We recently sat down with CRAVE Regional Chef Gerard Klass to learn more about his highly successful and sold out “Klassics Pop Up Experience” that he held last month, inspired by the Minneapolis art scene, hip-hop, and his love of food!
What inspired you to put a Pop Up together?
I was looking to give hip hop a culinary genre – creating what hip hop food looks like. Just like hip-hop is influenced by different genres; soul music, gospel music, reggae, etc. my menu was influenced by my love of soul food, latin cuisine, local favorites, etc.
Merging the familiar with things that aren’t and then focusing on the presentation– hip hop can be flashy and in your face so I wanted my menu to reflect that.
An example is the Hot Dish Hush Puppy. We took hot dish, a very Minnesotan and familiar dish and paired it with the hush puppy, a soul food. To be able to merge those two it was all about deconstructing – mushroom aioli, tator tots crushed into the batter – it’s a bridge of two cultures…a representation of myself.
Why did you call it a “Pop Up Experience?”
I wanted to add a live music aspect to showcase that food is art the same way that music and photography are. DJ Miss Brit played music to match the food, music that our age group would find interesting.
We had a fun time coming up with food names and non-alcoholic drinks based on Hip Hop, like “Beyonce’s Lemonade.” Just the name, itself, intrigues and gives you a connection.
What drew you to hosting it at Breaking Bread Cafe?
Breaking Bread Cafe partners with Appetite for Change and they use the medium of food to create social change in an urban area. They grow their own veggies, teach young adults how to eat healthier using raw food, and they also have a community kitchen, where food trucks, businesses, etc, can come and prepare their food.
I choose that venue, specifically, because there is a lack of full service food in the West Broadway neighborhood and I wanted to help create an open discussion of why that’s the case. Take familiar things – you can still eat what you like – and make it fresh.
I was also happy that we were able to donate any leftover food to Appetite for Change.
How was the experience of putting on your own Pop Up different than creating a CRAVE menu?
All the skill sets I learned working at Kaskaid and CRAVE prepared me for being able to not only assemble a menu, but adapt to different concepts and flavor profiles, to see what I’m able to pull from. The main difference is that while CRAVE menus focus more on seasonality, the ease of products, and efficient techniques, I had challenged myself to push some boundaries and convey a specific thought through food.
What’s next for Klassics Pop-Up Experience?
We’re looking at putting together a second experience next summer. You can FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK to see more pictures and updates.
Until next summer you can try some of Chef Gerard’s dishes on our NEW FALL MENU!