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An April Anniversary Special

My parents will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary in June, and like the amazing daughter I am (Mom and Dad, please don’t dispute this), I’m thinking of ways to celebrate this milestone, especially as our whole family will be together, quite fittingly, for a wedding.

After more than five years together, my fiancé, Chad, and I are tying the knot in a beachside gazebo ceremony in Mexico just two days before my parents’ anniversary. We’re already plotting to surprise them with a sunset catamaran cruise along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan peninsula and to embarrass them with a photo slideshow at dinner that will include a picture of my dad circa 1983 in the shortest jean shorts imaginable. Other ideas are most welcome, just email me at lmichaels@foodservicenews.net.

Anniversaries have been on my mind a lot as this issue’s come together—not altogether surprising considering two of the main stories I reported and wrote this month stemmed from 50th anniversaries. 

The American Culinary Federation Minneapolis Chefs Chapter got its start in 1967 as the Midwest Chef’s Society and today is going strong with 160 professional and student members, along with 60 supporting vendors. This month’s main cover story has all the details, but new chapter president Gary Hjellming has some exciting initiatives in the works to continue the ACF’s role as both a resource for education and industry connections.

Between the Sorensen and Ryan families, 13 family members are involved in Upper Lakes Foods. Twelve of them are pictured here.

Family is the name of the game at Upper Lakes Foods, the Cloquet-based company that’s marking 50 years as a family-owned food distributor. It hasn’t always been easy, particularly as the business has moved from one generation to the next, but as you’ll read on pages 18 and 19, the Ryan and Sorensen families are setting themselves up for a successful future.

Congratulations also go out to DJ Sikka, who is marking 30 years in restaurant real estate, having bought Restaurant Brokers of Minnesota in 1987 after being mentored by Gary Benson and Bob Mecay, former Calhoun Beach Club owners and real estate developers. 

And it’s 25th anniversary celebration time over at Minneapolis-based B+W Specialty Coffee. Known for its small-batch coffee roasting, B+W also offers espresso and brewing equipment, specialty items, and anything a barista might need. 

Small batch and craft beverages are all the rage right now, and craft soda in particular has found its foothold as consumers are moving away from the high-fructose sugars and artificial sweeteners found in the usual pop suspects. As Nancy Weingartner Monroe details in her “Crafty Sales” story on page  12, these sodas are being made locally and aren’t just in grocery stores but area breweries, restaurants and cafés. Cheers!

Though we’re still, sadly, a few months away from football season, US Foods is bringing some action to U.S. Bank Stadium with its Food Fanatics Live culinary expo, which will be held right on the field Tuesday, May 3. 

Among the highlights is Scoop, a showcase of first-to-market and premium products exclusive to US Foods. The main stage will feature several local chefs, along with Minnesota Food Fanatic Chef John Byrne, who partners with US Foods customers to take their businesses to the next level. Over in the Epicurean Experience area, local organizations such as the Minnesota Restaurant Association and Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association will be on hand, and restaurateur Luke Shimp of Red Cow and Red Rabbit will share his experience using US Foods’ business solutions. This is the first-ever foodservice event at the stadium and it’s not to be missed. 

Now I have to get back to sorting through old photos of my parents. I have to embarrass them equally, and I know there’s one of my mom in her prom dress somewhere ... 

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