The Stinky News – August 2014

Where in-the-know insiders get all the skinny on the MINNESOTA GARLIC FESTIVAL
August 2014 Edition



Mary Jane Miller, who counts among her most cherished titles that of Chef Wrangler for the Garlic Festival (footnote 2), has announced the Chef Demo line-up at the Lakewinds Local Foods Stage, and it is a doozy.

For a quick look at the chef demos, see the webpage:

but for the insider’s inside scoop, look no further than inside this, the 9th Final Edition of The Stinky News:

First off, she got Rhaghavan Iyer. That’s right, the same Rhaghavan that just won an Emmy Award. This man makes Indian food sing. And he’s a James Beard Award finalist, President of The International Association of Culinary Professionals, and holds a chemistry degree from Bombay University, so he not only makes great tasting food, but can tell you the entire chemical composition of it.

Birchwood Cafe chef, Marshall Paulsen, takes good food seriously. He knows the land and the animals, and he loves putting a new spin on old favorites by using local, sustainable, organic, and fair trade ingredients whenever possible.

Food & Wine Magazine, a publication about food and wine, oddly enough, says that Thomas Boemer of The Corner Table is amazing because he “combines European techniques, Low-Country influences and prime Midwestern ingredients in clever ways.”

Bryan Morcom went from the U.S. Navy, to Le Cordon Bleu. and finally to Restaurant Alma (3) where has worked ever since. Bryan says,”I love our philosophy of cooking local and seasonal and knowing where your food comes from.” And he means it: he has his own urban farm in Northeast Minneapolis where he grows vegetables, flowers and chickens.

Paul Backer‘s publicist tells us he joined the Tilia team shortly after the restaurant opened (which was a good call, because opening a restaurant is really hard), and quickly rose from prep cook, to sous chef, and now Chef de Cuisine (which is almost as hard as opening a restaurant), and Tilia, according to, is “one of the hottest restaurants in the Twin Cities”.

The closing act of the day is Matt Morgan, who got his chops at The Modern, and now rules the range at The Bachelor Farmer, and he’s going to talk about pickles.

Garlic Festival was able to book all these celebrity chefs because the Twine Ball Festival had not: “Their loss is our gain,” says Miller.

See Mary Jane’s recent shameless plug for the festival on network television here:


Organic Farmer, Greg Reynolds, came up with the idea of doing an onsite, pop-up, ephemeral restaurant at the festival back in the mid-50’s, in the same evening that it was revealed to him that he should start the event itself: “a sustainable state fair” he called it. This revelation appeared to Reynolds in the foam atop a frothy mug of Two Hearts Ale. Thus were born, like Romulus and Remus (4), both The MN Garlic Festival and the The Great Scape Cafe, all in the same fateful evening.

Now, nine years later, Mr. Reynolds is so fiercely loyal to and supportive of the Great Scape’s partner restaurants that this year he briefly considered renaming the cafe:

“The Alma Bachelor Birchwood Brasa Common Corner Tilia Cafe.”

Then, in a rare fit of common sense, he let that one go.

In related news, Mr. Reynolds inadvertently cc’d The Stinky News in the flurry of emails between himself and the restauranteurs. Consequently, the Stinky News’ department in charge of international news leaks, the In Continents Department, having read all these emails, felt obligated to leak the preliminary menu. Obviously, this menu is subject to change because, well, we’re dealing with a bunch of artists here, aren’t we? OK, let’s face it: it WILL change, but only for the better.


Restaurant Alma
Prime rib sandwich plate

The Bachelor Farmer
Pork sausage with sauerkraut, chard and potato

Birchwood Cafe
Phillip’s skirt steak po’boy
Grilled sweet corn with garlic lime butter
Heirloom tomato plate

Common Roots Cafe
Grilled veggie sandwich with chevre
Roasted garlic and toast

Corner Table
Garlic Hush puppies

Some sort of chicken

Various Sources
Potato salad
2nd veg entree

Lemonade – Alma
Iced Coffee – Upper Midwest?
Iced Tea – Common Roots


From our Lists, Annals and Records Department (LARD), who engage in listophilia when they think management isn’t looking, here is this year’s compendium of Everything Else you can do at the festival:

Before the festival:

  • Volunteer to help out. Do it now. Get great swag and perks.
  • Download a 2-for-1 admissions coupon
  • Make reservations for the Event-Formerly-Known-As-Garlic-Lovers-Ball (now Dine in the Vines) at Crow River Winery on Friday night.

At the festival:

  • Attend the Opening Ceremony and hear the mayor read poetry
  • Buy a year’s supply of garlic from our 13 garlic growers
  • See superheros, a haiku master tournament, table cloths becoming table clothes, Lady Wine & Mr. Beer, the world’s cutest vampire slayer, and, of course, manly men in skirts, all at the Rogue Runway Fashion Show
  • Eat lunch at the Great Scape Cafe
  • Participate in (or just watch) the Peculiar Pragmatic Promenade
  • Build a kite and fly it
  • Buy lots of handcrafted, organic, fair-trade, local, artistic stuff from our 70+ hand-selected vendors
  • Listen to live bagpipes, hyper-folk, flamenco, guitar, and high energy drumming
  • If you’re a kid, or just act like one, you can make your own miniature book, be part of the kids brigade in the Promenade, do some veggie racing, and a bunch of other kids workshops
  • Get some garlic kettle corn, grab a garlic gyro, partake of a garlic pasty and an organic iced coffee from one of our fine food vendors
  • Enjoy a Lucid or Harriet beer, sip a Crow River or Morgan Creek wine, or savor a Sociable Cider
  • Vote for your favorite Garlic Makeover and be wowed by the Garlic Growing Contest entries
  • Salivate through one of the chef demos and enjoy the sampling that follows each one
  • Buy the Official Garlic Festival Cookbook
  • Hear Experts on permaculture, conservation, goat milk products, food photography, pollinators and, of course, garlic growing
  • Have supper at The Great Scape Cafe
  • Go home blissed out and smelling different that when you arrived


9th Annual
Saturday, August 9, 2014
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
McLeod County Fairgrounds, Hutchinson
All Weather Event


(1) If it should rain on August 9th, which it won’t, we can move the whole shebang indoors, but we won’t have to because it’s not going to rain that day anyway. So, to summarize: Even if there’s rain in the forecast, come anyway because A) we can move everything indoors, and 3) it’s not going to rain.
(2) Mary Jane’s other titles include Vicar of Viands, Queen of Comestibles, and Maven of Mmmmm for the Garlic Fest; and she is also the Guest Judge at Braham Pie Day, Menu Consultant for the Governor’s Residence and regular celebrity chef on Twin Cities Live.
(3) The Garlic Festival Director and Rogue Runway Fashion Director were recently invited to an “Outstanding in the Field” dinner held at Riverbend farm near Delano, and the Restaurant Alma folks prepared the food. When we interviewed the two of them about the experience, we got nothing printable because we don’t know how to spell all those yummy sounds. A typical reply went something like this: “Oh, and then the (yummy sound) desserts were (yummy sound) and just so (yummy sound gradually becoming blissful revelry).”
(4) Mythology buffs will know that Romulus and Remus were twin sons to Rhea Silvia, a vestal not-so-virgin, and their daddy was either Mars or Hercules: she wasn’t quite sure which because, as she said, “Chiantium sponge.” The city of Rome derives it’s name from Romulus, and the 80’s band R.E.M. got their name from Remus.(5)
(5) Our staff ombudsman, U. Kant Printhat, has advised us that the previous mythological reference, while mostly accurate, may not be appropriate for all ages and sensitivities. So, if you are offended by bacchanalia, please do not read footnote 4.