Tre Donte Hardy is a local chef you probably should have heard of, but probably haven't.
After graduating Le Cordon Bleu Las Vegas, he honed his chops there at several Michelin-starred restaurants including the Ritz Carlton. After making his way north to be closer to family, he's spent years in some of our most illustrious local kitchens: Cosmos, Alma, Heartland. He now runs the executive dining program at 3M, but like any chef, he's got a dream of his own. Ophelia.
At Cosmos, Hardy honed his modernist cooking technique, and at Heartland, he established his deep reverence for farming, gardening, and foraging. The two come together on his plates like modern art that uses foliage as medium.
Like lots of chefs, he learned to cook at his grandma's apron strings. "My grandmother is the best chef I've ever known," he says. Her name, perhaps not surprisingly, is Ophelia. Growing up in Chicago, he often helped her in the kitchen, and her Southern cooking still inspires him, though those influences are stealthy. See cornbread folded into a pudding with foie gras and rhubarb under braised young rabbit; or ham hock mustard sauce gilding the lily of a steelhead trout with shaved Brussels sprouts.
The coming together of Minnesota + modernist + Southern cuisine is startling, strange, and particular. You haven't already seen this. If you're still skeptical about whether spring has really and truly sprung, only look to this cooking for confirmation. Edible flowers stand in where you'd expect microgreens and herbs; vegetable juices are fashioned into "flexible" ribbons; a confetti of slivered pea pods encircle a soft egg where hollandaise might have gone.
Ophelia will be popping up several times this year as Hardy continues to define and refine the concept. The first one is tonight at Cook St. Paul. Check it out for something completely different.
Friday, June 3 at Cook St. Paul
5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
1124 Payne Ave., St. Paul
On Saturday, Sweet Science ice cream is hosting a SUPER SECRET pop-up tasting. Well, it's only sort of a secret now. The location was under wraps until today: Cook St. Paul, that pop-up host extraordinaire will house the event.
So, the location may be a secret no longer, but the flavors are still shrouded in delicious mystery.
"What's being scooped? 6 flavors that public has never had before and never will again. Think carrot cake ... think brown butter, brown sugar," Sweet Science teased on its Facebook page.
They're billing it as a "once-in-a-lifetime event." Better than your wedding day? Depends on if you had Sweet Science ice cream at your wedding.
Saturday, June 4 at Cook St. Paul
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
1124 Payne Ave., St. Paul