College Kitchen with Gavin Kaysen

The Minneapolis-based chef on pantry staples, culinary inspiration and how to make a French omelet.

Chef+Gavin+Kaysens+Classic+French+Omelet+with+Fine+Herbes.

Libby Anderson

Chef Gavin Kaysen’s “Classic French Omelet with Fine Herbes.”

by Sophia Zimmerman

For those familiar with the Minneapolis dining scene, odds are high that chef Gavin Kaysen’s name rings a bell. He’s the man behind Spoon and Stable, Bellecour Bakery, Demi, Socca Cafe and Mara.

Beyond a handful of accolades (James Beard awards included), Kaysen’s culinary journey has seen him navigate everything from the intensity of the Bocuse d’Or cooking competition in France to handling operations for his catering companies, Spoon Thief Catering and KZ ProVisioning.

Kaysen has recently ventured into the publishing realm as well, with his self-published cookbook, “At Home,” released in October. “At Home” features recipes for chefs at all levels, combining the knowledge Kaysen’s gained from his own culinary endeavors with French cuisine and his own Midwestern roots.

A&E caught up with Kaysen via Q&A regarding his go-to pantry staples, the people who inspire him, how to make a french omelet and more.

Question: What was your go-to meal in your early twenties?

Answer: Usually anything that was heavy in protein, steak, roasted chicken, and I loved making braised lamb leg.

Q: What are the items you keep stocked in your pantry or fridge at all times?

A: My essentials are pickled onions, aioli and sherry vinaigrette. I added a section to the cookbook with recipes for pantry essentials, so you can start making them instead of buying them at the store.

Q: Tell me about where you find inspiration.

A: I gained a love for cooking through my grandmother, Dorothy, who made meals that brought our entire family together no matter how hectic the day was. For me, it’s all about creating special memories around the table. Restaurants are for restoration and that idea is at the heart of what we do for our guests every day.

Q: What are three words you’d use to describe your cooking style?

A: Seasonal, thoughtful and delicious.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for the aspiring home cook?

A: Practice, practice, practice. Once you’ve gained confidence in the basic skills like knife work, cooking becomes so much more enjoyable.

Classic French Omelet with Fines Herbs
Kaysen is widely-known for his French cuisine, rendering this French omelet recipe rather fitting.

Ingredients:
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus
more (melted) for serving
Fleur de sel

For garnish:
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
and chives

Directions:

  1. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork until frothy. Add the chopped herbs to the eggs and stir to combine. Warm a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and heat until it begins to foam. Add the eggs and stir with a silicone spatula constantly, as if scrambling the eggs. Once the eggs reach a soft scramble (about half-cooked), remove from the heat.
  2. Using the silicone spatula, evenly distribute the eggs across the pan. Tap the pan a couple of times on your stovetop to ensure a smooth surface. Gently lift around the edges of the egg with the spatula to see if the eggs have set. Let it sit another 15 seconds if it’s not holding yet.
  3. When ready, with the spatula, turn one-third of the egg over itself, as if starting a letter fold. Repeat this step from the other side of the egg to overlap the first fold.
  4. Invert your serving plate on top of the skillet. Holding the pan and the plate at the same time, turn the skillet over to flip the omelet onto the plate.
  5. Brush the omelet with a bit of melted butter and sprinkle with the fleur de sel and parsley/chive garnish. (This is the only salt you will have added, so a good pinch is recommended.) Serve right away.

 

Recipe from “At Home” by Gavin Kaysen and Nick Fauchald.