Archive for the ‘Tour de Farm’ Category

“The only constant in life is change.”

05 Jul

François de la Rochefoucauld

One of the most difficult things for me, is to put my thoughts and feelings into words.  I am not a writer.   My feelings are that if you can write, you should, if you can’t you should talk.  Well, if you have any idea of who I am you know this post will be a bit choppy.  I am the latter of the two.

My cooking career has taken me down some very different roads.  I never thought when in culinary school in 1997 that I would get the chance to work for Jim Grell at the Modern Cafe, meet Mike Philips and get a chance to open my own restaurant.  Nor, did I imagine I would get to work with a man that I never heard of; Jim Denavin with Outstanding in the Field who made me realize how much inspiration can do for a person’s soul. Then there was the national attention in the documentary, “Troubled Waters,” by Larkin McPhee and, “In Search of Food,”on the Ovation Network with Barton Seaver.  I never imagined that I would be talking to people like Andrew Zimmern, and then talking to the folks behind the fundraising efforts for the James Beard Foundation with the Celebrity Chef Tour.  I never even thought for a second I would ever get to do any of that and along the way get to meet so many amazing cooks, chefs, waiters, dishwashers, customers, friends and more importantly the farmers that are my true inspiration with their thankless hours, time and devotion to such a humble way to make a living.  This is starting to sound like an acceptance speech at some awards show now, so I will stop.  But I never imagined any of it.  I just wanted to cook. (P.S.  That was a huge thanks to all those people up there, and there are so many more to mention that have helped me get here.  You know who you are.)

But now, things are different.  I have cooked, and I love cooking to this day.  The craft and the simplicity of it sometimes just blows my mind.  What I desire now in my career is change… to challenge myself in a whole new way.  I love teaching.  I have been teaching in my restaurant, at Tour de Farm, at speaking engagements, at charity events, in all that I do, I feel that I am slowly starting to understand that I have the ability to get people to start to understand the importance of food and helping them have conversations about what is important with food.  Let me be the first to say that I am not always right, nor does the way I do things and the way that I look at food make sense to everyone.  I am ok with that.  But I know some people are not.  I talk about food because I love food.  It is who I am.

So, now that some of you have just read all of that and rolled your eyes, well, you can stop reading, cause you are not going to understand the rest.  If you don’t like what I do, what I have to say, how I make my choices, that is just fine with me.  You can stop reading and move on.  If you feel that you need to comment on my blog, or other blogs anonymously and take cheap shots at what I say or do, well, that is your choice.  I am ok with it and wish you well. (Whew, I have been wanting to say that for a long time).

Here it is.  Yes, I have accepted the job of Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Manager at the Minnesota Valley Country club.  Yes, Corner Table is still open and my amazing kitchen crew of Chad, Thomas, Dan and Kyle are still going to be cooking everyone dinner from now on and doing just as an amazing job as they have done for the last year.  I have to say, I eat their food, and they are damm fine cooks.  Yes, all the great staff at CT is stepping up.  They are a talented bunch of professionals and I would not have accepted this position if I did not believe in each and every one of them to keep CT going on the course that I have started.

My choice to make this move did not come easy.  The underlying thing was the opportunity to work on another level of local and sustainable food. The ability to bring this message and this style of food into this location is really a continuation of what they are already doing at MVCC.  Just to give you an idea,  some of the things that we are working on are establishing a composting program for the kitchen and weighing the pros and cons of doing it ourselves on property.  We are looking at all areas of food, including our staff meals.  We’re figuring out what will the food be like.  I have an idea where we are going, but at the same time, this is a work in progress just as Corner Table was when I started.  Will it be local?  YES.  Will it be sustainable? YES.  Will it have burgers, fries, salads, steaks, chops, fish… sure… will the food on the course reflect this change… YES.

Even now, as I type this after working out there for almost three weeks, I get excited at all the potential and all the ability that we have to share our vision of local and sustainable food to all the members. (By the way, the members and the staff all have been very welcoming to me during this transition time and I thank them for that.)

I had no idea in the beginning of the year when I started talking about Tour de Farm and the idea of getting local food in places that it had not really been known for, that it would mean I was going to go to those places too.  Yes, there are a lot of questions that remain.  There are a lot of things that will be learned along the way.  Yes, I will be working on them. Tweeting and talking about them.  If you are interested in learning more about it, keep listening.  If you really just have a bunch of speculation and “what if”s” to talk about.  Well, go for it.  If you have questions, ask them, and I will try and keep everyone up to date on things, but if you don’t hear from me for a bit, just understand I might be teaching or maybe even planting a garden… and sure as hell doing a lot of cooking.

Hey, Tour de Farm with Stewart Woodman at Axdahl’s farm… is soon

09 Jun

This is the behind the scenes that very few people get to see at the farm, the amount of land that is being managed and the planning that goes into what most people think of as “farming”.  Well, there is more work that most could imagine to get you those great tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweetcorn that Axdahls are known for.


If you are wondering what Stewart and Heidi have up their sleeve.  Start here… then… here

Better get tickets here.….you do NOT want to miss this.


If you have ever been up to stillwater you may recognize this location.  But what most people don’t know is all the work that goes into the behind the scenes of this farm that has been providing food for the Twin Cities for over 30 years.  Learn a bit more about the history of the farm.


This is something that you see at the farm and around farmers markets, this sign.  Take a look here and see what goes into getting a making great Minnesota grown food.


Looking at all the work that is going into this green house you would never know that the growing season for the farm is about a full one month behind.  Compared to our amazing early season last year, this year is a very large wake up call for local foods.  We do live in a climate where seasons truly affect what is grown.  You thought last year was interesting, this year is going to be even more interesting.




Here is the first picnic of the season.

25 Apr

Have you heard of a “chick-nic?”  Well, that is what we are going to have in the morning in July.  These are some of the women that make our city a great food town. Come and meet them all in one big breakfast on the farm.

Click here and get all the details.

Michelle Gayer, Solveig Tofte, Sheela Namakkal, Molly Hermann @ Riverbend Farm
July 31 : 10am (YES, we are doing breakfast.)




And now a word from Tour de Farm.

22 Apr

This time of year, a number of you have been waiting to hear what we are going to do this year with our dinners.  Well, you are the first to know.  Here you go:

More announcements to come.  Click below and find out what the first dinner is.

Tour de Farm 2011


Menu (roughly) for New Years Eve @tourdefarm + Corner Table

28 Dec

SO, by now, I hope you have heard that Tour de Farm is doing a New Years Eve dinner at a beautiful old barn in Glenco, MN.

We are amazed by how lucky we are to be able to celebrate the New Year and the fabulous food being grown & raised in Minnesota.

Getting ready for you!

We are going to start the night off with some warm mulled wine and hot apple cider.  This will be a great time to get to know some of your dinner friends and mingle a bit while learning more about the farm.

Star Thrower farm makes amazing cheese as well as some amazing Icelandic lamb meat.  To learn more about the heard they have just check out the website.

We are going to start the night off with some very warm heriloom pumpkin soup using pumkin from our friends at Tangletown Gardens.

Next we will be having some great sausage that we are making this week at CT.  We are using herbs that were harvested by Debra from Star Thrower that they grew on thier property this year as well as garlic.

The next couple of courses, well, I don’t think I want to tell you everything right now, but there will be cheese, lamb, caramelized Brussels sprouts, lamb bacon, cream, and the dessert if going to have honey and ricotta of course some great cheeses from the hard work that Debra and Scott put in everyday.

The locals think you should wear wool, a lot of it.

If you can’t join us for the Tour de Farm Event,  make a reservation for dinner at Corner Table.  We are doing a three course dinner for $65 with wine pairings.   Please call 612-823-0011 for reservations.

We can’t wait to spend New Year’s Eve with you!

Guess what I am doing on New Years Eve – 2010

13 Dec


 In a beautiful 100-year old (heated) barn at Star Thrower Farm in Glencoe, MN Scott Pampuch will prepare a 5-course dinner with wine pairings from Solo Vino for the final evening of 2010!

Itinerary:        5:00pm **Bus will load at Corner Table;

                                Bus will depart at 5:30pm sharp

                                7:00pm Reception at Star Thrower Farm

                                8:00pm 5-Course Dinner, Music + New Years Eve Toast

                               12:30am Bus departs Star Thrower Farm;

                               Arriving at Corner Table at 1:30am

What to Wear: Although the barn will have heaters, please dress warm. Layers and Minnesota winter wear – hats, scarves, and mittens – with warm boots are suggested over sequin dresses and stilettos. Blankets may be helpful for warmth as well!

Still in need holiday gifts? We have a bunch of farmy items!

  • Tour de Farm t-shirts ($20), tank tops ($20), chef whites ($35)
  • Corner Table Restaurant Gift Certificates (any amount),
  • Cooking Class Gift Certificates ($100-$150),
  • Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers
  • book ($35) – come get it signed by Scott!

Tour De Farm Tickets Now Available Online

17 May

” Hey, Me and the girls here wanted to let you know that  Tour de Farm tickets are available online

Tour de Farm 2010 Tickets on Sale Now at Corner Table

04 Apr

Saturday April 3rd brought the kickoff of the Tour de Farm 2010 season. We started with an open house where folks could come in eat come food, get more info about the events and buy tickets. (Yes, we sold a lot of them! You might want to get yours soon!) We were lucky enough to be joined by Dave & Flo from Cedar Summit, Scott & Debra from Star Thrower and Greg & Mary from Riverbend joined us for some eats and chatting.

Tickets for the events will be available for purchase exclusively at Corner Table for the next few weeks. (Yes, you still get a FREE beer with purchase!)

Did you get your ticket, yet?

Mm, free beer tastes better…


Outstanding in the Field + Tour de Farm 2010

27 Mar

The inspiration for Tour de farm was Outstanding in the Field. After working with them back in 2008 we came up with our local version of this and have been in contact with our friends Jim and Leah ever since. Today, March 27th, the tickets went on sale for the July 31st dinner at Star Thrower Farm with Chef Mike Philips. Better get tickets, they are going fast.

Now the big news: Tour de farm dates and chef’s are set and the email is going out very shortly to announce all the information. So, you better get on the list. This is your last warning. Serious. Why should you be on the list? To get to buy tickets & get information first! Get on the Tour de Farm email list, now!