Former Heidi's employees crowd funding to replace lost wages

The note informing customers and employees when Heidi's closed unexpectedly last week

The fallout from Heidi's closure continues. Over the weekend a crowd funding site at Go Fund Me sprang up asking for the public's help to recoup lost wages and credit card tips for the former staff at Heidi's. We reached out to the Woodmans and the former server who started the fund to get the full story.

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Signature Dish: Haute Dish's Landon Schoenefeld

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Chef Landon Schoenefeld's signature General Tso's Sweatbreads with Foie Fried Rice

In the search for the Twin Cities' best culinary creations, we often come across dishes that stop us mid-bite and force us to reflect on the level of thought and artistry chefs put into their work. The efforts of the chefs are often laborious, and the end results are regularly consumed before the full concept can be appreciated. We've been tracking down some of these dishes to get the chef's side of the story: their thoughts, motivations, and processes. It's our hope that we can give you deeper insight into the talents of Twin Cities chefs and to have a better understanding of what you're getting when you sit down to dinner.

Let's face it, there aren't too many chefs in town who have been able to establish such a nefarious reputation as Haute Dish chef and owner Landon Schoenefeld, but when you've been working in the industry as long and in as many places as Schoenefeld, you're bound to have a few stories that will follow you around -- likely until the end of time. Schoenefeld has come a long way from his Colonel Mustard days and since opening Haute Dish in 2010, he has dazzled diners with his thoughtful, well-executed and visually-stunning interpretations on seasonally-driven, technique-elevated, old and new school comfort foods.

As Haute Dish is well into its third year of service, Schoenefeld continues to grow and refine his menu all while keeping diners entertained with his playful plates. As one of the forerunners of the Twin Cities young, chef-driven restaurant movement, Haute Dish has quickly become a Minneapolis staple as it embodies itself as a representative of our cultured past and expansive, diverse future.

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Twin Cities chefs dish on the foie gras controversy

A locally prepared dish utilizing locally raised foie gras

Foie gras... It's the ultimate symbol of silken, rich, culinary decadence, but beyond that, it has moved into the forefront of Twin Cities culinary conversation. A heated debate has sprouted around what many claim to the be the apex of luxury ingredients. When it comes to fancy, high-end, expensive foods, foie gras ranks right up there at the top, yet it also comes with a raging stigma that has many animal rights activists and concerned eaters up in arms. Is the fatty goose and duck liver really all that bad? We reached out to several of the Twin Cities top culinary minds to get their take on foie gras.

While many chefs have different reasons for standing behind the ingredient, one overwhelming poignant theme rang through in almost all of their statements; know thy facts.

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Foie gras fight comes to Minnesota with protest at 112 Eatery

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New website lists the food code violations at every restaurant in Minneapolis

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112 Eatery is the first restaurant to show up on Webster's comprehensive, alphabetical list.
In New York City, restaurants have to post letter grades that reflect their latest health department inspection. Ditto in San Francisco, though there the scores come on a 100-point scale.

In fact, in each of the 50 largest cities in the U.S., diners can check online to see if a food establishment racked up any code violations -- like, say, mouse droppings in the kitchen -- during its last inspection.

Except, says Tony Webster, in Minneapolis.

See Also:
- Should restaurants be required to display health inspection grades?
- New China Wok owner wants to reopen restaurant, insists it's "super clean"
- Tony Webster alleges security flaw in Minnesota DVS

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Cow Bella burgled, resolves to remain loyal to the Mac-Groveland neighborhood

Great gelato inspires goodwill

This weekend, in an overnight heist, thieves broke into the relatively new gelato shop Cow Bella on Grand Avenue, near the Macalester school campus. They made off with some cash, a computer and an iPad, but what they took was more than just that.

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In Pursuit Of: The perfect Manhattan

Dawn Brodey
A perfect pair. Manhattans as presented by The Monte Carlo.

It is understood, especially around Hot Dish, that the culinary arts are just that -- an art. We are lucky to amble among some of the finest displays of food culture and then report back to you, our readers.

But reporting about any art is itself, well, an art. Especially when it comes to classics -- those items with which foodies have had more time to apply countless variations. And so we present to you our newest column: In Pursuit Of. We'll visit and revisit culinary classics at different Twin Cities eateries and bars in pursuit of just what makes them so great.

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Heidi's gets dinged in state's latest liquor posting; Stewart Woodman responds

Heidi's, the latest victim of the Department of Revenue's monthly liquor posting

When the state of Minnesota's Department of Revenue posted its latest monthly list of bars and restaurants that are allegedly delinquent in their tax payments, it included one surprising entry: Heidi's, the Lyndale Avenue hot spot known for its refined dining and seasonal craft cocktail list.

The state's monthly liquor posting can be onerous for a bar or restaurant, because three days after it makes the list, the business is banned from making further beer and liquor purchases until the dispute has been resolved. Liquor distributors are forbidden to sell to any establishment that has been on the list for more than the three-day period. That, of course, means that once the business's liquor well runs dry, it is no longer able to serve alcoholic beverages.

According to Heidi's chef and owner Stewart Woodman, the whole thing is a mix-up on the part of the state. He says his restaurant has gone above and beyond in making timely tax payments. We spoke with chef Woodman about his current tax dilemma.

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Andrew Zimmern says, "Yelp is on my $@%# list"

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Food personality Andrew Zimmern speaks out against Yelp
Local food celebrity Andrew Zimmern has come out recently in, we'll just say firm opposition to the crowd-sourced restaurant review site Yelp. In his weekly podcast Go Fork Yourself, Zimmern lashed out against the website, saying, "Yelp is on my shit list!"

Yelp is the online/mobile app where users register and leave both reviews and restaurant ratings. No food writing or rating experience is required. Though users flock to the highly rated website, restaurateurs have often had less than glowing things to say about it because of the often untrained writers and what restaurant owners see as unfair and exaggerated criticisms. Here's why Zimmern is ticked off.

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Chef Stewart Woodman is serious about fish

The new featured salmon dish at Heidi's

There's a lot of talk about fish these days: everything from the sustainability of species to purveyors falsely labeling fish due to ignorance or to turn higher profits. These are serious issues for a chef, and just as some restaurants turn to local farms to help control the quality of the proteins they serve, some local chefs are looking toward specialty purveyors where they can buy fish fresh from a direct source. That helps keep quality consistent and ensures they're getting what they ordered. 

One of the biggest issues with specialty sourcing is cost. When you can buy salmon from local vendors for $5 a pound, it makes it hard to buy from a specialty fishmonger that charges triple the price. The rationale, of course, is the quality of the fresh fish and the value of being able to tell your customers specifically where it comes from. Chef Stewart Woodman of Heidi's and Birdhouse has made the switch. We recently spoke with him about why he felt it was important in spite of the higher prices.

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Bruce Bradley, local novelist and blogger, exposes the food industry

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Former Nabisco and General Mills executive Bruce Bradley's new novel is a thriller set inside a corrupt food company

Do you ever wonder what goes on behind the walls of the big-food industry? Well, that's something local industry-insider-turned-author Bruce Bradley knows a little about. 

Bradley, who lives in Minneapolis, has spent over 15 years working as a marketing executive for some of the biggest food companies in America. We recently sat down with him to discuss his background, the industry, and his new fiction novel, a thriller that takes place within the realm of big food (and right here in Minneapolis).

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