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Creative Ideas, Plus More Winners

Craft & Crew’s dog-friendly locations—Stanley’s Bar Room, The Howe Daily Kitchen & Bar, The Block SLP, and Pub 819 — have served a whopping 30,000 meals to dogs. To celebrate the restaurants offered deals in late January, including their “Pawtio’s” three-course menu for dogs, featuring Turkey Muttloaf, Pup Cream, Dog Beer and Yappy Hour. In addition, 50-cents per dog entree was donated back to Pause For Paws.



Chef Tim McCarty of the Mayo Foundation House in Rochester received first place, chef par excellence honors, at the 32nd annual Taste of Elegance pork culinary competition with his dish, Cheeky Belly. 

The event, hosted by the Minnesota Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff, took place Monday, January 27, at the Hilton Minneapolis. The Taste of Elegance showcases the versatility of pork, the creativity of chefs, and promotes the inclusion of pork on restaurant menus.

 McCarty received $1,500 in prize money. 

Seven chefs competed in this year’s competition. Chef Shawn Lowman of Quarter Deck in Nisswa was selected for second place, taking home the $1,000 prize, along with $750 in prize money for winning the People’s Choice Award, voted on throughout the night by event attendees. Chef Francis O’Brien at Milwaukee Road - The Depot, won Best Evening Table Display, a $250 prize. Third place honors and $750 went to executive chef at the Hilton Minneapolis, Michael Beck. 

Taste of Elegance judges included: Chef Charlie Torgerson; 2019 Taste of Elegance Chef Par Excellence, Chef Charles Plaetz at Fielder’s Choice Tap and Table in Northfield and Auggie Austreng, co-owner Bleu Cuisine Catering and Consulting.

A 52-page, complimentary Taste of Elegance cookbook featuring the participating chefs’ pork recipes is available online at www.mnpork.com/how-to-cook-pork/taste-of-elegance.

 Competing chefs were:

Chef Michael Beck, Hilton Minneapolis;

Chef Damon Holter, Croix Valley Food, River Falls, Wisconsin;

Chef Shawn Lowman, Quarter Deck, Nisswa;

Chef Tim McCarty, Mayo Foundation House, Rochester;

Chef Francis O’Brien, Milwaukee Road - The Depot, Minneapolis;

Chef John Van House, Grand Casinos, Hinckley; and

Chef Matt Vansgard, Brio, Andover.


Luke Derheim and David Benowitz of Craft & Crew Hospitality, who were up for Outstanding Restaurateur at the Charlies in February, won a different sort of honor. The business partners held the winning ticket to the Charlies drawing at the Afterparty. Their price was a 2-night stay at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, plus a $1,000 gift card, compliments of Blodgett/NorthStar/Pitco. Included in the package from the Bellagio were round-trip limo transportation to and from the Las Vegas airport and dinner for two up to $350. And to prove they’re nice guys, they said they’d be taking their wives with them.


First place winner Candice Gumm from Appleton, Wis.

Candice Gumm of Appleton, Wisconsin, was the winner in the Dairy Queen 2020 Iron Tip Competition. She was awarded a $1,500 cash prize and commemorative plaque from Minneapolis-based subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

Iron Tip  is the quick-service brand’s biennial cake decorating competition for cake artists employed by Dairy Queen stores. Nearly 450 DQ cake decorators from across the globe entered this year’s competition. The competition challenges the cake decorators to continue to improve their skills, which then in turn provides incredible designs to Dairy Queen guests. 

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