To many Minnesotans there is no greater foodie attraction at the Minnesota State Fair than Minnesota Cooks Day. This year it was held on August 25th and was the 11th annual event, following the same great recipe as in years before — showcasing farm-fresh food grown and served right here in Minnesota.
The day is broken into six 45 minute cooking “shows”. For each show, chefs are paired with Minnesota farmers, using ingredients from these farms to create beautiful dishes for a tasting panel to enjoy. Not to leave out those who aren’t sitting on stage: samples are handed out for the audience to enjoy as well.
While the chefs cook, the tasting panel — made up of farmers and local celebrities — hold a lively discussion with hosts JD Fratzke (Executive Chef at The Strip Club Meat & Fish) and Mary Lahammer (Twin Cities Public Television). Topics range from local foods to social media’s role in farming.
If you missed the event, you can still get your Minnesota Cooks calendar, featuring recipes from the chefs — many of the dishes that were made at the Fair are included in the calendar. Calendars are free and are available at the Minnesota Farmers Union booth at the Minnesota State Fair or by requesting a calendar online.
Big River Pizza‘s Steve Lott and Bacon Jam Slam Breakfast Pizza; the 10am tasting panel included farmers from Braucher’s Sunshine Harvest Farm and Bossy Acres, Dorothy Freeman (4H Council) and Lori Sturdevant (Star Tribune); Helen Walden of Anodyne Coffeehouse plates her dish; Anodyne’s Chickpea Crepe with Bossy Acres Sprouts, Roasted Vegetables, and Goat Cheese.
Mary Lahammer of Twin Cities Public Television hosted the afternoon segments of the event.
Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar‘s Victus Farms Tilapia and Leaves; Chef Tony Beran of Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar preps lettuce to be grilled; the 11am tasting panel included farmers from Two Pony Gardens and Victus Farms, Natalie Kelly (Twin Cities Local Food) and Paul Hugunin (MN Grown); Chef Thomas Boemer of Corner Table discusses heirloom tomatoes; Corner Table’s Heirloom Tomato Salad.
Chef Ian Gray of The Gray House; The Gray House’s Gnocchi with Singing Hills Goat Dairy Goat Ragu and Ground Cherry & Corn Relish; pork belly waiting to be plated by Rainbow Cafe; Rainbow Cafe’s Heirloom Tomato, Arugula & Basil Slider with Crispy Pork Belly; Greenleaf Gardens‘s Brian Peterson and his daughter Jenna with Jennifer Richards and Jeremy Olson of Rainbow Cafe.
Dan Hunter (Grand Cafe), Doug Peterson (President, Minnesota Farmers Union), Senator Al Franken, and JD Fratzke (The Strip Club) celebrate with Dick Trotter (Trotter’s Cafe). Dick is the 2013 Jon Radle Award Winner, recognizing a true pioneer and loyal commitment to furthering awareness and education around local foods and sustainable agriculture.
Dick Trotter and Lisa Scribner of Trotter’s Cafe; Josh Hanson of Spanky’s Stone Hearth rolls Bunkowski Farm Lamb Meatballs; Moonlight Duo provided the afternoon entertainment between cooking segments; audience members at the Minnesota Cooks 2013 event.
The Lynn on Bryant‘s Honey Mousse with Chilled Fruit Soup; The Lynn on Bryant’s Abby Boone plates her dessert; the 3pm tasting panel included farmers from The Beez Kneez Honey and Stone’s Throw Urban Farm, Don Shelby and Senator Klobuchar; Hai Truong of Ngon Vietnamese Bistro plates his dish; Ngon Vietnamese Bistro’s Stone’s Throw Urban Farm Seasonal Salad.
Mocktail demo by Erik and James Eastman, featuring Easy & Oskey DIY Bitters; Easy & Oskey’s Apple & Pear Mocktail with Habanero Bitters; JD Fratzke hosted the afternoon segments of Minnesota Cooks 2013.