Introducing Chef Camp’s Chef-Instructors: Karl Gerstenberger

Kristen Olson / Quincy Street Kitchen

This post is sponsored by Chef Camp, a three-day cooking retreat to be held in a rustic camp setting from Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2018 at YMCA Camp Miller.

Chef Camp’s chef-instructors are the heart of the experience. The classes that they teach over open flames are what give the event its soul and purpose. Because of his love for the outdoors, Karl Gerstenberger is a natural fit to teach at camp.

He got his start in some of the best-known restaurants in California, working at Chez Panisse, Stars, and Oliveto. Upon returning to Minnesota several years ago, he took that West Coast haute cuisine background and began applying it to charcuterie, most notably working to establish the Seward Co-op’s meat program as a local leader.

Kristen Olson / Quincy Street Kitchen

You can find Chef Karl at St. Paul’s renovated historic Waldmann Brewery and Wurstery, where he works as head chef and general manager. “We’re getting good feedback from people with deep German cultural roots who are saying that the German food here is bright and great,” says Chef Karl. “We’re not reinventing anything, but we’re upping it through good training and a good palate.”

Chef Karl’s camp credentials mean that he’ll be right at home at YMCA Camp Miller, Chef Camp’s HQ. “I’m a YMCA Camp Menogyn alumnus,” he says. “I did canoeing my first year and then went for another four years, working my way up to the long backpacking trips, and absolutely loving it.”

“Food was a major emphasis,” he adds. “One of the things I did as a camper was put extra effort in on the food. So on the trail, [I did] crazy stuff you shouldn’t try to do with a white gas stove, or on a fire!”

At Chef Camp, look for Chef Karl to teach a two-part class bringing together fine cuisine, camp cooking, and breaking down an animal such as a lamb or goat in order to make a variety of fire-cooked treats.

Tickets to Chef Camp are available now!