Culinary stars will travel from both coasts to cook with Gavin Kaysen at his North Loop restaurant Spoon and Stable when his Synergy Series returns this summer. The popular event includes dinner and a separate dialogue where the chefs share their stories. This year’s chefs include Mei Lin, James Kent, Curtis Stone and local hero Marcus Samuelsson.
The main attractions are the two evenings of shared dinners, prepared at the Spoon and Stable with dishes from both kitchens. Reservations are available in the dining room for the full experience, while some lounge seating offers an abbreviated tasting menu and bar seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis with an a la carte snack menu. Ticket prices range from $195 to $595 depending on the seat. Reservations are possible one month before each event for the dining room and two weeks for the bar and lounge seating.
A select number of Season Passes will go on sale on May 2nd at 12pm on TheSynergySeries.com. Pass holders receive a guaranteed reservation for each Chef’s Dinner, participation in the Dialogue, as well as a signed copy of their cookbook (if they have one) and a gift bag from the dinner sponsors. The cost is $2,500 per person.
As in previous years, the chefs will take part in a moderated discussion on the second day of their visit. Hosted by hospitality expert Alison Arth, the talks will take place at the new Four Seasons Minneapolis, where Kaysen will operate restaurants Mara and Socca Cafe. The lectures, which are also streamed online, cost $10 — a cheaper way to gain access to the chef’s thoughts and experiences.
“With each of these chefs, our lives and careers have intersected in significant and meaningful ways,” chef Gavin Kaysen said in a statement.
Past attendees have included acclaimed chefs Daniel Boulud, Traci Des Jardins, Missy Robbins and Thomas Keller, among others.
“I recently checked our website to see who has joined us over the past four years,” Kaysen said. “I have a wall in my office that all these chefs sign after their dinner. I am honored who walked through these doors.”
Here is this year’s line-up:
Mei Lin, 21.-22. July: First up is Top Chef Season 12 winner Lin, who owns the acclaimed Nightshade, was a James Beard finalist for Best New Restaurant, and opened Szechuan Hot Chicken/Fast-Casual Daybird last year, both in Los Angeles . She started her culinary career with her parents in their family run Chinese restaurant and worked with top chefs before opening her own restaurants. Advance ticket sales on June 1st at 12.00 noon.
James Kent, 15th-16th September: Kent represented the United States at the prestigious international culinary competition Bocuse d’Or, in which Kaysen was a part. Kent has also worked in some of New York’s most prestigious kitchens, including Jean-George, Eleven Madison Park and NoMad. He is currently Executive Chef at Saga and the Michelin starred Crown Shy. Ticket sales on August 1st at 12.00.
Curtis Stone, 27-28 October: The Australian-born, Los Angeles-based chef has appeared on numerous television shows including Top Chef Masters, Take Home Chef and Top Chef Junior, and is a six-title bestselling cookbook author. Stone opened his first restaurant – Maude in Beverly Hills – in 2014, followed by Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant in Hollywood and Georgie in Dallas. Tickets go on sale on September 1st at 12pm.
Marcus Samuelsson, 1st-2nd December: The series ends with Samuelsson, a chef who actually experienced a winter in Minnesota. Samuelsson is the former Executive Chef at Aquavit (which used to have a location at the IDS Center). Since then he has become a television personality, cookbook author and memoirist and has restaurants around the world including the Red Rooster Harlem. Ticket sales on November 1st at 12.00.
The dinners always benefited a charity of Kaysen’s choice, usually one with which he has a personal connection. “Our last partner was World Central Kitchen,” said Kaysen, “a far-reaching international organization. It seems appropriate to us to come back this year and focus on a local organization.” This year, a portion of ticket sales will be donated to The Constellation Fund, a group dedicated to ending poverty in the Twin Cities by providing raises the standard of living of individuals and families living below the poverty line. The charity was founded by entrepreneur Andrew Dayton (he was also a co-owner of the former Bachelor Farmer).
“The intent of the Synergy Series was to bring chefs into our community who may never have been to Minneapolis before,” Kaysen said. “We want to show them what’s here and give our team a new perspective on how others cook, lead a team, work a room full of guests. It has always been about the collaboration, the spirit of mentorship, and a moment to show our young chefs and team members that anything you want is attainable, you just have to go get it.”