Minneapolis, MN, July 23, 2013 — Gather by D’Amico will feature Chef de Cuisine Dennis Leaf-Smith of 112 Eatery, as its guest chef on Thursday, August 1. Leaf-Smith is the latest addition to the unique chef-driven sampler series at Gather featuring prominent local chefs. September features Peter Ireland, chef/owner, The Lynn on Bryant.
Guests can sample Leaf-Smith’s complimentary menu items on Thursday, August 1, with the two featured items being offered for sale on subsequent Thursday evenings throughout August. (Reservations highly recommended.) On the first Thursday of each month, a new featured guest chef serves complimentary samples and is on site to answer questions and meet guests. Gather features a happy hour and full bar with an innovative specialty cocktail menu every Thursday evening.
Created and operated by D’Amico + Partners, Gather serves lunch six days a week (Tuesday–Sunday, 11:30 am–2:30 pm) and a small plates menu on Thursday evenings (5–9 pm), in conjunction with the Walker’s Target Free Thursday Nights. In addition to the events in Gather, Target Free Thursday Nights feature programs throughout the Walker, including performances, artist talks, and gallery exhibitions. For more information, visit http://calendar.walkerart.org/tftn/index.wac
August Chef-in-Residence: Dennis Leaf-Smith of 112 Eatery
Thursday, August 1, 5–9 pm
Gather by D’Amico
In August, we welcome Gather chef-in-residence Dennis Leaf-Smith of 112 Eatery. Join him at the Walker for tastes from his small plates menu, exclusively at Gather this month.
Leaf-Smith is both understated and charming. He’s got the perfect Midwestern chef story. Leaf-Smith learned to cook from his dad. As a teenager he first cooked solo at a popular metro burger shop where he got the hang of speed, consistency and the pure fun of working at a place people loved.
He took a big leap and embraced a little culture shock when he went across town to The Northland Inn and Conference Center. There he worked with seasoned line cooks and regimented professionals, all 10 yrs his senior, to push forward on his self-directed career.
He received an invitation to relocate to San Francisco. He took a chance and scored a spot at Lark Creek Inn. It opened another window on trend forward food and a bit more formality. Returning to the Twin Cities he joined the opening team for the notable Café Lurcat. And if working at one Twin Cities hot spot wasn’t enough, on his days off Leaf-Smith also worked part time at the then newly opened 112 Eatery. 112 grew in popularity and Leaf-Smith went full time eventually becoming Chef De Cuisine.
As chief he has more opportunity for menu development. Now he works closely with Isaac Becker to shape the menu and create signatures. He also had to learn some restraint, keeping favorites on the menu at the risk of hearing from loyal customers. Regulars will tell you that you can’t go wrong ordering anything from 112 and if the chef tells you to “order the fish,” order the fish. It’s Leaf-Smith’s favorite thing to make.
Leaf-Smith and his staff have made 112’s jewel box of a kitchen work magic over time including managing through the addition of an upstairs bar and dining room. He seems to handle most things with his brand of charm and good humor. “The place has its own spirit and energy, we have a lot of fun—you have to. I’m working hard and can’t imagine loving any other profession or group of co-workers more.”
September Chef-in-Residence: Peter Ireland, Chef/Owner, The Lynn on Bryant
Thursday, September 5, 5–9 pm
Gather by D’Amico
Originally from Vermont, Peter Ireland and his wife Rebecca have fallen for the unique blend of urban amenities and access to the outdoors that Minneapolis has to offer. Having worked in kitchens with several of the nation’s top restaurateurs, Ireland is finding a happy home in the vibrant Twin Cities food scene. Ireland started off working at Gramercy Tavern, learning from Tom Colicchio how to manage a kitchen. While at Payard and Café Boulud in New York City, he learned the discipline and philosophy of French cooking. And, at Blackbird, from his friend and
mentor Paul Kahan, he learned how to truly inspire a team of cooks. In 2005 and 2008, the James Beard Foundation recognized Ireland’s work at Carpenter and Main in Norwich, VT, where, after becoming executive chef and owner, he transformed a struggling business into a dynamic and successful one. At The Lynn on Bryant Ireland has mixed the modern and traditional, offering a bistro menu with contemporary touches and references to our agrarian past.