Gavin Kaysen, chef and owner of Bellecour in Wayzata and Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis, won big at the James Beard Awards ceremony on Monday night when he became the fifth Minnesota chef in history to be named Best Chef Midwest. In his acceptance speech, he credited his family with his decision to move back to his home state to open his own restaurant.
“Creating a restaurant is not the impossible. But getting a group of people together to believe in you and your vision is a powerful spirit,” Kaysen said in his speech at Chicago’s Civic Opera House. “I moved home to create the restaurant. But my main driver was to be with my family, who are all here tonight.”
He also thanked staff and his mentor, Daniel Boulud. Incidentally, it was at Cafe Boulud in New York City where Kaysen received his first Beard award for Rising Star Chef in 2008, an award granted to a chef 30 years or younger who “displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.”
The Beard awards have been celebrating culinary excellence since 1991, with a number of national categories as well as 10 regional Best Chef awards. Kaysen was in good company within his category, joined by fellow nominees Ann Kim of Young Joni and Steven Brown of Tilia. The foundation’s Midwest category encompasses chefs in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.
See the full list of winners at the James Beard Foundation website.