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Chef Steven Brown -Tilia

Steven Brown has been called “one of the biggest cooking talents this town has ever produced” by James-Bear-award-winning food critic Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl. Minneapolis food scribe and Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern has said Brown “makes the best food in town, dish-for-dish, pound-for-pound.” With Tilia, Brown adds the title of restaurateur to his estimable resume, which includes stints as executive chef at Levain and Porter & Frye. His experience also includes stints in New York City, Modena, Italy and the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. Brown lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Stacey, his daughter, Sonia, and their border collie, Gnat. 


Chef Vincent Francoual

Vincent Francoual was born in Puy-L'Eveque, in the Cahors region of France. He began culinary school in Souillac at the age of fifteen. Four years later, Vincent earned his diploma C.A.P. of Cuisine and C.A.P. in Pastry. Vincent spent a summer working in a French resort town on the Atlantic Ocean where he began his love for seafood preparations.
In Europe he spent years gaining experience working at the Winchester Essex Hotel in Great Britain; the Hotel des Neiges, part of the Relais & Chateaux Propriety at Courchevel Resort in the French Alps; the Arraya, a One Michelin Star restaurant in the Basque Country of France; and for Giorgio Armani in Florence, Italy. After a short stint working for Celebrity Cruise Lines, Vincent needed a change of scenery and moved to the United States. He intended to stay only six months...
His first job in the United States was as head chef of Gaulin's in Elmsford, NY, a suburb of New York City. In 1995, Vincent accepted a position as chef de partie at the renowned four star restaurant, Le Bernadin under chef Eric Ripert. Six months later he became sous-chef. Working under Eric Ripert at Le Bernadin caused Vincent's passion for cooking to swell. Eager to learn, Vincent accepted a position as chef de partie at "Mobil Five Star" Lespinasse Restaurant. The effect of legendary Gray Kunz's use of seasonings and fusion of Asian and French styles is still evident in Vincent's cooking today.
In 1997 Vincent moved to Minneapolis and become executive chef at Cafe Un, Deux, Trois. Here Vincent began to make a name for himself with his contemporary take on French dishes. He left Cafe Un, Deux, Trois to work on opening a restaurant of his own. While working on opening the restaurant, Vincent started Amuse Bouche, a private dining company, and taught classes in the culinary program at Art Institutes International Minnesota. On August 28, 2001 after two years of work, Vincent – A Restaurant opened its doors to the public.

Chef Rudy Maxa

Rudy Maxa, one of America’s premier consumer travel experts, is host and executive producer of “Rudy Maxa’s World,” the Emmy Award winning, public television travel series featuring destinations as diverse as Korea and Argentina, and from South Africa, Tuscany, and Thailand.

Maxa is host and executive producer of 91 television episodes on the world’s great destinations that air on PBS stations nationwide. His television episodes also air in 121 countries in 22 different languages on Travel Channel International.

Maxa is a fascinating and informative speaker on the subject of travel today and speaks extensively around the world.

He is well known as public radio’s “Savvy Traveler” and an award-winning contributing editor with National Geographic Traveler magazine. He is a contributing editor to Delta’sSKY magazine and Artful Living, the Twin Cities’ lifestyle magazine. The voice of National Geographic Traveler’s “Walks of a Lifetime” podcasts, he also hosts America’s most widely-syndicated, weekend travel radio show, also called “Rudy Maxa’s World,” which airs on 170+ mostly news/talk stations and XM Radio channel 243 in North America.

As a writer for Traveler, Maxa’s articles have earned him two Lowell Thomas Bronze Awards for Excellence in Travel Writing from the Society of American Travel Writers. He has contributed travel articles to GQ, Worth, Forbes, Modern Maturity, USA Today, theWashington Post, Town & Country Travel, the Los Angeles Times, as well as, and He’s a frequent guest on national television networks and shows, including CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and “The View.” And he speaks frequently to both public and industry groups.

After 13 years as a Washington Post investigative reporter and personalities columnist, Maxa worked nine years as a senior writer with the city magazine, Washingtonian, before becoming Washington bureau chief of SPY magazine for two years.

Political scandal reportage by Maxa was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by the Post, and he has written two non-fiction books. He wrote for the ABC-TV dramatic series “Capitol News” and for several years hosted a Saturday-morning, public affairs talk show on WRC-AM, the NBC owned-and-operated radio station in Washington, DC.

Episodes of the Rudy Maxa’s World television series have garnered dozens of awards, including five regional Emmy Awards. He was named ”best regular columnist” by the Florida Magazine Association for his writings in Ocean Drive. And as a Post reporter, he won the John Hancock Award for Excellence in Business and Financial Journalism for a series of stories unmasking an international Ponzi scheme. His alma mater, Ohio University, gave Maxa the L.J. Hortin “Distinguished Alumnus Award” in 2002.

Chef Michael Agnew

A Perfect Pint

Michael Agnew is Minnesota’s first Certified Cicerone®. As the owner of A Perfect Pint, he organizes beer tastings and beer dinners for private parties and corporate events. He teaches classes on beer appreciation and beer/food pairing at Cooks of Crocus Hill, the University of Minnesota, The Four Firkins, and other locations. Michael’s Liquid Assets beer column can be read the first Thursday of every month in the Taste section of the Star Tribune. You can also catch his writing in his own Perfect Pint Beer Blog,, and The Growler Magazine, whose readers recently voted him Minnesota’s best beer writer.  | | @aperfectpint