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A Salute to Lake Superior's Sustainable Fisheries

(This is not your papa's pickled herring*! Not even close.)

November 13, 2012
5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
McNamara Alumni Center
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN

Tickets: $20

Need a ride from Duluth? Hop on the Fish Bus! Travel from Duluth to this Twin Cities event and back for only $10 per person! The bus will leave the Kirby Student Center at 1:45 p.m. on Nov. 13, making pick-ups at Bayfront Festival Park and the McDonalds near Spirit Mountain. To secure a seat, call MN Sea Grant at (218) 726-8106 or email Debbie Bowen (dbowen@umn.edu).

A 10-chef, 1-fish Celebration

Join Minnesota Sea Grant in a tasteful tribute to the people involved in managing, harvesting, selling, studying and preparing Lake Superior's commercially harvested fish. Last year audiences raved about the delicate taste of ciscoes, which are locally known as lake herring or tullibee. Back by popular demand, "A Salute to Lake Superior's Sustainable Fisheries" returns with new faces, new surprises, and the same delicious fish!

Before the doors open to the public, ten of the Midwest's finest chefs will be competing for $1,000 and your taste buds' approval. The competition, which focuses on creating an entrée from lake herring caught from the Minnesota waters of Lake Superior, will end before the public event, but the excitement will be far from over. Guests will be given a fork and an opportunity to sample lake herring recipes created by the chefs. While savoring the flavors, partygoers can listen to North Shore musician Michael Monroe and chat with the chefs and sustainable fisheries experts. At about 7 p.m., the judges will announce the winners of the professional chef competition, and people who have contributed to Lake Superior's sustainable fisheries will be introduced.

Don't miss your Taste of the Lake during this intriguing and classy tribute!

*Lake herring are NOT ocean herring, the fish commonly found in pickling jars. Lake herring join trout and salmon in the family Salmonidae. Ocean herring are in the same family as sardines, Clupeidae.


  • Lake Herring Samples
  • Cash bar
  • Door prizes
  • Silent Auction
  • Meet the chefs
  • Music by Michael Monroe
  • Photo slideshow by Chris J. Benson


Get ready to taste the lake. Tickets to this Nov. 13th event are $20 each. Tickets can be purchased by credit card or by check. Ticket sales are non-refundable. The tickets will be mailed to the address you provided.
Note: Your tickets will be available at the door if you purchase them between Saturday, Nov. 10th and Monday, Nov. 12th.
Online: Click here to purchase tickets by credit card.
By Mail: Fill out this PDF form and mail it along with a check made out to University of Minnesota to:

   University of MN Sea Grant
   31 W. College Street, Rm 132
   Duluth, MN 55812
By Phone: Call MN Sea Grant at: 218-726-8106, please have your credit card ready.
At the door: Tickets may be purchased at the door by cash or check.

Competing Chefs

Jahn Brink, manager and chef, Coastal Seafoods, Twin Cities. Chef Jahn is a fishmonger by day, a cooking instructor by night and a marathon runner on the sly. As a teacher of gourmet seafood classes with abundant access to fish, Chef Jahn is sure to make an impressive lake herring entree.

Avery Cassar, executive chef, At Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe, Duluth. A six-year star of Chester Creek Cafe, Chef Avery personifies sustainability. An avid gardener and volunteer on sustainable farms, he is passionate about sharing fresh and locally harvested foods with his family and the Café diners. He applied these talents to "Table to Farm Dinners," a highly-acclaimed 2012 campaign that brought food lovers closer to the roots of their favorite foods.

Adam DeSanto, restaurant chef, Woolley's American Steak House, Bloomington. Growing up in Duluth, Chef DeSanto was influenced to work with Lake Superior fish early on. Now, after working on the coast of Oregon for a number of years, he returns to his roots of Lake Superior in this professional cook-off competition.

Ed Douglass, Naniboujou Lodge, Grand Marais, Minn. Indicative of his passion, Chef Ed sometimes dreams about food and then makes his dreams a kitchen reality. After working for chefs in the Twin Cities, Chef Ed and his wife moved to the North Shore. A locavore by nature, the lake herring Chef Ed serves at the Naniboujou comes from a fishing family that lives just down the road.

Wyatt Evans, executive chef, W.A. Frost & Co., Minneapolis. After tasting W.A. Frost's grilled salmon, it was all over...Chef Wyatt knew where he was destined to work. Six years ago: line cook. Today: executive chef! Known for big flavors featuring locally-sourced ingredients, Chef Wyatt describes his kitchen as fast paced and fun. When he's not at work, he enjoys playing the guitar for his children.

Patrick Gonzales, student chef. Last year Patrick impressed the Salute judges and the public with his enthusiasm and his ability to accent lake herring with organic and fresh ingredients. Patrick has been involved in a plethora of volunteer activities, often serving as head chef. Of Native American descent, he is looking forward to expanding upon his early successes and an exciting career in the culinary arts.

Scott Graden, executive chef, New Scenic Cafe, Duluth. Chef Scott's culinary aspirations manifested when he and his Aunt Rita B. bought and renamed the Scenic Cafe to the New Scenic Cafe in 1999. Constantly working with the idea that sustainable and local ingredients make the best food, he has since evolved into one of the premiere chefs of Minnesota's Northland, a businessman, caterer, cake-maker, cookbook writer, photographer, and teacher.

Jim Kyndberg, executive chef, Fire Lake Grill House and Cocktail Bar, Minneapolis. Crediting the unsurpassed quality and taste of his dishes to small area farmers, Chef Jim uses seasonal offerings to produce unique creations. Recently cooking for Crave, he is excited to introduce guests to the finer aspects of lake herring as well as introduce himself as the new executive chef of Fire Lake Grill House.

John Occhiato, executive chef, Cosmos, Minneapolis. Chef John grew up in coastal New England before pursuing a theater career in Minneapolis. While working in restaurants to support himself he discovered his true destiny: to become a regional leader in fine dining cuisine. When he's not in the kitchen, Chef John can be found foraging in the woods, digging in the garden, playing with his children, or working on a cookbook.

Robert Wohlfeil, executive chef, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Minneapolis. Chef Wohlfeil kicked off his career in the restaurant business in Fargo, North Dakota, at an early age. After relocating to Minneapolis, he earned his BS degree in Culinary Management, and worked as Oceanaire's sous chef. His secrets to fantastic seafood include fewer ingredients and simpler preparations that accentuate the food's profound flavors. This is his second year competing in the "Salute."


Ron Bohnert, executive chef, Stoneridge Golf Club, Stillwater. Fresh off his win at last year's "Salute," Chef Ron, a multi-medal winner of culinary contests, integrates quality ingredients and sustainable choices into his mouthwatering repertoire. An outstanding example of his vision for the taste of local food is his gold-medal Lake Superior Bluefin Herring recipe.

Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Mpls. St. Paul Magazine senior editor. After all the wonderful things Dara said about lake herring last November, Sea Grant is excited to have one of the country's best food critics back to weigh in on this year's chefs and their recipes. Dara is an author, a blogger, and a ten-time nominee and five-time winner of the James Beard Award - the Oscar of the food world.

Donald Miller, CCE, AAC, executive chef, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. Originally from the Lake Michigan coast, Chef Don graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York. As Notre Dame's executive chef, a priority has been finding ingredients that are harvested in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Notably, Chef Don's work helped Notre Dame become the first university in the U.S. to obtain Marine Stewardship Council certification. This is his second year judging "A Salute to Lake Superior's Sustainable Fisheries."


Cisco: Also Known as Lake Herring (PDF)


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