Now in its ninth year, the Minnesota Cooks program (www.minnesotacooks.net) at the State Fair is poised again to host a celebration about the relationships between premier Minnesota chefs and cooks, local farmers, and consumers with a full day of demonstrations, discussions, and sampling of delicious, sustainable cuisine. The program will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, and will continue with eight hourly presentations. All shows take place on the Minnesota Cooks Stage in Carousel Park, just south of the Grandstand.
Minnesota Cooks brings together those who value and support our sustainable food system: farmers, consumers, and chefs. Onstage, these chefs create delicious dishes using fresh Minnesota grown ingredients supplied by local farmers. As they prepare their creations, emcees JD Fratzke of The Strip Club Meat & Fish and Mary Lahammer of tpt will engage the chefs and a taster panel of farmers and local celebrities in lively and meaningful discussions about their farming practices and food philosophies. At the end of each demonstration, the panel, as well as fairgoers, will sample the mouthwatering, farm fresh fare.
"I'm very proud of what this program has accomplished. We've been in lockstep with consumers' increasing concern about where their food comes from and who produces it," said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President and creator of Minnesota Cooks. "We're pleased to educate about not only where to purchase these products, including restaurants and retailers, but also the community connection that purchasing Minnesota grown, farm-fresh foods brings about."
2011 farm/restaurant pairings:
•Truman Olson (Chowgirls Killer Catering) & Smude's Sunflower Oil, Jeffrey Lundmark (Domacin Restaurant & Winebar) & Shepherd's Way Farms.
•Nina Wong (ChinDian Café) & Prairie Pride Farm, Bryce Lamb (Söntés) & Marshall Farms.
•Lucia Watson (Lucia's Restaurant, Wine Bar & To Go) & Encore Farm, Tom Hanson (Duluth Grill) & 4 Quarters Holdings.
•Ian Pierce (128 Café) & Star Thrower Farm, Shane Wichtendahl (Arrowwood Resort) & Doraisamy Elk Farm.
•Paul Lynch (FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar) & Red Lake Nation Fisheries, James Winberg & Mike Brown (Travail) & Au Bon Canard Foie Gras.
•Craig Sharp (Terra Waconia) & ElmBrink Farm, Tiffany Haag & Matt Jossart (Zellas) & Loon Organics.
The 12-month Minnesota Cooks calendar will continue its tradition of debuting at the event. The publication features photography and stories about the relationships these farmers and chefs share, along with recipes. For the duration of the Fair, it will be available for free at Minnesota Farmers Union's building at 1635 Dan Patch Avenue.
Minnesota Cooks is presented by Minnesota Farmers Union receives major sponsorship from Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. For more information about Minnesota Cooks, please visit the website at www.minnesotacooks.net or contact Bruce Miller of Minnesota Farmers Union at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-470-5438.