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Synergy Series: A Chat with Chef Gavin Kaysen

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Synergy Series: A Chat with Chef Gavin Kaysen

American chef Gavin Kaysen and his team are gearing up to host an exclusive series of one off pop up style dinners from some of the USA's top chefs at his acclaimed Minneapolis restaurant Spoon and Stable.

Named 'The synergy series' the exciting line-up of dinners, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, will see the likes of Daniel BouludApril Bloomfield and Michael Anthony in chef Kaysen's kitchen between June and December 2016.  Chef Michael White opens the event on April 28th. (You can purchase tickets here.)

We managed to catch up with chef Kaysen just ahead of the event to get the lowdown on how he came up with the idea:

Can you explain what the “Synergy Series” is all about? Where did the idea come from and what's the charity connection?
Synergy Series is collaboration between two forces, in this case, those are the two chefs: myself and the “Chef in Residence” for that day. We have chosen 4 chefs to come to Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis and cook with myself and my team, in a guest chef or pop up style. It starts on April 28th with Michael White, then in July we have Michael Anthony, followed by April Bloomfield in October, and Daniel Boulud as the finale in December.

Charity outreach is very important to me and always has been, it has been engrained in me my entire life. My mom spends a lot of time volunteering with many different charity events in Minneapolis…she is the reason why I am doing this for charity. I see how hard she works and it is on her time and I see how much that means to the charity. My gift to them is that we will highlight the chef’s charity of choice for one night and give back 25% of the revenue from that dinner.

What great food do you expect to see coming out of the kitchen during the special nights?
These four chefs carry 9 Michelin stars with them…. They will all be able to bring their unique style that has awarded them their many accolades.

You’ve been back on the Minneapolis dining scene for a while now. Any learnings you think that your NY colleagues can take home with them?
I think they will be thrilled to see how strong our local food scene is as well as the diversity in the food that is offered in our town. We will bring them to the Hmong market, Nye’s, and maybe even Al’s breakfast one morning if I can get them up that early. I want them to see the history of our city and what that means to us. I’m confident that this will give them some inspiration for the food they would like to cook.

How would you describe your cooking philosophy?
Seasonal, technique-driven, and focused. I want to cook for people to the point where they are not too full, but they are happy. I want them to come back for me. I want it to be craveable.

How has your cooking style evolved in the time since leaving New York and returning to your hometown of Minneapolis to open your own restaurant?
It has evolved a lot, the seasons are much harsher here, so that changes everything. Furthermore…I am no longer under the umbrella of Daniel, so I am locating my own voice while establishing a restaurant brand.

What does being a part of the USA team’s success (silver in 2015 and team coach for 2017) in Bocuse d’Or mean to you both personally and professionally?
Personally, it is everything to me, professionally, it is everything to me…I do not separate the two, maybe I should, but I can’t. The Bocuse has been in my life since 2005, my wife and I just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary, as well as ten years with the Bocuse d’Or.

You’ve worked with some culinary greats including Marco Pierre White and Daniel Boulud, how did you build on those experiences to create your own signature style?
You watch them, you respect what they are doing and somewhere in that, you find your own voice… will look and sound like theirs and that is okay, I am proud to carry that legacy….I am proud to always be a student to the ones who created before me.

Any new projects on the horizon you’d like to tell us about?
Synergy….and the others are well, top secret.


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