“It was truly an opportunity to finally open my own restaurant,” he said about Caribbean Smokehouse in Stillwater. “People ask why I didn't do it 10 years ago. I wasn't ready.”

Standing off to the side while Café and Bar Lurcat Executive Chef Jordan Swiler prepares to plate the Braised Lamb is a quick finale since the magic of braising the meat has already been done.

Instead of cringe-worthy clichés like lutefisk, cream-based casseroles or Jell-O-whatever-the-hell, The Bachelor Farmer's new chef wants to know what's good and edible from our own forests, fields and shorelines.

The veggie burrito at Book Club seems almost too simple, but so is the “West Coast” style that encompasses the menu.

    Kristin Tyborski is that coveted MVP who can play all the positions, moving gracefully from front of the house to the kitchen and back again without grandstanding.

    Patrick Donelan grew up in a family where everyone cooked, and everyone hunted. “We did everything by hand,” canning the majority of their food, he says, especially sauerkraut.

    The Octopus appetizer at Vann in Spring Park, already the subject of several early reviews of the restaurant, is here to stay. “It was never intended to be on the menu this long,” points out Erik Skaar, the executive chef and owner of the four-month-old, fine-dining establishment on Lake Minnetonka.

    Casablanca's moment of silence started as a way for Chef Youness Bojji to catch his breath. There were 42 people in his original restaurant's tiny dining room and he was the only one in the kitchen.

    Fourteen years ago, a 26-year-old Ben Pratt was fresh off a cooking stint at the fancy Cosmos restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, and ready for his opening night as chef/owner at Ingredients Cafe in White Bear Lake.

    Thirty-five minutes northwest of Minneapolis along I-94, Minnesota's food culture comes into focus as corporate campuses and strip centers give way to the fields of farm country.

    Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening since May 2001 Robert Tewes is on a different stage as chef and owner of Crescendo, his white-tablecloth restaurant in downtown Albert Lea.

    With the farm-to-table mantra still a common refrain and the often-whimsical names of those farms populating many restaurant menus, Scott Graden takes a different tack, one in which he eschews what he sees as marketing tools in favor of simply doing what makes sense for his business.

    Congratulations to Foodservice News' 2017 Top Chefs.

    Modern Farmhouse Cuisine and Civility

    “I've never experienced anything like it,” Gavin Kaysen says about the opening last year. When reservation lines opened, they sold out two months' worth of seats immediately.

    At 19, Angel Luna and two friends came to the U.S. illegally. Luna, who grew up in Veracruz, Mexico, wanted to find steady work in order to send money back to his parents and sisters.

    When Diane Yang heard that famed New York City Chef Gavin Kaysen was returning to his hometown to start a restaurant, she didn't believe it.

    In his role as chef de cuisine at La Belle Vie, Mike DeCamp has been a driving force in the Minneapolis food scene for nearly a decade.

    Since Saint Dinette's opening in June, its 27-year-old chef de cuisine Adam Eaton is having fun building a menu around what he labels “elevated fat-kid food.”

    Joe Rolle, who's been leading the kitchen at Il Foro since its June opening, spent the previous two years at critically acclaimed North Loop restaurant Borough.

    Along with wife Ashleigh Newman, Leonard Anderson has created something quite different in the up-and-coming Payne Avenue neighborhood of St. Paul.

    Thomas Kim's fantasy is to introduce street-style Korean fare to inquisitive Midwesterners who aren't afraid to fall down the rabbit hole.

    Their food, which includes the mini donuts, bison burgers topped with a fried egg and pulled-pork nachos, has been included on some pretty notable national lists

    “It's very humbling, it's very scary, if I can say that,” says Executive Chef Ryan Lund. “I'm always working to live up to Lucia's name and her standards.”

    Lucas Almendinger chose working at W.A. Frost under Leonard Anderson and then Wyatt Evans during his transition from woodworker to chef.