Fact: The Twin Cities is one of the fastest growing restaurant communities in the country, with close to 100 new restaurants opening this year, many if not most of them independent. With national talent -- the kind that could settle anywhere -- making Minneapolis and St. Paul their home, there's a spotlight on us from around the globe.
Case in point: Many of the very biggest names in the local food world came together in one room last week -- it also happened to be probably the best and porkiest potluck we've ever been invited to -- to assist in planning the 2015 Terroir Symposium.
Who was there? Jamie Malone and Erik Anderson of upcoming Brut, Landon Schoenefeld of Haute Dish, Niki Francoli of La Belle Vie, Jim Christiansen of Heyday, Doug Flicker of Piccolo, Tim McKee, and, well, you get the idea.
So what the hell is a Terroir Symposium and why does it matter?
The symposium aims to bring together the best and brightest international minds in the culinary industry so they may develop, refine, and expand their brains through a good old-fashioned barnstorm. And next year, they want to host in Minneapoiis.
Past events have attracted Rene Redzepi of Noma, David Chang of the Momofuku empire, and French culinary icon Daniel Boloud.
Malone, who attended this year's event in Toronto, said, "Needless to say it was inspiring, exciting, and mind opening."
The group is still in planning phases, but hopes to bring the 2015 symposium to Minneapolis around October in time for harvest season.
Founder and organizer Arlene Stein says that in addition to bringing culinary minds together so they may share with one another, the conference would be an opportunity to highlight Minnesota's rich natural resources. She says the grain industry, hunting and fishing traditions, and indigenous populations and cuisines are all of great interest to her and she's anxious to share the information by hosting here.
And it's not just for chefs, says Malone: Brewers, apiarists, professors, writers, and all other craftspeople with an eye toward strengthening the industry are invited to join the conversation.
Anything that puts us in a room with Flicker's smoked pork ribs, Anderson's baloney sandwiches, Schoenefeld's Frito Pie, and Francioli's cupcakes is a-okay with us.
Find out more about the Terroir Symposium on their website.
Send your story tips to Hot Dish.