGH boroughmpls.com // 612.354.3135 FIRELAKE GRILL HOUSE & COCKTAIL BAR relakerestaurant.com // 952.881.5258 PICCOLO piccolompls.com // 612.827.8111 PIG ATE MY PIZZA 763.535.1131 THE RABBIT HOLE eatdrinkrabbit.com // 612.236.4526 THE ROOKERY 763.535.1131 SANDCASTLE sandcastlempls.com // 952.212.0759 SEA CHANGE seachangempls.com // 612.225.6499 TILIA tiliampls.com // 612.354.2806 TRAVAIL 763.535.1131

Rat Pack Playlists


Everybody wants the orchestra to open with big band and swing numbersFrank Sinatra, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, says Marsh Edelstein, president of Marsh Productions Entertainment Agency. Classic music like that will keep the mature attendees in their seats longer, and then, later at night, the band can still switch to harder rock. Edelstein, who represents the RFactor Orchestra (formerly The Ruperts Orchestra)a variety bandand 218 other groups, also says, People are used to creating playlists on their iPods, so nobody wants the same genre all night long. Four hours of the same style of music gets old, so they like to mix it up, and we can denitely do that.

CANDID CAMERA

Expectations for photography are rising way above the traditional step-up shot, and have grown to include the incorporation of video into multimedia event presentations. Many of my clients are also requesting very classic photography, with fewer posed photos and more candids, says Patrick McCutchan, owner and photographer at Studio McCutch. People really like the look of lm. Noticing that event attendees love to pose with something whimsical and funny, McCutchan created People on a Stick, in which he positions subjects on a piece of furniture that looks like a giant hand, with a pole for them to hug. The 4-by-6-inch nished print they receive looks as if theyre the latest State Fair treat-on-a-stick. And, he says, People like to walk away with a physical photographits something to hold on to other than their phone.

FOOD TRUCKS

AZ CANTEEN azcanteen.com // 612.615.1115 CUPCAKE ON THE GO cup-cake.com // 612.378.4818 HOT INDIAN FOODS hotindianfoods.com

OTHER VENDORS

PHOTO COURTESY OF: STUDIO McCUTCH.

People like to walk away with a physical photographits something to hold on to other than their phone.
Patrick McCutchan, owner and photographer at Studio McCutch

AVEX goavex.com // 952.929.2839 THE DECO CATERING decocatering.com // 612.623.4477 LAN SPEAKERS AGENCY elanspeakersagency.com // 763.458.9326 FESTIVITIES festivitiesmn.com // 763.682.4846 HYATT REGENCY MINNEAPOLIS minneapolis.hyatt.com // 612.370.1234 MADDENS ON GULL LAKE maddens.com // 218.829.2811 MARSH PRODUCTIONS ENTERTAINMENT AGENCY marshproductions.com // 952.922.1800 STUDIO McCUTCH studiomccutch.com // 763.381.2927 RED HEN GASTROLAB redhengastrolab.com // 612.886.4400

WINTER 2014

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