What gets chefs, foragers, and diners giddier than a pack of schoolgirls jacked up on Red Bull and Justin Bieber? Morels! We find them in our backyards, we find them at the farmers market, we find them all over restaurant menus, we find them at the co-op for jaw-dropping prices, and now there's a bigger, better way to find them.
The first annual Morelfest, where the Gentleman Forager and his secret band of marauding mushroom pirates (nice guys who like to find mushrooms) are expected to drop a whopping 500 pounds of the fungi, outdoors at the Sample Room, for some of our best local chefs to freak out on.
All the shroomy deets:
A celebration of all things morel, plus food from the following top local chefs who will compete for the title of "Chef de Shroom."
Thomas Boemer (Corner Table), Jim Christiansen (Heyday), Gavin Kaysen (Spoon and Stable), Todd MacDonald (Parella, opening this summer in Uptown), and Nick O'Leary (currently of Smack Shack).
Each chef will create morel-centric dishes for sampling.
Saturday, May 30, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where? Outside overlooking the Mississippi River at the Sample Room
Morels are expensive. How much is this shindig gonna cost me?
Ticket packages are available in two levels:
1. VIP (limited availability) is $75 and includes tastings from 3 p.m to 4:30 p.m., exclusive voting rights, mingling with chefs, and entrance until closing.
2. Mushroom Mogul is $55 and includes sampling from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., partaking in the awards presentation, and entrance until closing.
3. At 7 p.m., the public is welcome for free, with food and drink for purchase from World Street Kitchen and the Sample Room, plus groovy tunes, dancing, games, amusements, mingling, and more.
Is that it? No:
Morels will also make their way into the cocktails created by some of the Twin Cities' best bartenders: Trish Gavin (Brasserie Zentral), Kris Gigstad (Eat Street Social), Elliot Manthey (Spoon and Stable), Britt Tracy (Heyday), and Scott Weller (Parlour).
At 6 p.m., voting will close and chef Sameh Wadi will host a ceremony proclaiming the 2015 "Chef de Shroom," who will receive a "provocative" larger-than-life trophy and a one-year's supply of bragging rights.
Plus, live music by Chester Bay, praised by Rolling Stone for their "bluesy blend of hook-laden tunes," Loons in the Attic, an up-and-coming local rock band with a techno edge, and the Awful Truth, an eclectic group with a unique vibe of haunting melodies and soulful lyrics.