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All the Latest News on People Going Places

Brenda Langton

President and CEO of Hospitality MN Dan McElroy has alerted his board that he will retire next summer (2018). McElroy also serves as executive vice president of the Minnesota Restaurant Association. McElroy told us at the Upper Lakes Foods show that he was approaching that significant birthday that made him realize that he needed to get his house in order by digitalizing his record and CD collection. There’s travel and a few other adventures in store for his retirement as well. And we suspect he'll keep up on the industry.

Lisa (Hanson) Sarazin, one of Foodservice News’ 10 Top Chefs when she was running her own restaurant, Mona, has shifted gears and is now heading up culinary operations at The Marsh, a fitness, health and spa in Minnetonka. The restaurant is open to the public as well as members. 

Congratulations to the 2017 recipients of the Sue Zelickson Women Who Really Cook grant awards:  Sarah Fay from Good Thunder, Minnesota  (South Central College); Danielle Gerjets, Coon Rapids (MN Art Institute International and second-time winner); Randa Hak, Eden Prairie (Normandale Community College); Angela Nooraga, St. Paul, (Le Cordon Bleu); Lucy Ramquist, River Falls, Wisconsin (U of Wisconsin, Stout); Jennifer Shaffner, St. Paul (St. Paul College); Jamie Albee, Andover (Le Cordon Bleu); Mary Albrecht, Eagan (St. Paul College); Christianna Danielson, Coon Rapids (Art Inst. International); Elaine DeLima, Fargo, North Dakota (Le Cordon Bleu); and Nicole Dittirch, Courtland (South Central College). The young women were presented with the grants at the May Women Who Really Cook meeting. For their pictures and more on the event, check out our website at foodservicenews.net.

After spending 14 years in marketing with Davanni’s, Tim Huberty has restarted his marketing research company, Huberty Research. Huberty worked at several advertising agencies, including Leo Burnett, Fallon and Campbell Mithun, before starting his own company, Huberty Marketing Research in 1998. In 2003, client Davanni’s asked him to become its director of marketing. Now officially retired from Davanni’s, he's back running his own firm. 

The Vollrath Company, a leading foodservice manufacturer of equipment and smallwares, has acquired Belleco, a premier manufacturer of conveyor toasters and ovens that's located in Saco, Maine. The addition of these USA- made products enhances Vollrath’s existing portfolio and provides its channel partners and customers more choices from a single source of equipment and smallwares. Belleco's products will continue to be sold and manufactured in Saco; however, by the end of the year, all operations will transition to Wisconsin, and once that transition is completed, the products will be sold under the Vollrath brand.

The restaurant at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, previously called Mill City Café, has been re-conceptualized with an entirely new menu and look by D’Amico Catering. The Bushel & Peck name and concept are a tie-in to the Mill City Farmers Market, which runs year-round at the museum. Menu development was led by D’Amico Catering Chef Josh Brown. A branded food truck will roll out later this spring. D’Amico & Partners has operated the Mill City Café and event space since the Minnesota Historical Society opened the museum in 2003.

Is it duck, duck, goose or duck, duck, gray? If you’re a Minnesotan, the name of the classic kids’ game is not black and white—it’s gray. So in honor of that tradition, the Madison Restaurant Group is opening a restaurant in the historic Lowry Building, called Gray Duck Tavern. At press time, the restaurant was set to open in late May. Chef Donald Gonzalez created a menu inspired by comfort food from around the world. Amanda Maday of Studio Grey, and designer of sister restaurant Handsome Hog, created a design that will compliment the iconic building. The main dining room seats 122, with 28 seats in an outdoor patio. The opening general manager is Aaron Johnson, formerly of Strip Club Meat and Fish, Town Talk Diner and Tria, along with assistant general manager Peter Sebastian who also created the beverage program. 

Vino in the Valley, an outdoor wine and dining experience located in the Rush River Valley of western Wisconsin, kicked off its 11th season on Mother’s Day weekend. Since the vineyard is not yet producing, Vino in the Valley purchases regionally grown grapes through the Minnesota Winegrower’s Cooperative. Cannon River Winery created three wines for its private label: Moonlight Whisper (a white featuring La Crescent grapes), Lost Creek Sunset (a blush crafted from a blend of La Crescent, Edelweiss and Frontenac grapes), and Rush River Red (a medium-bodied red wine made of Sabrevois grapes). In addition to their private label wines, the wine list includes wines from all over the world.

 One of the best kept culinary secrets in the Twin Cities is the Les Dames d'Escoffier fundraiser, Dame It. The food is top notch and the silent auction has a small bookstore worth of cookbooks to bid on in themed packages at an affordable price—even though the proceeds are going to scholarships and you shouldn't worry about price. This year's event, featuring all women chefs, was held at the Loring Social in April. Attendees sampled food and wine from a variety of local restaurants and wineries, including Lina Goh's Zen Box, Brenda Langton's Spoonriver (pictured above), Kim Bartmann's Red Stag Supperclub  and Rustica Bakery. Fans of Hola Arepa's Christina Nguyen had a chance to taste two of her Vietnamese dishes for her upcoming restaurant, Hai Hai. In addition to awarding culinary scholarships to young women, the group supports Urban Roots, for its work connecting St. Paul youth to gardening and cooking. 

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