Chef Mitch Kerfeld

Chef Mitch Kerfeld

CHISHOLM — Minnesota Discovery Center said last Friday it plans to reopen the Rustic Pig restaurant this spring after hiring an Iron Range grown executive chef.

To the disappointment to many on the Iron Range, MDC announced the Rustic Pig would be temporarily closed in October 2019 due to the resignation of its then executive chef Quaid Fetkenheuer who had plans to pursue a different career path to allow him to spend more time with his family. Now, three months later, MDC said it has since hired Chef Mitch Kerfeld to reopen the restaurant on April 17.

“I am eager to showcase my culinary capabilities in a way that reflects the food diversity of our region,” Kerfeld said in a statement. “It is my aspiration to deliver a dining experience that captures and incorporates the bold flavors of northern Minnesota by utilizing local vendors to source fresh farm-to-table ingredients that will leave Rustic Pig patron’s taste buds wanting more.”

The Rustic Pig opened in November of 2018 and soon became known for its unique variety of featured entrees, appetizers and deserts. Its menu also offered vegetarian and gluten free items. Some of the dishes served up there include smoked duck, swordfish, beef wellington and sesame ahi tuna. Live music performed there on Friday nights also proved to be popular with dinner parties.

As for the Rustic Pig’s new head chef, Kerfeld brings 14 years of culinary expertise to his new post. He grew up with a strong passion for cooking — preparing holiday meals for his family since he was a boy. He earned a degree from Hibbing Community College, specializing in food production and management with an emphasis on culinary arts. After his college graduation, Kerfeld went on to work at fine dining restaurants on the east end of the Iron Range.

In 2018, Kerfeld and his wife Kelsey put their culinary creativity to the test, opening the Northern Divide Bar and Eatery — formerly known as Michael’s on the Course. The restaurant is housed inside the clubhouse at the Virginia Golf Course.

MDC Executive Director Donna Johnson said she was excited to welcome Kerfeld on board in Chisholm and commented on his culinary expertise.

“Chef Kerfeld is extremely talented, with an impressive culinary background, and we are confident that visitors, guests, and Iron Range locals will love what he brings to the table,” Johnson said in a statement.

In his new role as head chef, Kerfeld is tasked with overseeing the menus and staff of the Rustic Pig. The restaurant is planning to offer mouthwatering dinner entrées, tasty appetizers, and delicious desserts along with signature cocktails.

In addition, Kerfeld’s responsibilities will include banquet operations, special events, and catering services for the MDC’s high-profile events, including weddings, concerts, corporate meetings, and other exclusive venue rentals.

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