The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. and features an amazing selection of red wines, representing wine regions from across the globe. Guests will enjoy unique pairings of cuisine and red wine throughout the evening, plus additional samples of notable wines.
Alfredo Torres has always enjoyed cooking and has worked in hospitality for a number of years at restaurants like Major's Sports Café, Baker's Square, and Buca di Beppo, before joining Parasole at Burger Jones in Burnsville. Alfredo mastered his skills in the kitchens along the way and developed a passion for managing the kitchen. What does Alfredo like the most about working at Burger Jones? The strong value placed on teamwork, along with working at a fun Parasole concept where he's able to influence the menu with new specials.
Anthony Leonhardi is an American chef born and raised in Plymouth, Minnesota. Leonhardi's early culinary career includes time spent working at Davanni's, followed by enrollment in The Art Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While at culinary school, Leonhardi landed a position at highly acclaimed Lucia's restaurant. Leonhardi spent three years at Lucia's working in all of the stations. After Lucia's, he moved to Oddfellows to work under Executive Chef Matt Williams. Leonhardi then spent time in various restaurants; chef de cuisine at Opus Lounge, sous chef at Northcoast Restaurant, and sous chef at Via Cafe. Leonhardi then moved to Salut Bar Americain as a sous chef in 2008, and was promoted to executive chef in 2010.
Carrie Nielsen is a true farm-to-table chef. Born into a farming family in Everly, Iowa, the daughter of an expert home cook who'd not only mastered pickling, preserving, and head cheese-making, but grounded Carrie in classical French cooking techniques. Growing up they raised much of their own food and respected it. Carrie started her career at Parasole in 2007 at Salut Bar Americain. She's worked at Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group and was the executive chef at Good Earth Edina before taking the position of executive chef at Mozza Mia in November 2012.
Chef Chester Dyrud was born and raised in Brazil, and came to the United States to receive culinary training at Hennepin Technical College after high school. Chester has been with Parasole for 13 years, with 10 spent at Chino Latino as sous chef and executive sous chef and the past three as the executive chef at Good Earth in Roseville.
Choney Diaz was interested in food and becoming a chef ever since he watched his mother cook when he was a young child. Everything she made tasted great and he's always wanted to be as good of a cook as her one day. Before being employed by Parasole, he worked at Tex Mex restaurant in South Minneapolis as a line cook. Getting his first Parasole job at Figlio gave Choney the opportunity to reach his goal of head chef. He's now currently head chef at Burger Jones Minneapolis and says it has been exciting because he has never been able to attend any type of chef schooling, but has been able to get where he is today just by learning from his mother and the best chefs within the company and other restaurants.
CJ comes to SALUT Edina from its sibling restaurant in St. Paul, where he held the position of sous chef, working beside Chef Jeff Anderson. He also had previous stints at Figlio and Muffuletta Café. "Though I had always cooked, I didn't envision a career as a chef, but exposure to the talent at Parasole ignited my love of French cooking," says the Madison, Wisconsin native. "Taking the helm at SALUT gives me the perfect platform to introduce others to the world's greatest cuisine."
Chef Garrett Hess's passion for cooking started when he was young, probably seven years old. He would help his grandfather pick vegetables in his large garden and then go inside and cook with them. The food always tasted so good, especially the tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans. Hess's mother also was a big part of his cooking passion. His parents divorced when he was young, so when he saw his mom he wanted to spend lots of time with her and one of the things they did was cook meals and bake desserts together. He cooked from childhood into his adult years, but never thought of doing it as a career until his friends and family suggested he should go to culinary school. He enrolled at the Art Institutes International Minnesota and loved it, finding the perfect fit. While in school, he worked for a local catering company for a year or so and a small restaurant doing some short order cooking. As part of his schooling, he had to complete an internship, so he found a place in Wayzata called Meridian Manor. It was an upscale assisted living community with 80 or so residents. He was there for a little over two and a half years and worked his way up to sous chef. "I felt at that point I needed a change. I heard about an entry level sous chef position open at the Good Earth restaurant in Edina so I interviewed for the job and gratefully received it. I worked very hard learning the high volume nature of this restaurant and after two and a half years I am thankfully running my own kitchen as the executive chef. My life is pretty busy now but I am very happy where I am at and still find plenty of time to cook for my friends and family, and especially carry on my grandfather's and my tradition of gardening."
Born in Hilo, Hawaii, Josh started on his culinary path early. Eventually cooking brought him to Minneapolis, where he gained essential skills and knowledge at Goodfellow's: An American Restaurant. Josh then went and opened Cosmos, which gained recognition as one of the top ten hotel restaurants in Food and Wine Magazine. In 2005, Josh represented Cosmos at the James Beard House, NYC. Josh also represented Cosmos in Hawaii for Food and Wine Magazine. He then went on to open the Red Stag Supper Club, the first L.E.E.D. certified restaurant in the Midwest. In March of 2008, Josh took a working tour of Hong Kong, furthering his knowledge in both Asian and Western cuisines. Josh believes in "Farm to Table" principles in his cooking. Currently Josh is the executive chef of the W Hotel / Manny's Minneapolis. In his spare time, he enjoys contributing to local charitable events and organizations such as Share our Strength, Real Food Initiatives, and the James Beard Foundation.
Chef Matt Ellison graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in the spring of 2005. At the time he was working at Campiello in Uptown, part of the D'Amico family of restaurants. He spent nearly a year with them, and the next year at the historic Naniboujou Lodge in Grand Marais, running the kitchen there. He then returned home to the cities to return to the D'Amico familia to be part of the opening team for Masa in downtown Minneapolis. He worked his way up to sous chef and was with them for three years. From there, Chef Ellison spent time in St. Paul working for the iconic W.A.Frost, and then was a sous chef at The Happy Gnome. After that, he came to Parasole as a sous chef with Salut in Edina, where he and the team really elevated that menu and had success with Julia Child Mondays. He was promoted to Muffuletta almost exactly two years after joining the Parasole family.
Miguel grew up in Irapuato Guanajuato, Mexico, where his Father owned a small restaurant seating 100 people. Miguel began cooking at age 13 at his dad's restaurant. At 16 years old he moved to the U.S. to finish high school and began culinary school. After school, Miguel took a chef position at St. Anthony's restaurant in Pasadena, CA. After vacationing in Minnesota, Miguel and his family decided to move to Minneapolis, where he became one of the head chefs opening the Rainforest Café in the Mall of America. Miguel joined Parasole's chef team in 2007 while opening the original Pittsburgh Blue in Maple Grove, and has been their head chef ever since.
Chef Jason Smith began his career at 14 years old on the line at a barbeque and deli in Kansas. He credits his passion for excellent food to his grandfather, who always involved him in the kitchen growing up. Jason held various kitchen positions until becoming executive chef at Tellers Restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas, from 2004-2007. Jason and his wife moved to Minnesota in 2007, where Jason started working for Morrissey Hospitality at the St. Paul Grill. In 2010, Jason joined Parasole as chef for Il Gatto restaurant in Uptown, Minneapolis. In October 2011, Jason opened the second Pittsburgh Blue concept at the Galleria in Edina.
"We scored a major coup in landing Tyge for CHINO LATINO," says Parasole's head of culinary development, Tim McKee. "He's a formidably talented chef. I know because we've worked together for years." Tyge first met Tim in the 2000, when he began work at McKee's acclaimed restaurant La Belle Vie. Tyge displayed both a keen culinary sensibility and strong operational and managerial skills. "Tyge helped us move the restaurant from Stillwater to Minneapolis without skipping a beat." So impressed was McKee that he promoted Tyge to the position of executive chef at Solera. Next, he became executive chef of Barrio Tequila Bar in St. Paul, and then The Inn, in downtown Minneapolis. "I've been really fortunate to work in dramatically different genres," says Tyge. "From the haute Provencal style of La Belle Vie to the vast palate of flavors we played with at Solera, to the lustiness of Barrio, every day has been an adventure. But CHINO takes creative opportunities to a whole new realm. There are so many cultures to explore. We have adventurous guests who'll go there with me. And Parasole offers chefs all the freedom we need." One thing Tyge particularly likes about CHINO LATINO: Its focus on authenticity. "With a name like ours, you might expect us to be a fusion restaurant, but we don't mix distinct cuisines, we juxtapose them. I'm not interested in doing moo shu pork burritos; I want to dive deep into both Chinese and Mexican cooking—and a dozen other cuisines for that matter—and see where the path leads."
Chef Steve Hesse started working in the restaurant business at age of 14 years old, 20 years later he has covered a wide variety of cuisines at a handful of great restaurants in the Twin Cities. After graduating from the Art Institutes International of Minnesota he worked as a sous chef at the St. Paul Grill, then as executive sous chef at Stella's Fish Cafe, executive chef for Macy’s Foods division and as corporate executive chef for Masu Sushi & Robata. Hesse came to work for Parasole at Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group in 2012. At 34 and 20 years in this industry He still strives to learn new techniques and new ingredients every day.
Adrienne began her pastry career 22 years ago in New York City restaurants, training under such acclaimed chefs as Alfred Portale and Marcus Samuelsson. Adrienne created pastries for Palio, Omni Hotel Berkshire Place, Gotham Bar & Grill, and Aquavit in New York and Minneapolis. She moved to Minneapolis in 1998 to open Aquavit in the IDS Center. Tim McKee recruited Adrienne to open Solera Restaurant and Event Center in 2003. In 2005, Chef McKee moved his acclaimed Stillwater restaurant, La Belle Vie, to Minneapolis, making Chef Odom the executive pastry chef of both Solera and La Belle Vie. Many awards and accolades followed for her unique flavors and beautiful plates. 2007 brought Adrienne back to New York City to assist Marcus Samuelsson with opening a pastry commissary for his stable of restaurants, serving thousands of diners a year. In 2009, Adrienne moved back to the Twin Cities for the quality of life and the unique culinary atmosphere that thrives here. Currently Chef Odom heads the Pastry Department for Parasole Restaurant Group, creating menus, designing execution, training, and mentoring new employees for 14 restaurants in the Twin Cities.