Many familiar faces made this year's list of James Beard Award nominees.
Restaurateurs Michelle Gayer of "Salty Tart" and Jack Riebel of "Butcher & the Boar" - both in Minneapolis - will go head to head in the category "Best Chef: Midwest."
Local luminary Andrew Zimmern is nominated in two categories for his show "Bizarre Foods America" (Television Program, On Location and Outstanding Personality/Host
Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine are nominated in the "Video Webcast, On Location" category for their web series "The Perennial Plate" which got its start in Minnesota but this past year went on a world tour.
Food writer Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is nominated once again for her lusciously written food reviews. This time, it's for her profile of LoveTree Farmstead in Mpls/St.Paul magazine. Here's a sample to give you some flavour:
When Mary shapes her individual cheeses, she brings them to her cave to age. (The whey from the cheese production is also blended into the guard dogs' food, perhaps strengthening the dogs' attachment to their flock.) Many of Mary's cheeses are pure sheep's milk, but some are a blend of sheep's milk and her outdoor-pastured cows' milk. The cows are descended from a Scottish Highland-Angus-Jersey cross and are majestic animals with soaring horns that make them look like bulls, but they're actually milkable ladies. In the cave, the young cheeses are hand-rubbed--a treatment that encourages a rind to form on the outside--and are then flipped every day or so, sometimes for weeks, sometimes for many months, depending on Mary's own personal sense of when a cheese is ready. It is inside this humid, refrigerator-like, woods-connected silo of a cave that the cheeses become what they will become.
What they become is absolutely unique, a true American original cheese unlike anything that has ever been made, or tasted, on earth. Her Trade Lake Cedar looks like a rock or mushroom; the rind tastes earthy and ashy, an umami non-fruit world of hay and mineral, whereas the interior is tangy and chalky and meadow-like. Her dry Gabrielson Lake tastes a little like Parmigiano-Reggiano, but is freaked with little crystals of concentration and tiny red lace points of mold.