A Pizza Queen, Mr. Hot Dog, a Cupcake Warrior, a Chef of the Good, the Great and the Bizarre and a Nordic Chef Extraordinaire all walk into a bar. And what do you have? Well, you have a bar full of the cream of the crop in the Minnesota culinary scene, of course.
Ann Kim – ‘Pizza Queen’
5557 Xerxes Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Chef Ann Kim has been cooking her whole life, in fact she learned from watching her family members cook when she was little. And while Pizzeria Lola, with all of its copper pizza oven glory, has been open since December 2010, recently it seems like the ‘Pizza Queen’ is getting some serious buzz in the culinary scene in the Twin Cities. She even caught the national attention of Guy Fieri who featured Pizzeria Lola on an episode of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” Her homemade kimchi is to die for and it’s one of the featured ingredients on the Lady ZaZa pizza – a not-to-miss menu item at the pizzeria. Another pie that makes that list is The Sunnyside. It boasts cheese, leeks and you guessed it, eggs sunny side up.
Nate Beck; lover of food, beer and music but hater of ketchup. Beck’s traveling restaurant on wheels causes a ruckus wherever it goes. There is always a line to load up on his Minnesota-grown, natural casing hotdogs or bratdogs. With specialty, homemade wieners, brats, carmelized onions, sauerkraut, relishes and toppings, what’s not to love? The mustard has gained so much popularity that Beck started to produce large batches and bottle them for selling to the public. Nate Beck; a Minnesota culinary icon in the making.
Kevin VanDeraa – ‘Cupcake Warrior’
3338 University Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Driving down University Avenue, you’ll see a big blue coffee cup sticking out of the corner of the Art and Architecture Building and you just know there is something special inside. Recent “Cupcake Wars” Champion, Kevin VanDeraa is most likely inside creating beautiful and tasty concoctions that are one part art and two parts sweet morsels bursting with flavor. Armed with cutesy names like Claire Huxtable, Handle with Carmel and Treehugger, it’s hard to choose which treats to eat at the shop and which ones to take home to share. After winning the coveted grand prize on the Food Network show, VanDeraa walked away with $50,000 and a goal of opening up a second location in St. Paul. For anyone with a sweet tooth, that store can’t open soon enough.
Andrew Zimmern – ‘Chef of the Good, the Great and the Bizarre’
You can follow Andrew on Twitter: @AndrewZimmern
Andrew Zimmern, while he does travel the world to try crazy cuisine from all over on The Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods” show, he is also always someone that is heating up the local food scene right here in Minnesota. When a new restaurant opens up, you can bet that he’ll be there to test it out and write it up. He is pretty active on Twitter, tweeting out suggestions of places to eat, where he’ll be eating and lots more. He recently made a guest appearance on the “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” show to talk about one of his favorite places to grab pizza – Pizzeria Lola. Always closing out the latest issue of Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine with a review, a concern or a food-related article, Zimmern is eager and happy to chat on a local radio or TV show about food. Always at the forefront of Minnesota’s food culture; Andrew Zimmern.
Paul Berglund – ‘Nordic Chef Extraordinaire’
The Bachelor Farmer
50 N 2nd Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401
You know what they say about food that’s “fit for a king,” it must be good. Case in point; earlier this summer, President Obama, his entourage and many supporters dined in style at this one-of-a-kind restaurant that’s getting all sorts of people talking about its magnificent menu. Chef Paul Berglund’s interpretation of “Nordic/German/Scandanavian with-a-twist” cuisine is something for the history books of the Minneapolis food enthusiasts. With a menu that changes with the seasons, you can find anything from Grilled Pork Sausage with Fingerling Potato Salad to Weininleike, Braised Giblets and Oyster Mushrooms. Born and raised in the Midwest, Berglund finds his home at the Bachelor Farmer, where all foodies hope he stays for the long haul.
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Amber Ranzau lives on the edge of Uptown in Minneapolis and is a gal about town. She frequents the local restaurant scene, loves to support new and local businesses, follows the latest and greatest fashion and design trends, and she does all of this while working as an interior designer, spending time with her man, The Specialist, and taking care of her two goldfish Felix and Petunia and their tankmate Huey the Snail. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.