With so many chefs focused on creating needlessly complicated dishes and off-the-wall food pairings in order to boost their public profile, it is a refreshing change of pace to see a chef focus only on making good, simple food. Paul Berglund is that kind of chef.
Following his service as an officer in the U.S. Navy, Paul was faced with a decision between two very different career paths: chef or park ranger. Fortunately for us, he decided to become a chef, and began his culinary career at Oliveto in Oakland, CA, first as a line cook, then moving all the way up to chef de cuisine.
After a successful run at Oliveto, Paul helped open The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis’ premier Nordic restaurant (and one of the best Nordic restaurants in the country). And although Paul mastered the art of Italian cooking at Olivetto, he was intrigued enough by the challenge of changing culinary styles that he elected to go with The Bachelor Farmer. It has paid off: this year, Paul won the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Midwest.” Based on Paul’s success, it’s safe to say that simplicity in cooking is coming back in a major way.
Specialties & Resources
Though Paul is well-versed in the art of traditional Italian cuisine, the menu at Bachelor Farmer is comprised entirely of Nordic and Scandinavian dishes. Paul is inspired by the raw resources available to him in Minnesota that make his dishes unique: butter, pork and vegetables. The menu at Bachelor Farmer started out as traditional Nordic fare, with offerings such as Gravlax and traditional meatballs; however, the continued success of Bachelor Farmer has enabled Paul to take more risks in his cooking and break from some of the culinary traditions.
At The Bachelor Farmer, the mission is to serve fresh and simple food using as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible. Some of the standout dishes on the menu include smoked tomato soup with fried Camembert and chives, broccoli, hakurei turnips and water-poached chicken with caramelized shallots, pain de mie croutons and mint, poached rainbow trout with savoy cabbage, yogurt, pickled beets, green onions and fried garlic, Minnesota matsutake and porcini mushrooms with lacinato kale, broccoli, wild rice and melted leeks, and baked king salmon with wilted arugula, green beans, Adirondack red potatoes and oregano.