Not very long ago, you couldn’t have mentioned the terms “Twin Cities” and “world-class cooking” in the same mouthful. But no more, thanks almost entirely to one man: Tim McKee. Over the past decade, he and partner Josh Thoma have slowly but surely (think Midwestern work ethic) built an empire; six award-winning restaurants later, McKee garnered himself the accolade of Best Chef Midwest from the James Beard Foundation—the top award in the industry—in 2009. As if this weren’t enough, the news came on the heels of McKee’s newest venture, Sea Change, the much-anticipated reopening of the Guthrie restaurant space (formerly Cue), a highly ambitious, all-sustainable seafood emporium. By all accounts, Chef McKee is having a very good year. But so are you, fellow eater, as you tuck into a quivering raw scallop, no longer relegated to the defense of our local culinary riches, nor your choice of the fish instead of the chicken.
“Gavin has energy, talent and incredible motivation,” says Daniel Boulud. “He is very well trained and eager to embrace classic French cooking.” This makes him a superb choice for Café Boulud, known for its French-American cuisine. He also has drive and courage, demonstrated by his eagerness to take on the famously rigorous Bocuse d’Or competition, a sort of culinary Olympics held annually in Lyon. The competition experience brought Gavin and Daniel together, once again, as the young chef turned to Boulud as a mentor figure who would help him to navigate the French culinary world.
Kaysen arrives in New York with more than a few accolades under his belt. During the time that he worked as chef de cuisine of El Bizcocho (Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA) he made his first appearance as guest chef at the James Beard House (2005), was awarded Best Chef, Critics Choice, by San Diego Magazine and took first place on the US National team competing for the Bocuse d’Or in Chicago (2006) and went on to represent the US team at the 2007 Bocuse d’Or in Lyon France. He has been named none of Food & Wine magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs (2007) and competed in the Next Iron Chef series. 2008 he won the James Beard Rising Star award.
20011 he was chosen by Chef Daniel Boulud and Chef Thomas Keller to coach the Bocuse d’Or US Team. Originally from Bloomington, MN, Gavin worked as Chef at San Diego’s Rancho Bernardo Inn for over three years. Previously, he gained international experience at l’Auberge de Lavaux in Lausanne Switzerland and under Marco Pierre White at London’s l’Escargot. He moved to New York in November 2007 and had Café Boulud’s Executive Chef’s baton is passed to him officially in mid at the end of that year.
As the co-creator, host and contributing producer of Travel Channel's hit series, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World, he travels the world, exploring the food in its own terroir, wherever it's found. From restaurants to jungle markets, it's all about discovering the authentic experience.
In May 2010, Zimmern won the James Beard Award for Outstanding TV Food Personality. His online series, Toyota Venza's Appetite for Life, won an Effie in 2010. Bizarre Foods also took home two CableFax awards in 2009, one for Best Television Program: Food, another for Best Online Extras for Bizarre Foods in the Kitchen.
Bizarre Foods received high praise from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Outside Magazine and other national publications. He has appeared on Live with Regis and Kelly, NBC's Today show, the Food Network's Best Of and Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Zimmern is also a columnist at Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine and his writing appears in numerous national publications including Food Arts, Restaurant Business, Delta Sky Magazine and Bon Appetit.
Andrew has served as SuperTarget's meal adventure guide, sharing his passion for ethnic foods with supermarket customers around the country. He is the international spokesman for Travel Leaders (formerly Carlson Wagonlit Travel) and Elite Destination Homes. He's also the star of Toyota's online web series, "Appetite for Life."
Andrew's first book, The Bizarre Truth, was released from Broadway Books on September 8, 2009.
Alex returned to Minneapolis and opened Restaurant Alma in 1999. He has been able to advance his commitment to organic, sustainably produced food at Alma and has received numerous accolades in the process.
Alex opened Brasa Premium Rotisserie in 2007, also committed to organic, sustainably produced food.
The restaurant’s success is a tribute to Becker, who before opening 112 Eatery, cut his culinary chops at some of the Twin Cities’ most well-respected restaurants, including Café/Bar Lurcat, Campiello, D’Amico Cucina and the former Lowry’s. Becker is a top “graduate” of the informal, local “chefs’ academy” known as D’Amico and Partners; the restaurant management company that has helped nurture and develop so many of the Midwest ’s best culinary talents. Becker credits D’Amico’s acclaimed Executive Chef Jay Sparks for being a significant influence on his current skill and success as a chef.
Becker joined D’Amico Cucina in 1994 working quickly to the position of sous chef. From there he transferred to Campiello, where he served as head chef, running the restaurant’s kitchen for almost five years. In 2002, Becker opened Café/Bar Lurcat as its executive chef, running the kitchen for two years, before venturing out on his own and opening 112 Eatery in 2005.
Chef Becker also credits the early training he received at former Minneapolis Uptown establishment, Lowry’s with giving him the foundation he would use to flourish in later jobs. Becker joined Lowry’s in 1989 straight out of high school, beginning as a line cook and working his way to head chef in 1992, a position he held for almost two years before joining D’Amico Cucina.
Becker’s interest in fine food began while he was just a child. In the ‘70s his mother worked at two of the Twin Cities’ top restaurants – the Northstar Hotel’s Rosewood Room and the IDS Tower Orion Room. Her work introduced Becker to both fine food and the restaurant scene at an early age. He credits his father, an abstract painter, with inspiring his food style and presentation skills. In addition, frequent childhood trips to New York City, dining at culinary standouts, such as TriBeCa’s landmark, Odeon restaurant, left a lasting impression on the budding chef.