Congratulations to Steven Brown on the successful opening of his new restaurant, Tilia, in Linden Hills. Andrew Zimmern posted a stellar review yesterday on one of his blogs, which I’m sure will be followed by more praise from the other critics in town.
Photographing the chefs and food that went in to The Culinary Mistress, we ended up setting up our roving photo studio in some. . . nontraditional spaces in order to accommodate the schedule of a chef: dining rooms during service, kitchens, back hallways crowded with ladders and spare 4-tops. My favorites were the chefs we photographed who were in the process of developing their next restaurant: Stewart Woodman prior to the opening of Heidi’s, Stephen Trojahn during the Gastro Truck off-season, and Steven Brown during the lead up to the newly-opened Tilia. Since these chefs didn’t have restaurants for us to invade, they opened their homes to us. And since there wasn’t the crush of responsibilities generally pressing down on an executive chef in the restaurant, we were able to have some great conversations.
Steven talked about the gastro-pub trend of the past several years, and about how the public’s growing embrace of craft beers has mirrored his own shift toward a cuisine that is much more approachable and affordable, but still well thought out and crafted. Based on Zimmern’s review, it sounds like Tilia is a perfect realization of Steven’s latest food thoughts, as well as exactly what tons of people (me included) are looking for these days in a restaurant.