After Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl defected for its direct competitorMpls St. Paul Magazine, Minnesota Monthly put out a national call for food writers and critics to submit their work. They needn't have looked further than their own pages, where Rachel Hutton recently wrote a fascinating look at a day in the life of the Bachelor Farmer. News broke this weekend that she would be filling the top spot. We caught up with the former City Pages critic to ask her a few questions.
Which restaurants are you most excited about right now?
I'll name a category I'm excited about: the intimate, neighborhood, chef-driven "micro" restaurant. For example, Doug Flicker's Piccolo and Jon Hunt's Sparks, whose spaces were formerly inhabited by a small bakery and coffee shop, respectively, plus the forthcoming Don Saunders project in the former Kenwood Cafe.
There's been some doubt cast on the industry of food writing, and the future of Minnesota Monthly. Dara left saying that the magazine is put out by "3 1/2 people." How do you feel about the state of food writing in this city?
The publishing industry, as we know, has struggled to adapt its financial model to the digital age. But the recent changes have at least been good for those of us who like to read about food and restaurants. When I first started writing about the subject locally, there were only a handful of people on the beat, staffed by the magazines and newspapers. Now there are a lot more voices taking part in the discussion, and with greater frequency; i.e., we get to hear from James Norton via Heavy Table a lot more often than we did when he was writing for Minnesota Monthly and City Pages.
Regarding the number of people working on Minnesota Monthly, I'd say a staff's size matters less than its quality. If you follow Tim Gihring's work, you know that he consistently delivers world-class stories.
How will the food coverage at Minnesota Monthly change while you're at the helm?
In spite of the growth of blogs and social media, I think readers still look to magazines to cover food topics with depth and breadth. So expect to see restaurant reviews supplemented with features that offer a fuller understanding of the inner workings and impact of our state's remarkable dining and agricultural industries, such as the piece I wrote for MnMo a few months ago describing one (very long) day I spent at the Bachelor Farmer.