Chefs Lucia Watson and Don Saunders Featured at February and March Events
Minneapolis, MN, December 17, 2012 —Gather by D’Amico launches a new year of its popular Chef-in-Residence series with Chef Sameh Wadi of Saffron and the just-opened World Street Kitchen on Thursday, January 3, 5–9 pm. The unique chef-driven sampler series features Chef Lucia Watson of Lucia’s Restaurant, Wine Bar, and Lucia’s To Go on Thursday, February 7, and Chef Don Saunders of the Kenwood and In Season on Thursday, March 7.
Wadi, Watson, and Saunders will each add two new “small plate” items to Gather’s menu for the month they host. Guests can sample complimentary menu items on the first Thursday evening of each month and each chef’s two featured items will be available on the menu on subsequent Thursday evenings throughout the month. Also, on the first Thursday of each month, each guest chef will be onsite to serve complimentary samples, answer questions and meet guests. Gather features $5 happy hour small plates, featured specialty cocktails, and wine and beer specials from 5–7pm every Thursday evening.
January Chef-in-Residence: Sameh Wadi
Thursday, January 3, 5–9 pm
Gather by D’Amico
At the young age of twenty-nine, Sameh Wadi is already one of the most talked about chefs in the Twin Cities. The cuisine at Saffron Restaurant & Lounge earned him critical acclaim and national recognition. A native of Palestine, Wadi began his culinary journey at a young age; his passion for cooking was prevalent from the start. Wadi shadowed his mother in their home kitchen, that’s where he developed his palate and learned the fundamentals of cuisine. To hone his skills, Wadi attended The Art Institute International Minnesota, where he graduated with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts.
Saffron opened in February 2007, and quickly became a destination known for its innovative, compelling cuisine. Featuring a menu of skillfully balanced flavors from around the Mediterranean with strong influences from North Africa and the Middle East, later that year it was named “Restaurant of The Year” by several local publications. In late 2009, Wadi launched his own line of gourmet spices, Spice Trail by Chef Sameh Wadi, which are handcrafted in small batches at his kitchen at Saffron.
Wadi brought his distinct style of cuisine to the streets in 2010 with the debut of the insanely popular World Street Kitchen, a mobile food truck that features redefined global street food. In late 2012, Wadi expanded his brand by opening World Street Kitchen as a brick and mortar restaurant in Minneapolis.
February Chef-in-Residence: Lucia Watson
Thursday, February 7, 5–9 pm
Gather by D’Amico
Chef Lucia Watson owns Lucia’s Restaurant, Wine Bar and Lucia’s To Go, in the Uptown section of Minneapolis. The continuing popularity of Lucia’s over the past two decades is a tribute to her sensibility in menu selection and food preparation. She insists on the finest fresh organic ingredients from local and regional purveyors, resulting in a menu vibrant with ever-changing seasonal selections. The main restaurant has seating for 60, the adjoining wine bar seats about 20, and there’s outdoor seating in summer. Lucia’s To Go adjoins the bar and restaurant, and together, the three businesses all provide a sense of fun, delicious food, welcoming hospitality and attention to detail.
Watson has been honored with many awards over the years and her recipes have been featured in a host of regional and national magazines. Three times in recent years she has been nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef in the Midwest. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy honored her for her pioneering work in providing a fair, sustainable and healthy life for local farmers who grow organic restaurant products. She is also co-author, with Beth Dooley, of Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland, and she is author of Cooking Freshwater Fish. In 2009 Watson was knighted by the French government as a Chevalier du merit Agricole for her work with local food and farming issues. Watson has served on many boards and she continues to teach and speak nationally and locally on food related issues. She lives in Minneapolis.
March Chef-in-Residence: Don Saunders
Thursday, March 7, 5–9 pm
Gather by D’Amico
Chef Saunders enjoys a solid reputation for producing some of the finest cuisine in the Twin Cities. London-trained, made his name cooking unfussy but spectacular French food at the critically acclaimed AuRebours and Fugaise. Set in the vibrant Armatage neighborhood of South Minneapolis, Saunders’ In Season offers creative dishes inspired by the four seasons, in a comfortable yet elegant environment heralded by City Pages as ”Nakedly, forthrightly, almost shockingly AMBITIOUS.”
At The Kenwood, he employs traditional European techniques to create dishes that are international in style but local when it comes to fresh, regional ingredients. Saunders and his team are dedicated to serving the neighborhood everything from coffee and pastries, everyday brunch and lunch to delectable dinners with beer and wine. The menu is in constant flux with creative dishes and seasonal surprises weekly.
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 pm–9 pm), in conjunction with the Walker’s Target Free Thursday Nights.