Check out this link on huffpo/food. Everyone from Michelle Obama to Tony and Tom are on this list. Bill Pohlad should probably be on it simply for making the movie Food, Inc.
Locally, who else is a game changer of the year?
- Chef Shack . . . for changing the pace of the local mobile food scene?
- Phil Roberts . . . from Manny’s to Cafeteria to Burger Jones to Il Gatto, he’s been busy the last 20 months and the Il Gatto food assist from Tim McKee is genius.
- Lenny Russo . . . Heartland version 2.0 has the potential to change the game of the local food scene if the cards fall the right way for him.
- Alex Roberts . . . 2010 JBA winner for our region?
But I am going to go with Kieran Folliard. Something more than Guinness is brewing over in Folliard's frontal lobe. He is the smartest guy I know in the hospitality and food business. My greatest professional regret is that he and I (along with now State Representative Paul Rosenthal) never got our SaltWater seafood restaurant off the ground 10 years ago; it would have rocked.
Anyway, he moved Kieran’s, opened another pub (Cooper), and partnered with Mike Phillips (ex-Craftsman) on an idea that we wrote about 18 months ago here on this site and in our print magazine. At that time I suggested that based on Phillips’s expertise and the collective know how of the local chefs with similar experience there was no reason why Minnesota couldn’t become known as the salumi and cured/smoked meat capitol of the world. Why not? If La Quercia in Iowa can gain national prominence (deserved) then why couldn’t someone here? With Folliard as his partner, I would say in a few years you will see Phillips's products sold all over the country if Folliard pays the right kind of attention to what Phillips can do. I would love to see Minnesota cured meats and salumi become the national standard.
Folliard and Philips created Green Ox Foods, a company that will produce bacon, hams, sausages, and charcuterie for Folliard’s pubs. According to the press release I saw a few weeks ago, they indicated that their “Long-term objective is to develop Green Ox into a brand that gives our region an artisan food product with far ranging retail distribution.”
I made prosciutto once with Phillips and his process takes up to three years, so the idea of him partnering with a restaurant company is a smart one. He makes dried sausage, fresh sausage, and other cured and smoked meats, while the stuff that takes more than a year gets stockpiled awaiting distribution.
So between this news and Lenny Russo’s plans for Heartland I think we might have a shot at owning this thing.
Speaking of game changers, what about Seth Bixby Daugherty? The First Lady mentioned Seth by name in her famous White House lawn speech, and his Real Food Initiatives is a nationally recognized program.
And what about Tim McKee? He won the James Beard Award in 2009, the first Minneapolis chef to win the honor. If you want to thank them yourself, you can head down to the Graves Hotel for the Taste of the Nation Event, which is in its sixth year and is taking place on Sunday, September 26. I will be out of town and am cursing the calendar gods.
Buy your tickets here and enjoy a meal prepared by the best chefs in the city. Share our Strength is the beneficiary and child hunger is no joke. BUY A TICKET, please.
Another cool event you won’t want to miss is the FSN Local Challenge, which takes place on Tuesday, September 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Lenny Russo's new Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market in Downtown St. Paul. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's JoAnne Berkenkamp will give a talk about the development of local food networks, distribution, and the farm to school programs, etc. Russo will also talk about his new facility and the St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman will deliver some remarks as well. I understand that organizers are indeed trying to engage some real discussion about how best to source from local producers, not the typical high-fiving that these events usually devolve into. I wish I could go to that too. Life sucks sometimes.