Ladies and gents, the Oscars of the local food scene are upon us


Nobody wants to hear about chefs and cooks and hospitality workers being referred to as "unsung heroes." Hospitality workers chose the life for lots of reasons but most often, it's because they love to do it. The din of hundreds of dishes clanging through an industrial washer, lovers clanking glasses over a happy hour toast, the terrifying missives of a red-faced chef when a server rang in yet another duck breast though it's been long 86'd? This is a beauteous cacophony, people. One that is music to the ears of those who choose the life. 

But, still. There are days where the grind is just a grind, just like it is in every other workplace, whether you're digging ditches or shilling for rich folk down on Wall Street. Work is... work. And since we all dine out (or most of us do, at least sometimes), would it kill us to stop and think about all the many hundreds of man hours, beads of sweat, moments of angst, and well, work, that actually went into that duck breast? Is it only Kim and Kanye and all the other horrible people of the world who should be allowed to put on some bling and get a little weird? No and no.  

Five years ago longtime local culinary booster, patron, maven, and columnist Sue Zelickson got a notion to honor our local culinarians in a good, old-fashioned Oscars-style shindig, replete with stages, scores, awards, acceptance speeches, the works. Chefs can leave the whites in that locker and dig out the fancy clogs for this one. 

So the time is nigh again, this time on Sunday, November 15, beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Pantages Theatre. A 5 p.m. post-reception will be held in the IDS Crystal Court with live music, food, and cocktails. Move upstairs to the 50th floor Windows on Minnesota for a chef's dinner at 6:30 p.m. 

Tickets go on sale September 24 here, and at box offices of the State, Orpheum, and Pantages theaters, and Ticketmaster outlets. The price for the main show and after party at the IDS is $35 (food industry folk get a $10 discount). The price to attend all three events (including the chef's dinner) is $150. A portion of the proceeds will go to open arms of Minnesota. 

And, maybe, don't hesitate to prepare some heckling. Chefs and cooks like to get weird. 

Go to for more details and information.