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Chef Gavin Kaysen Has Built an Odd Collection the Past 20 Years

Chef Gavin Kaysen Has Built an Odd Collection the Past 20 Years: Photo courtesy of Bonjwing Photography

Photo courtesy of Bonjwing Photography

Some might say you’re a glutton for punishment if you choose to GO BACK to a place with some of the coldest winters in the U.S. after living under the sunny skies of California, but for Chef Gavin Kaysen, it’s just in his blood (his very thick blood, apparently).

The former executive chef at El Bizcocho in San Diego (where he was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs) and chef de cuisine of the acclaimed Café Boulud in New York City, returned home to Minneapolis in 2014 to get his wintry fix. Oh, and open what is already one of the city’s best new restaurants (or so says somebody named James Beard, who named Spoon and Stable a finalist.)

“There’s something to be said for how you feel emotionally as one season gives way to the next, when it snows, rains, or is sunny,“ said Kaysen. "I never thought about that growing up here, but coming back, I see that now.”

Bundle up, put on the fire, and read Kaysen’s chilling nine questions, below.


1. What’s an underrated food city and why?
Minneapolis. We have been getting a lot of great press this year in Minneapolis, so it seems to be our year of discovery. But we are still very much under the radar considering how many great places we have.

2. What food/food trend are you tired of?
Food without soul—I know it looks good on the plate, but how does it taste?

3. How do you feel about Yelp?
We have a small team of people who monitor all of the reviews online. We look for consistency in comments, either good or bad. Our goal is to always try and field these issues while they are still in our house, but often that is hard to do. We understand we cannot make everyone happy, but we will try our best to do so no matter what.

4. If your kitchen is burning down, what’s the one gadget you save?
It can all be replaced, but I would have to grab my spoons that I have spent 20 years collecting!

5. Your guilty pleasure food?
Cheetos.

6. If you could cook for one person—who would it be and what would you make them?
I would cook for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I would make him our 60-day dry aged beef.

7. What are five ingredients that are always in your pantry?
Vinegar, salt, Espelette pepper, saba (Editor’s Note: This is similar to balsamic vinegar) and olive oil.

8. What’s the biggest mistake home cooks make?
Not using vinegar—everything needs that pop.

9. What’s the best advice you ever received?
Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.


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