Update: The winning entry was from Lucia's -- a Dandelion honey panna cotta with honey florentine. Gigi's came in 2nd place and Restaurant Alma in 3rd. The prize for bee-ting the competition? The Beez Kneez will name a hive in Longfellow Gardens after the longtime uptown restaurant.
While the bees are feasting on dandelion nectar, we'll be sampling treats made from their dandelion honey, at the first Dandelion Honey Pastry Chef Challenge.
Chefs from all over the Twin Cities are set to compete in the event presented by the Beez Kneez on Thursday, April 10 at the Nicollet Island Pavillion. To top it all off, the night will be emceed by none other than R.T. Rybak and his local foods-loving other half, Megan O'Hara.
The contest pits several Twin Cities chefs against each other as they make delicious desserts using dandelion honey, one of the earliest varieties of the season. The contestants are from places as diverse as Lucia's, Restaurant Alma, the Seward Co-op Bakery, Mademoiselle Miel and the non-profit Open Arms. They'll set their best bites in front of the likes of Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Spoonriver's Brenda Langton, Pizzeria Lola's Ann Kim and Dr. Marla Spivak, renowned U of M bee expert.
The event was created to celebrate and publicize the Healthy Bees Healthy Lives initiative, which asks people to keep their yards pesticide free, to advocate for pollinator-friendly policies and laws, and to plant pollinator-friendly yards.
"We hope to do this event every year to continue to educate the public about bees as well as build a strong community around bees," said Kristy Allen, one of the Beez Kneez founders.
How did they get such notable hosts for their event? Allen explained that R.T. and Megan have been huge supporters of urban agriculture. In 2011, the couple started Homegrown Minneapolis, a program to encourage healthy food production in the city.
The former mayor and first lady of Minneapolis will preside over the festivities which celebrate dandelion honey produced in partnership with Allen's aunt and uncle at Bar Bell Bee Ranch in Squaw Lake, MN. The bee bash will remind partygoers to embrace dandelions and eschew pesticides and chemicals in the maintenance of their yards.
The Dandelion Honey Pastry Chef Challenge lasts from 6 to 10 p.m. and tickets are $30 via pre-sale and $35 at the door. The price of admission buys you a night of honey pastry samples, live music, door prizes, and free parking with a cash bar. Ticket sales go towards supporting the Beez Kneez educational programming.
And if you're hankering for a preview of Dandelion honey -- grassy, earthy, and deep in flavor, according to Allen -- go grab a Honey Beez Cream Puff at the Seward Co-op.