Claire Stanford, Managing Editor, Writer
Claire Stanford received her MFA in creative writing (fiction) from the University of Minnesota, where she also received a Graduate Minor in Sustainable Agricultural Systems. A former freelance web editor for Bon Appétit magazine, her food writing has been published on Grist, GOOD, the Bon Appétit website, the Slow Food blog, and the blog Civil Eats. She is particularly interested in promoting food justice, specifically through urban gardens and school gardens. In addition to writing about food, she also teaches Food Writing and Food Blogging at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. She spends her free time baking bread, learning about cocktails, and pickling. Originally from Berkeley, California, she now lives in Minneapolis, by way of Brooklyn.
Lawrence Black, Owner, Writer and Sometimes Editor.
Lawrence's first memories of food alway lead him to two places. First, there is the time he was about five and almost choked to death on a jawbreaker (this probably led to his love of soft vegetables). Second, there is his Grandma's kitchen. It was probably one of Lawrence's favorite places in the world. Grandma and Grandpa seemed to live in that room, whether it was for a game of cards surrounded by cookie jars full of homemade treats or working away at a new recipe that they would take to cooking contests around the state. They truly made cooking a wonderful, exciting and inviting experience.
Lawrence’s first restaurant job was at Hardee’s as a fry cook. Knowing it could only go uphill from there, he started working anywhere that would let him cook and strangely enough found himself doing a lot of dishes. As Lawrence distanced himself from deep fryers and started his own restaurant, his well-being improved and he discovered the joy of compost and working with local farmers.
Lawrence was the co-owner of Blue Horizons Cafe in Bayfield Wisconsin, from 2001 until 2005 when he sold the business and moved to the twin cities. Determined to stay out of the restaurant industry, he finds himself totally addicted to the local foods movement and therefore at the mercy of many local chefs in the minneapolis/st. paul restaurant industry.
He loves food, farms, cooking and gardening, especially with his son, Kadin. He is sure that soon his new daughter Nara will be eating collard greens and grits and his wife Molly will be grimacing as his kids begin to understand the importance of bacon. Simple, good and tasty is the opportunity for him to combine his love for food with the english major he often finds himself wondering about.
Born in Charleston, South Carolina (that explains the grits) Lawrence and his family live in southwest Minneapolis.
Charles Boigenzahn, Chief Problem Solver and Taster of Wierd Things.
Charles has had a long history with local food having grown up in the Twin Cities with six siblings eating family meals prepared from food that his parents grew in their garden. This is something that he appreciates much more now than he did then.
Charles' first big food adventure was owning a small restaurant in Paris with his wife, Emily. It was a fantastic adventure, but now that he has returned to the United States with his family, he is now content to cook (and eat) for some of the day instead of most of it. Now he also finds time for other hobbies like making music, brewing beer, and building a submarine in the basement.
Charles can be found in his kitchen virtually every day cooking for his family and obsessing over culinary curiosities like making his own ramen noodles or garden patties, deciphering the geometries of an onion, reminiscing about his favorite combinations (arugula + salt + lemon), making perfect paper thin slices of cured ham, or brewing another beer. He likes the challenge of creating a meal with very few or surprising ingredients, and once dueled a friend in a home Iron Chef contest (the secret ingredient was parsnips, and everyone was a winner!).
Charles' can tell endless tales about all he has learned from his experiences in the retail, music, seafood, restaurant, computer, and construction industries. He is also quite eager to listen to the advice of his friends and colleagues as he becomes part of the movable feast that is Simple, Good and Tasty.
Charles lives with his wife Emily and daughters, Eloise and Audrey, in Bryn Mawr neighborhood, North Minneapolis.
Patrick O'Brien, Owner
Patrick is the brain (and ears) behind Growing Edge Facilitation, a business that has been helping local businesses and individuals in the twin cities for 30 years. While it is true that he did start the malt shop, you are more likely to find him at Lucia's, the Birchwood and other simple, good and tasty (and local) establishments.
His ability to listen and find creative solutions for individuals and teams is uncanny. His contributions range from General Mills to Cooks of Crocus Hill as well as many local restaurants and chefs. Find out more at: www.growing-edge.com
Karl Benson, Owner
For 20 years Karl has been engaged in various positions in sales, marketing and organizational development. During the last ten years he has served as President /Owner of Cooks of Crocus Hill, St. Paul, MN . Cooks is a Brand driven, independent specialty culinary retailer and educator focused on the belief that Life Happens in the Kitchen.
Karl holds a passion for creating and delivering thoughtful, stylish and energetic brand experience. He has worked with a variety of branding projects with domestic and international clients including Target/Marshal Fields, TAO Lighting, Made Smart and Staub USA.
When Karl is not at Cooks or digging into interesting stories about local farmers, he lives with his wife, Marie, in a small house with 5 kids and a big standard poodle.