Remember the before times.

08 Sep

UPDATE: September 2020.

There is so much to be said about the last 6 months.  I am not the one to be saying it, I am just providing an update.

I will be available to cook for you and your friends in a couple different ways.   If you are looking for private meals, catering or just looking for some new ideas around your kitchen, lets connect.

More to come here regarding.

“I believe we have a responsibility to respect the craft that has come before us and the land that sustains us. I am driven by the opportunity to deliver a sense of place on every plate. By sourcing and cooking locally and seasonally, we can evoke our surroundings, our local farms and all they provide, with a single, perfect meal.”

The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change

08 Mar

Ok, I could get all philosophical about the restaurant scene in the Twin Cities right now, we know that people love to speculate and talk TOOOOO much about what might, what could, and what will happen, and then when it all does, they want to speculate on how right or wrong it the changes have made the restaurant scene.

But, I won’t.   The reason for posting here, and reviving this outdated blog,  is that it has become for me a place to mark milestones,  I don’t strive to write weekly, monthly, or heck, I don’t have a calendar reminder to tell me to put up a post.   When it feels right, I write.

 Saying ‘goodbye’ to the Modern Cafe

” The Modern Cafe is looking for a sous chef”  –  That is what started it all.  In the Star Tribune, I read a help wanted add.  I was looking for a job, which, y the very nature of where I was looking for a job, should tell you how much I had to learn about the restaurant industry at that time.  I went there, checked it out, and called for an interview.   The story has some funny parts, but that is for sitting around and talking, not this post.

This is about THANKS.  Thanks to Patty and Jim Grell for all the years of teaching, coaching, eating, drinking, and believing in me.   Simple as that.

When I started, I had no idea what it took to work in a restaurant, let alone run one.  They taught me more in a year, than I ever learned in school. I look back at the Modern as my “COLLEGE DAYS”  It was very much a fraternity, that in the end, I realized was more about a family.  Everyone that was there, as they moved in and out, staff, vendors, farmers, customers, they all had that connection to that moment in my life.

I would cook with Jim and we would talk about anything but food, his choice, and all I wanted to talk about was food.  I wondered what the hell am I learning from this guy, and then it would happen.  I would make something, and I was able to replicate what he did, with out even knowing how I learned it.  (not as good of course)  Then he would spend more time running the business and working the art scene in NE, getting the name out there, working with the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization and he would not be around cooking as much, and I wanted to have him teach me more.  He would bounce back and forth to the kitchen sometimes, prepping in the basement, which sometimes ended up wrestling on the concrete basement floor (he wrestled in high school, something I never knew at first, but learned VERY QUICKLY)  He would come in at 3 pm and say that he was making the special tonight, and would change a bunch of stuff, he would also yell at me for food cost and then order in sushi grade tuna, show me a special and then tell me to make it work.  He never stopped teaching me to cook, it was just not in a classroom sort of way, or a demo, if it did not break me, I learned.

Patty and I worked together in a different way, it was business and the team and bouncing back and forth of what was Jim up to that day.  The one memory that sticks in my mind was working in the early morning hours in the basement with Patty when she was baking desserts.  We both had just been working with music on, getting ready for the day, nothing real crazy, just another day.  It was a great thing that I learned, sometimes you just shut out the outside world and focus on the food.  Focus on the preparation for the day and get your mise right.  A lot happened in that basement, great food, laughs, fist fights, gnocchi, and pot roast all happened in that basement.   That day happened to be Sept. 11th.

Everyone that worked at the Modern, had very different experiences, however, the constant was you two.  Patty and Jim, started cooking, washing dishes, waiting tables, and doing everything when they stated.  Then are moving on after teaching so many what the restaurant business is about; food, community, fun, and doing what you love.

Patty and Jim, I can’t say thank you enough.


Congratulations to CT.

13 Jun

When I was making a decisions to branch out of the Corner Table life that I had lived for almost 7 years, I had many mixed feelings.  What was I doing?  This statement rang in my head and heart as well as I heard it from a number of very close friends.  Well, the one thing that gave me a moment of peace, was a man named Thomas.

I met Thomas because of his wife Lori, she impressed me with her service at an event at the Walker years ago.  I approached her some time later at a Tour de Farm dinner that we did at the Walker and told her that if she ever needed a job, to give me a call.  She got service.  What I learned when she did call later and start to work at CT, that not only did she, but so did her very soft spoken and humble husband Thomas.


One night, Lori had some friends of hers come into the restaurant and eat, and Thomas ended up at the table and ate at CT for what I think might have been the first time.  Probably, random plates of food, when he would come and pick Lori up after work, and when we talked, he kept saying “…..i used to cook, but got out of it for a number of reasons..”

If my memory severs me correct, I said something to the affect, that ….”..if he ever wanted to come and just cook, hang out here and there, he would be welcome…”  I don’t know that I have ever said words more important in my professional career.  He did, shortly there after start coming in and helping out, or bailing me out, more often than not.  (Thank you #1)

(Thank you #2) Happened a number of times during all the TDF escapades.  Sometimes it was helping at events, sometimes it was holding down the fort at CT, sometimes it was just putting up with all my chaos in the kitchen of trying to run a restaurant, cook, and well, everything else that we did in the time that he was “..just helping and hanging out..”

Back to leaving CT and then selling to Chenny and Nick.  They both have years of restaurant experience and “get it”  I found Chenny through the amazing Gordon.  Quite simple a lovely man, that has a wealth of knowledge and well, when I told him I was looking for a server, he had his sister come in, I fed her and gushed because, damm, when you need a server, you need a server.  I think she agreed to work there, before I even asked.  Then along came Nick.  A man who shared my love of a turntable, a glass of wine, and about 3-4 hours of talk about the industry that we are in after a 10 hour shift in that said industry.  So, there you have it.  A very short discussion about how the rest of the pieces happened.  (as restaurants go, there is a lot more to that but, there is no turntable, bottle of wine and time to talk about it.)


Finally, when all of the conversations started to come together of me moving on and Nick and Chenny taking over the CT I went to Thomas and asked, could he do it. Could he?  Hell yes he could, the real question was would he?  Did he have the desire to come back into a kitchen full time.  He agreed and the rest was up to Nick and Thomas.  At that point, there was a bit of me that was “OK” with not driving to CT every morning.

I was ok with it because I met a very humble cook that taught me about food by just being in his presence and watching him work.  He was a guy “I wanted to cook with”  a guy who “got it”.  A cook, that wanted to be called by his name and not a title. A cook that could make a french pastry as well as butcher a side of pork.

episode 2 download 330

#3 thank you.   Thomas, thank you.  I am a better cook because of things you taught me, the time we talked and for carrying on what I always wanted CT to be: a great restaurant, serving great food, with great people.


Bottom line, Congratulations to Thomas, Nick and Chenny.


Keep up the good work, I might stop in one night and sit at the bar, and talk music, eat a plate, and share a glass of wine.





Photo credit goest to: Kris Hase , Courtney Perry, the last one; I took.




This day, that day, which day? How about everyday.

13 May

We all know about Earth Day, right?  We all know about 100 days of Real Food.  What about 21 days?  The next 21 days starting on Friday can be the

podone_imagebeginning of starting a new habit. Well, maybe that is not 100% correct, but it is a start.  I have been trying to get people to buy butter.  Yes, butter.  One step. One thing.  Buy local butter that in a major grocery store.  If you buy it in the co-op where it always is, that is great as well, but this post is probably not for you. If you choose to buy local butter in a large store that puts it right next to the large format-commodity milk butters, then you are sending a message to the buyers of the store that you support that product and they will have to buy more…ok, you get where I am going with this, right?  If you are looking for something that you can do to get going on local food, sustainable food, why not start with BUTTER!   The idea is that if you start with one ingredient and commit to that year round, that will start something.  You will think every time you go for that butter, that you are “voting with your fork” .

So, think about this on Friday and come up with a plan to start small. Food Revolution Day is Friday.


23 Apr


MINNEAPOLIS, MN April 24, 2013 – University Dining Services/ARAMARK is proud to introduce District Executive Chef Scott Pampuch as the newest member of its culinary team.

As the new District Executive Chef for the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus, Pampuch brings more than 15 years of experience as well as a deep passion for sustainable food.

“I believe we have a responsibility to respect the craft that has come before us and the land that sustains us,” Chef Pampuch says. “I am driven by the opportunity to deliver a sense of place on every plate. By sourcing and cooking locally and seasonally, we can evoke our surroundings, our local farms and all they provide, with a single, perfect meal.”

Pampuch has been active in sustainability on a local, regional and national level for the last ten years. As the founder of the award-winning Minneapolis restaurant Corner Table, Pampuch is known for incorporating local foods from family farms into handcrafted menus. Additionally, he created the sustainable supper series Tour de Farm and was featured on Ovation Network’s “In Search of Food” and the Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner Series.

“ARAMARK Higher Education is full of opportunities for chefs like myself to grow and learn,” Pampuch says. “Especially at the University of Minnesota, there are endless possibilities.”

The team at University Dining Services/ARAMARK extends a warm welcome to Chef Pampuch. For more information about University Dining Services, visit

About ARAMARK Higher Education

ARAMARK Higher Education is dedicated to excellence in dining, facility and stadium and arena services. ARAMARK enhances the living and learning experience and environment for more than 600 colleges and universities throughout North America. For more information and a list of our services, visit
Karen DeVetContact:

Director of Dining Services

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities


“it feels so good to be back…..”

18 Apr
In the next week I will have some details on my next project.  Until then….
Here is something that no matter where I end up, reminds me of Minneapolis.

“…expanding the horizons, expanding the parameter…” – beastie boys

26 Jun

Minneapolis chef and sustainable food advocate Scott Pampuch joins The Iron Horse Hotel

June 19, 2011 (Milwaukee, WI) – Minneapolis chef and sustainable food advocate Scott Pampuch will take the reins in Food & Beverage at The Iron Horse Hotel ( on July 1. Owner Tim Dixon announced today that he has hired Pampuch to consult on all F&B operations for the award-winning 100-room experiential hotel, including the hotel’s restaurant Smyth, Branded bar, the 450-seat outdoor venue known as The Yard and all hotel banquets and special events. Pampuch will work with The Iron Horse Hotel’s culinary team and front-of-the-house F&B staff.

Founder of the acclaimed Corner Table restaurant in the Twin Cities, Pampuch (pronounced “pam-poo”) plans to bring his passion for fresh seasonal ingredients and simple Midwest cuisine to the thousands of guests that frequent The Iron Horse Hotel annually. He was voted one of Minnesota’s 25 top chefs by his peers and is the creator of Tour de Farm MN, a dinner series that celebrates local farmers and food artisans who cultivate their harvest.

The Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director for Minnesota Valley Country Club, Pampuch ( has been sharing his musings on food and farms as the new host of Ovation’s “In Search of Food.” Episodes have included preparing a raw, vegan and gluten-free meal for musician and avocado farmer Jason Mraz and lunch for 300 hungry middle-school students, using healthful ingredients, within a strict time limit and a school-board-approved budget of $1.15 per child.

The transition from local restaurateur, to chef and F&B director at a regional country club, now to a top-rated hotel in the Midwest represents a progression for Pampuch, who will oversee a $5M multi-outlet venue at the award-winning Iron Horse Hotel.

“We’re thrilled to have Scott come on board,” said Dixon, who will turn to Pampuch to oversee his other culinary ventures, including Stack’d Burger Bar ( and Dixon Development’s new hotel and F&B concepts.

Pampuch describes his cooking as simple, straightforward and seasonal, and a reflection of local agriculture. “I love the James Beard quote, ‘I don’t like gourmet cooking or ‘this’ cooking or ‘that’ cooking. I like good cooking.’” The chef teaches techniques through cooking classes that range from pig butchery to seasonal vegetarian dishes.

“Milwaukee is exploding on the sustainability scene, with inventive and flourishing operations like Sweet Water Organics and Growing Power’s Will Allen as a national leader on agriculture and food policy,” added Pampuch. “I’m excited to tap into these resources and continue to push the envelope on creative cuisine already happening at The Iron Horse Hotel.”

Pampuch’s food advocacy includes engagements on Minnesota Public Radio and other local TV and radio appearances, as well as national culinary events, syndicated television and a documentary. He was featured in “Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers.” Awards have included Best Restaurants 2010: Farm to Table, Locavore of the Year, Best of Food + Dining 2009, Best Neighborhood Café 2009, all from Mpls. St. Paul Magazine; and Best Restaurants: Farm Fresh, Locally Raised, March 2006, Critics Choice: Chef-Driven Zagat Survey. He was a James Beard Awards Semi-Finalist in February 2008 and named a Foodservice News Top 25 Chef that same year.

The Iron Horse Hotel ranked #10 in the U.S. on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2011 Gold List and on the magazines “Hot List” of new hotels in 2009. The hotel was name Boutique Hotel of the Year in 2010 and 2011 by BLLA, on National Geographic Traveler Magazine “Stay List” 2009 and featured in the top 10 in all of the Americas by Tablet Hotels. The AAA Four Diamond Award winner ranked #11 of all U.S. hotels on in 2010 and ranks #1 in Wisconsin on the influential guest review website.

Brigette Breitenbach,, 414.750.7298 office 414.750.3098 mobile

Heidi Nelson,, 612.246.4815 office

“You have a TV show? Now what?

26 Apr

As you may know, I have a TV show that is on the Ovation network right now. (YEA, I still kind of can’t believe it.) In Search of Food was an experience that I will never forget. Thank you to Emma, Sam, Jake, Richard, and all the crew for helping me get through shooting my first TV show. Most of all, I have to thank Sian, you had blind faith in me the first time we met, you saw something and you have been very supportive.
If any of you have questions about ISOF please go ahead and leave me a note here and I will just start answering questions.  A couple of them that are repeating are:

How did you get a TV show?” I still don’t know, other than when a British guy from NY called me and said, “Well, we were searching for people in Minneapolis that are associated with local food, and well, your name just kept coming up.” Seriously? Wow. Thanks to Kris Hase for that one. And thanks for this new website. Always really great looking stuff.
What was it like doing a TV show?” I have no idea what it was like, it felt like my life. Traveling to meet my food mentors. Visiting farms. Talking to people about how to incorporate local and sustainable food into their life. Cooking. Talking and eating with the crew. You know, just another day. Are you kidding me? It was really amazing. Everyone was so very accommodating, supportive, fun, and just into the project. It all comes down to if you love what you do, it just does not feel like work. It feels like life.
“You did three shows with Joel SalatinChef Ann Cooper and Jason Mraz” Why, yes, I did. All three shows were very different. The energy, the space, the timing, the weather, the farms and well, the featured guests.
You get the idea, so go ahead and send me some other questions and I will get back to you.
That is the question that I really want to address. Yea, now what? Well, what did you think of the shows? What did you remember about the shows? Was there anything that stuck with you? That is what I want to hear from you about. My thoughts are as follows:

“Lunch Money” If you know a child, or a person who knows a child and that child goes to a school and eats hot lunch, you better know the answer to this question: “How much money is budgeted for that child to eat during the day to give them enough nutrition and energy to get through the day. How MUCH?” KNOW THIS NUMBER. Now think about it. How much is that really? What can you buy for lunch with that much money? Ok, that was a lot of questions, but you get the point. I would love to hear where the school is, what is the budget and more importantly, do you think that is enough money? TAKE AWAY: Please pay attention to what kids are eating. If you don’t know? FIND OUT. And ‘cold-lunch-opt-out” so you don’t have to worry about hot lunch budget is not an answer.

“Three Squares” If you know me, you know what the feeling was when all of the sudden I had a voice mail from Joel Salatin. (Yes, I still have his cell number.) It was an honor and a privilege to be a guest at Polyface farms. To answer the first question here: Yes, that is Joel, he is always Joel. “The Joel-ness of the Joel.” “What do we eat?” How do I get sustainable food in our personal “food chain?” Where do I find the time and the money to buy this “non-packaged-non-processed-nutrient rich-ripe-whole-food” and how do I cook it? Well, think about it in a very simple way: ” WWJD” What would Joel do? Well, for breakfast it was local eggs, bread, potatoes, onions, bacon, sausage, pretty simple right? Not every day, but how simple is it to find all those ingredients LOCAL where ever you are in the world. They are all over and all year round. Find the basics and start to commit to those basics all the time, and soon it will be a habit. Speaking of habits, that is really what eating locally is about. It is about changing your habit of buying the same food, the same brands, the same , the same, the same. That does not even sound like it would be fun to do every day, but that is the habit that we have gotten into for the last 70 years. TAKE AWAY: Basics, local and commit to it year round.

“Raw Materials” “Mraz, Jason Mraz, the singer-songwritter-grammy award winning great dude.” Yep, he is just that mellow all the time. Very gracious. The idea of this show was to put me in a situation that well, kind of felt like I was getting “f-uncked” (food-punked). Here I am, a grass-fed, pig-butchering, meat-eating Midwestern guy, let’s take him to California and take away his butter and bacon. It was a challenge, but not as much of a challenge as eating a mushroom and soy “burger,” taking 5-35 bites after shooting that scene over and over again. It was not THAT bad (wink wink). What I learned from this and I think is the huge piece of this is no matter how you eat, what you eat, with whom you eat, where you eat, PLEASE remember to enjoy your food and the people you share your meal with every single time. It is not rocket science or brain surgery. Food is what ties every human together. It is a primal connection to each other, to our land and to the animals or plants that we eat. TAKE AWAY: THINK ABOUT IT and please have fun with those you are with for they nourish you as well.

Thanks to everyone that had something to do with making all this possible and well, let’s just say there is a lot more to come and this is going to be a very busy year.

In Search of Food 2012 on Ovation TV

15 Apr

Please join Chef Scott Pampuch
to celebrate the launch of his Ovation Network series

In Search of Food
 Wednesday, April 18
6:00 – 9:00 pm (Show airs 7-7:30 pm during event)

Saga Hill Cooking & Events  Appetizers, Fulton Beer, Wine, Cash Bar, Music

Episode 3: San Diego, “Raw Materials,” beginning at 7:00 pm. Grammy Award-winning artist, eco-activist and vegan Jason Mraz challenges Pampuch to make a raw vegan meal at Mraz’s organic avocado farm.

Cash or check donations for Laughing Loon Farm will be collected inside. Email or DM @ScottPampuch for more information.

Here are a few articles that are talking about the show:

Thanks Dara
Thanks Jason
Thanks Lee
Thanks Joanne



Chlogging (Chef Blogging)

07 Apr

I’m still here, with old and new ideas about cooking, about life, about what I see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and what I do.

If you know me, you know that I write like I think, and if you don’t know me, well, hang on and get used to asking yourself, what the hell was that long run on sentence? I’ve always been a better talker than a writer but I’m working on writing and sharing pics, articles, ideas, stories about the people, food, and issues that motivate me and make me think and that I hope will make you think too.

So, here I am, a new blog, and a new page in my life.

Mark your calendars/set your DVRs for April 16, 17, and 18, 7pm, when the second season of In Search of Food will debut on the Ovation Network, this year hosted by yours truly. I had the crazy honor of talking to and learning from sustainability super-heroes Joel Salatin, Chef Ann Cooper, and this new guy into local farming named Jason Mraz, maybe you have heard of him.  It was the experience of a lifetime and I hope that you’ll watch and let me know what you think.

If you’ve been wondering about Tour de Farm dates for 2012, see my recent post on the Tour de Farm blog.

Things I am looking at and absorbing at a pretty alarming rate.

Things that harken back to the past…James Beard Foundation

Things that make me understand where I am in the food world today.. Lexicon of Sustainability

Helping me understand more of what being a chef and part of a age old craft really means… David Chang