Dan Oskey's New Craft Distillery in Northeast: "Life's Too Short to Drink Crap"

Categories: Interview

Courtesy of Tattersall

Pick two colors. Imagine them as long strips in your mind, and weave them perpendicularly over each other. If you're like us, you'll recognize it as something plaid-ish, probably a flannel. Good.

This summer, that pervasive pattern is working its way into Northeast in the form of Tattersall. What's Tattersall? It's a fancy term for plaid, the checkered design that is Minneapolis's unofficial uniform -- and the name of the next distillery in Minnesota's burgeoning craft distillery scene.

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Which Bargain Beer Should Be the Official Tallboy of Minnesota?

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Goodbye, Gastro Non Grata: "Even the Clusterfucks Were Good"

Categories: Interview

Photo via the Gastro Non Grata Facebook Page
Co-founders Craig Drehmel (left) and Jeff Mitchell immortalized Gastro Non Grata in the standard way.

"I just like fucking with people."

That's Craig Drehmel, co-founder (along with Jeff Mitchell) of Gastro Non Grata. And that's the succinct way he describes the semi-monthly food, booze, and rock event that took place mostly in bars around the Twin Cities for eight years.

They're retiring it because they're tired, because the dining landscape has changed, because the public is fickle. But, says Drehmel, even the clusterfucks were fun.

See also:
The Art of Gastro Non Grata

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Mike Phillips of Red Table Meat Really Wants You to Eat Kidney Fat

Categories: Interview

Photo courtesy Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips (right) and apprentice Tyler Montgomery break down a pig

Each morning, Mike Phillips, the most highly regarded salumiere and charcuterie master in the state if not the region, wakes at 4:30 a.m. He's on site at his shiny new northeast Minneapolis meat-curing facility by 5:15. He starts with a walk-through to examine cleanliness and adherence to USDA regulations. Then, this meat master and owner of Red Table Meat Co. is already thinking about lunch. Sort of.

See also:
This Is the Line of Locally Cured Meats You've Been Waiting For: Red Table Meat Co.

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PBS Revives Defunct Gardening Show, The Victory Garden

Categories: Interview

Screenshot from Victory Garden trailer
Filmmaker Daniel Klein's excellent, James Beard award-winning web series The Perennial Plate has taken him and his filming partner and wife Mirra Fine around Minnesota, around the country, and then around the world.

It all started with a realization: He was a white male with a free ride to college and this privilege obligated him to follow his dreams and to do something substantial in the world.

Now, together with Edibles Magazine, they've revived the the 14-years defunct PBS series The Victory Garden (Now The Victory Garden's Edible Feast).

See also:
Perennial Plate to launch world tour

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Surly Brewing's Chef Jorge Guzman on Making a Menu for Beer Drinkers

Categories: Interview

Jorge Guzman
Surly Brewing chef Jorge Guzman has a lot to contemplate, serving 1,300 guests daily.

As a Yucatán born, St. Louis bred Minneapolis transplant, Jorge Guzman says he knows he's got a little something to prove, since he's not even from the state of Minnesota. Yet he's just landed one of the highest profile kitchens around with some very deep Minnesota roots, at Surly Brewing. So he's quietly trying to do just that. When he gets nervous, he says he remembers the advice of chef/charcuterie master Mike Phillips, who recommended him for the job: "Just put your head down and cook."

And when someone suggests he's not up to the challenge, he's got a few choice words:
"Fuck you, yes I can."

See also:
A Look Inside Surly's Destination Brewery

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MasterChef Junior's Logan Guleff on Gordon Ramsay, Fangirls, and His Dream Restaurant

Categories: Interview

Greg Gayne / FOX. © FOX Broadcasting Co.
Logan Guleff with chefs Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Graham Elliot

No one told Logan Guleff there would be fangirls.

As confetti rained down on the 12-year-old MasterChef Junior winner ("You can't replicate that confetti," he says, "not on the scale that Hollywood does it."), furthest from his mind were the legions of girls from all over the world, charmed by his blond mop of hair and dapper bow ties, who would soon be following him on every social media outlet and tweeting him hand-drawn portraits of his face.

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Is Culinary School Going the Way of the Dinosaur?

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Tiny Diner Chef Brian Crouch Talks Quinoa and Refrigerator Repair

Categories: Interview

Brian Crouch
In his free time, chef Brian Crouch might catch a fish, cook it, and eat it.

Full disclosure: I used to work for Tiny Diner chef Brian Crouch -- way, way back in the day when we both were fresh-faced and full of vim and vigor. He was my first chef at a beloved little ragtag neighborhood place called Marimar, where essentially a bunch of kids got together and thought, "Hey, we're going to make ourselves a restaurant -- other people do it, so why not us?" They cobbled together their credit cards and their elbow grease and all that youthful energy and made a damn solid little restaurant.

This is only notable because I remember Crouch as this cantankerous, easy to set off, foul-mouthed, live-wire, cig-smokin' bad boy. Pretty much the picture of the TV chef.

See also:
Tiny Diner has big dreams in Minneapolis

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Philip Becht of Victor's on Water Isn't That Kind of Chef

Phillip Becht
Chef Phillip Becht and his crew at Victor's on Water

Chef Phillip Becht has no taste for the celebrity of chefdom, any sliver of spotlight, or even the interview I'm foisting upon him on the second day of service at Victor's on Water, though he graciously capitulates.

I'm almost loathe to use the term "chef" with him, fraught as the term has become with innuendos of ego, trash talking, and swagger. But it only means "boss," and I'd say Becht would be a stellar one to have.

See also:
Best Star-Chef Experience in a Restaurant 2007 -- The Modern's Phillip Becht

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Stewart Woodman Returns to the Twin Cities Culinary Scene That Disowned Him


It's Labor Day at the Minnesota State Fair, and Stewart Woodman is vying for the public's attention.

Three days earlier, he challenged fairgoers to crash his cooking demonstration with "the craziest Woodman story." No one does.

Instead, the crowd eagerly lines up for a taste of his chicharron and beet salad samples, ignoring a screechy microphone and the chef's raging head cold — because his food is worth it.

In the 12 years since Woodman moved to the Twin Cities, he's been honored with four-star reviews and cited as a best new chef by Food & Wine magazine. The James Beard Foundation twice named him a best chef semifinalist in the Midwest.

But each success has been marred by disaster. One of his restaurants burned down. He got fired from another. Two more went out of business, leading to a lawsuit by former employees who accused him of financial mismanagement and failing to pay wages.

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Twin Cities Wine Guru, Bill Summerville, on His Collection for Spoon and Stable


Had a memorable meal in Minneapolis lately? Chances are good that Bill Summerville had something to do with the experience.

After leaving his long-held post as managing director and sommelier at La Belle Vie this past spring, Summerville has been in project mode. He partnered with chef Erik Anderson on a well-received fried chicken and Champagne pop-up at Travail and designed the wine programs at the Third Bird and Sea Change. He then traveled, tasted, and studied his way through hundreds of bottles to create the perfect collection for Gavin Kaysen's North Loop hot spot, Spoon and Stable, where Summerville is general manager and wine director.

See also:
Spoon and Stable: A Sneak Peek and Opening Date for Gavin Kaysen's North Loop Restaurant

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