About

red-stag-dinner-about-325The Heavy Table is a daily Twin Cities-based magazine passionately telling the stories of food and drink — from roots to table — in the Upper Midwest.

We are interested in small, neighborhood restaurants; ethnic eateries with a story to tell; great home cooking; Upper Midwestern culinary traditions; stuff that’s hilarious; recipes that work; recipes that fail spectacularly; current events; local food; heirloom food; and people at all levels of the food creation, preparation, distribution and consumption chain.

The Heavy Table is for readers who enjoy good food. That might mean a $75 tab at Sea Change or a $6 burrito bought in a suburban strip mall. It might be a dish of morels and fiddlehead ferns or a stewed rabbit. It might be a new beer from Lucid. We read Kinfolk, and Harold McGee, and The Flavor Thesaurus, and Rex Stout. We also watch Gordon Ramsay and Alton Brown and keep tabs on the local food blogs.

We write to be understood, to be accurate, and to entertain. The Heavy Table is a positive voice with integrity. We will call people out on lousy value and bad hospitality. But we prefer to celebrate the delicious, the creative, the honest, and the heartwarming.

We look forward to serving you.


Staff

Editor and Publisher

James Norton | jrnorton@heavytable.com
James Norton is the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers. His latest book was published by the University of Minnesota Press and is called Lake Superior Flavors. Norton has written about food for Culture: The Word on Cheese, Salon, Gastronomica, Popular Science, Saveur.com, Minnesota Monthly, and City Pages (as a weekly restaurant reviewer). You can hear him regularly on Minnesota Public Radio, the Current, and WCCO news radio.

Contributing Writers

Tricia Cornell | tricia@heavytable.com
After five years editing Minnesota Parent and Minnesota Good Age, Tricia is finally willing to admit that she might love food nearly as much as her children. Dinner, in any case, never talks back. Five years writing travel guides in the Baltics taught her to love good beer, dark bread, and savory pastries stuffed with everything from sausage to rice. As a defensive measure, she knows the word for “liver” in nearly every Eastern European language. Tricia has also written for Minnesota Monthly, City Pages, the Rake, and Experience Life. She wrote the Moon Handbooks guide to the Twin Cities and updated the third edition of the Moon guide to Minnesota.

John Garland | john@heavytable.com
John Garland is a freelance writer living in the East Isles neighborhood of Minneapolis. He shouts at the TV during Jeopardy, makes the finest bucatini all’amatriciana this side of Rome, and endlessly tinkers with the ratio of gin to vermouth. Born and raised in the West Metro, he loves walleye sandwiches, the Iowa Hawkeyes, and moules frites with a glass of house white at Barbette. He’s received schooling from the International Sommelier Guild and is a shameless proponent of cold-climate wine (just ask him). He’s also Contributing Editor to Growler Magazine.

Ted Held | ted@heavytable.com
A lifelong resident of the Midwest, Ted is a lover of spicy food, noodles, and the wonders of the Maillard reaction. When he’s not playing music, riding his bike, or working as a web developer, he spends his time seeking out new and exciting flavors, or trying to re-create them in the kitchen of his Minneapolis home.

Jill Lewis | jill@heavytable.com
The great-granddaughter of an Eastern European Jewish baker, Jill Lewis cannot escape her genetic predisposition to carbs. Her love of baked goods, wine, cheese and chocolate may not come in handy for her day job as a Twin Cities PR professional, but it proves infinitely helpful for her gigs as a contributing writer for The Heavy Table and the co-author of the Cheese and Champagne blog. A former resident of Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin and suburban Washington, D.C., Jill now lives with her husband, two young sons and cat in St. Louis Park.

Susan Pagani | susan@heavytable.com
Susan Pagani is a freelance journalist and the co-author of Minnesota Lunch, eleven tasty sandwiches that tell the story of the state. Previously, she was Food Editor at the San Antonio Current, an alt-weekly in Texas, and wrote about everything from familial fig trees and DIY fortune cookies to the Texas legislature and reproductive rights. She lives in Cooper with her husband and their two nutty dogs.

Joshua Page | joshua@heavytable.com
Joshua Page became fascinated with food as a young latchkey cook in Southern California. He developed a passion for eating out while working in “the industry” in college and procrastinating (and accruing debt) as a graduate student. Now a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, Joshua also loves to write — when it’s not about crime, law, and punishment, his musings are about Twin Cities eateries. You can check out these reviews and song pairings on his blog “I Like Food, Food Tastes Good.”

Amy Rea | amyrea@heavytable.com
Amy Rea is a freelance writer who lives in the suburbs and doesn’t hate it. She grew up on the comfort foods of northern Minnesota and still loves to check out small-town diners and cafes, especially if they have homemade mashed potatoes and killer sandwiches. She’s written two guidebooks to Minnesota (Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes: An Explorer’s Guide and Backroads & Byways of Minnesota) and blogs about Minnesota for WCCO. She’s married with two almost-grown sons and a highly neurotic Border Collie. She spends much of her free time reading and spouting off about books at her blog.

Peter Sieve | petersieve@heavytable.com
Peter Sieve is on an eternal quest to discover The Perfect Sandwich, and fears it will be forever out of his reach. In the meantime, he works on interesting urban projects with the nonprofit PLACE, and he’s the guitarist for Minneapolis band Rogue Valley, touring the land extensively, and consistently exhausting his per diems on good food. He’s worked in food service as a line cook and barista, and appreciates the unlooked-for stories that are always bubbling beneath the surface of our dinner plates.

Contributing Photographers

Katie Cannon | katie@heavytable.com
Whether it’s the perfect fish taco, a crumbly buttery scone or a thick juicy steak, Katie enjoys the art of making and eating good food. She values sharing a good meal with friends and family and loves to entertain as a means of doing so. A human resources professional for many years, she recently made a career change to pursue photography professionally. She currently is busy enjoying food writing and photography for her personal blog Camacho Watcho and is excited to contribute as both a writer and photographer for the Heavy Table.

Becca Dilley | becca@heavytable.com
Becca Dilley is the co-author of The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin, a professional photographer, and the founder of the Independent Wedding Association. Her photos have appeared in Minnesota Bride, Saveur, and the Star Tribune. She won a red ribbon with her Grandma Dilley’s pickled watermelon rinds in the 2009 Minnesota State Fair.

Natalie Champa Jennings | natalie@heavytable.com
Natalie Champa Jennings is a Minneapolis/St. Paul wedding, portrait, and freelance photographer. She is passionate about offering the photography market a different aesthetic with her images, and works carefully to achieve this style which some have categorized as vintage. When Natalie is not behind the camera, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, writing, playing the trumpet, traveling with her husband, painting, and knitting. For more information about Natalie and her photography company, please visit her website and click “about.”

Brenda Johnson | brenda@heavytable.com
Brenda Johnson’s style sprouts from the concept of using natural light for everything – food, portraits, architecture, interiors,  and so forth. It’s the best way to capture an image in its true form. Sometimes it works and sometimes she has to wait until the light changes. And sometimes she needs to bend the light a bit or break down completely and add a flash. To see what she’s up to these days, please visit her website at www.bjohnsonphotos.com.

Joe Krummel | info@joekrummel.com
Joe Krummel is a Minneapolis-based photographer and designer. At every scale, his education in architecture laid a solid foundation for his work. Aesthetically his work is minimal and commonly driven by texture and compelling compositions. In early 2014, Joe launched a new project called Yellow Playhouse. He hopes to establish a collaborative space where local creatives can share and promote their work. When Joe’s not designing or behind the lens, he enjoys long summer runs, barefoot golf, cooking new foods, traveling with his wife and bonfires at the cabin.

Isabel Subtil | isabel@heavytable.com
Isabel Subtil is a native of Portugal, a country filled with passionate people, exotic colors, incredible scenery, and amazing food. Starting at a young age, she worked in her family’s pottery factory and later started her own business as a buying agent, specializing in housewares and home decor. She followed her heart to America in pursuit of a formal education in photography and digital imaging. Her ability to capture food photography and food culture stories is the culmination of these life experiences. She loves cooking, eating, sampling new ingredients, styling and photographing, proof of which can be seen in her latest work at www.isabelsubtil.com.

Associate Editor

Maja Ingeman | maja@heavytable.com
The daughter of an artist and a music teacher, Maja spent much of her childhood traveling the country in a rusty old van, attempting to model all of her father’s salable jewelry at the same time, and sampling the many edibles available both on the road and at the art fairs they visited. Though she now lives in Minneapolis, the coffee addiction and love for food that she picked up en route to one of their many destinations never left her. Between marketing work in the medical device industry and poring over the Harvard Business Review, she can typically be found holed up in her kitchen, baking bread every weekend and experimenting in between.

Copy Editor

Emily Newhall | emily@heavytable.com
Emily Newhall experiments with new recipes each week and keeps a mile-long list of restaurants to visit. By day, she is a proofreader and editor for a design firm in Oakdale. Ever dedicated to Minnesota, Emily was raised in Minnetonka, attended Carleton in Northfield, and now lives in South Minneapolis. She is always impressed by fresh custard-filled doughnuts, perfectly spiced Indian curries, and restaurants that offer more than one vegetarian dish.

Associate Copy Editor

Elizabeth M. C. Scheibel | elizabeth@heavytable.com
Liz Scheibel loves cheap food, expensive food, simple food, and fancy food. She attempts to learn to cook about every other month, and then decides to stick with baking cookies. As a true Minnesotan (originally from Minnetonka, a Macalester College grad, and a South Minneapolis resident), she knows that good things start with a can of cream of mushroom soup. She earns her cans as a librarian in a law firm and occasionally helps Heavy Table colleagues with background research for projects.

Producer and Co-Founder

Aaron Landry | aaron@heavytable.com
Aaron has a multidisciplinary background in online media, politics, and technology. He loves pizza, cheeses, and almost anything that can be drunk. Born and raised outside of Stillwater, MN, he has called both Saint Paul and Minneapolis home. Aaron now lives in Honolulu, Hawai‘i while managing the backend operations of the Heavy Table. His personal site is aaronlandry.com.


Recognition

Heavy Table has been the City Pages readers’ choice for Best Blog for five years running (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), was named as part of the Star Tribune’s Taste 50 in 2009, and made #5 on Vita.mn’s 2012 list of Best Local Blogs. As per the Tangential (quoted in Vita.mn’s All Stars of the Twin Cities), the site is “Continuing to set the bar — or table, as the case may be — for independent food coverage.”

The site’s North Coast Nosh event series was named “Best Foodie Event” in 2012 by Minnesota Monthly. The site was profiled on CNN’s Eatocracy, and named a best local blog by METRO in 2010, and its contributors have appeared on the Splendid Table, MPR, WCCO radio with John Hines, FOX 9, KSTP, and other outlets. Heavy Table was named one of 10 Minnesota food blogs worth a read in the Mix in July 2014.

Heavy Tablers have written or contributed heavily to books including Minnesota Lunch (James Norton, Susan Pagani, Jill Lewis, Lori Writer, with photography by Katie Cannon, Becca Dilley), Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook and Eat More Vegetables (Tricia Cornell), Lake Superior Flavors and  The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin (James Norton and Becca Dilley), Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home (with photography by Kate NG Sommers), and Food Lovers’ Guide to the Twin Cities (James Norton). You can read the first draft of Knife Skills (James Norton’s unpublished culinary serial novel) on this site.


About Our Star System

Full-length reviews on the Heavy Table are accompanied by a star rating from 0 to 4 stars. A 1-star review isn’t negative; it’s mixed. Even a 1/2 star restaurant will have one or two positive points worth mentioning.

We are fully aware that it’s difficult, if not insulting, to attempt to boil a restaurant down to a simple star rating, just as it’s insanely reductive to boil a film down to a thumb jammed up or down. That said, we use these ratings as a condensed thumbnail of the review, as a jumping-off point for reader discussion, and as a way to clarify our reviewers’ thoughts and remind them that, ultimately, they must take a firm stand when they write. We do not adhere to any firm timetable when reviewing restaurants. As diners’ advocates, we view our duty as the assessment of any food and/or drink being sold at full market prices.

☆☆☆☆ (Poor)
½☆☆☆ (Flawed)
★☆☆☆ (Notable)
★½☆☆ (Notable)
★★☆☆ (Good)
★★½☆ (Good)
★★★☆ (Excellent)
★★★½ (Excellent)
★★★★ (Superb)


Our Ethics Policy

Restaurant reviews are sacred. If we’re handing out stars or even publishing a brief listing, we are not being compensated in cash or trade by the establishment. The evaluation will be done with magazine funds and on an anonymous basis. Any sponsored content will be clearly marked as such.

Sponsored content will not include reviews, short or long. As with all content on the site, the Heavy Table has final say on all wording in sponsored content and will ensure that all claims or statements made are either colorful and subjective or verifiable as factual. Sponsored information and contests on third-party services (deals or promotions on Facebook or Twitter, for example) will always be clearly marked as sponsored.

The Heavy Table accepts product samples, books, and event tickets for review consideration. Anything valued over $100 US (including but not limited to trips, appliances, fancy liquor, etc.) will be disclosed explicitly in any coverage on the site. If a writer or a member of his or her immediate family has a direct financial and/or professional relationship with a subject of an article, he or she will not write about that subject without a full disclosure of the relationship.


Our Comments Policy

Think of this as the counterpart to our ethics policy. As long as you’re even vaguely on topic, you can post anything you want (short of nasty personal attacks and destructive rumoring) under your real name and email address. Or, you can post uncontroversial statements anonymously. And for the love of Pete, if you feel that a restaurant may have given you food poisoning, the people to talk to are that restaurant’s management and/or the relevant health authorities.


Our Values

  • Appreciation of the seasonal, the local, and the truly creative
  • Personalized partnerships with advertisers and sponsors
  • Exploration of context
  • Aesthetic grace
  • Unflinching criticism tempered by sympathy for those who dare to attempt something difficult
  • Accuracy
  • Truly original content
  • Nimble use of technology to best convey good information to readers
  • Stories featuring real people

Contact

Submissions or Corrections | editor@heavytable.com

The Heavy Table relies on its staff for the overwhelming bulk of its stories and photos. If you have a story and/or photo that you think falls within our mandate, feel free to pitch it to us. We can’t promise to publish what you’re offering, but we will answer all inquiries promptly and with respect. Also note: the Heavy Table strives to be as accurate and timely as possible. If you spot an error or have a quality-related concern about anything on the site, please drop us a note.

Tips | churn@heavytable.com

If you’ve got news, gossip, events, great food-related content or other bits of information that may be of interest to our readers, please send them our way.

Sponsored Content and Advertisement | James Norton | jrnorton@heavytable.com

If you’re a culinary business with a good story to tell, please let us know. Ads, sponsored content, or a full online media campaign might be the best way to get your story out to our readership. Our sponsored content is clearly marked as such, and written by professionals who weigh equally both the site’s editorial mandate and the importance of conveying your story with accuracy and passion.