The American Swedish Institute Names New Executive Chef of FIKA Café
Blake Meier Named Executive Chef of FIKA Café at the American Swedish Institute
FIKA Executive Chef Blake Meier
Minneapolis, Minn. (Sept. 23, 2016) – The American Swedish Institute (ASI), with FIKA Café and Slate & Stone Catering managed by Culinaire International, announced today that Blake Meier was named Executive Chef of the award-winning FIKA Café. Meier, who most recently was Executive Chef at Bradstreet Neighborhood Craftshouse, says he is thrilled to continue refining his expertise at FIKA with his favorite style of cuisine. FIKA is known for its lunches, pastries, the food and cocktails at ASI’s signature events and new Nordic dining with such iconic dishes as Swedish meatballs and gravlax. The ASI works in partnership with the Dallas-based Culinaire, which also operates the Guthrie’s Sea Change and Walker Art Center’s forthcoming Esker Grove restaurant. The ASI is located at 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis. For more information, visit ASImn.org or call 612-871-4907.
Chef Meier has been working in the culinary industry for more than a decade at places including Porter & Frye, D’Amico catering and Metropolitan Clubs. As part of Graves Hospitality, he worked at Cosmos, managed the opening and ran operations at Bradstreet Neighborhood Craftshouse. At FIKA, Meier replaces former Chef John Krattenmaker who left in August to explore other ways to pursue his craft. FIKA at the American Swedish Institute is an award-winning café that brings the best of new Nordic-inspired cuisine to Minneapolis-St.Paul. FIKA offers a seasonally-inspired menu dedicated to regional ingredients and Nordic traditions. In Sweden, Fika is a both a daily break, traditionally involving coffee and treats, and a social institution, where friends and work colleagues gather to chat about life and current events.
Under Culinaire’s management, FIKA and Slate and Stone, the ASI’s exclusive caterer, provide food service for all ASI events—both ASI-sponsored and private. They are the driving force behind the food and beverages featured in such popular ASI events as “Cocktails at the Castle” and food/drink related tours of exhibitions and the Turnblad Mansion. In addition, they provide food for weddings, corporate meetings and other gatherings held at ASI. At FIKA, guests can also enjoy espresso, house-made pastries and aquavit, artful salads and modern interpretations of open-face sandwiches while enjoying a full view of the Mansion and access to the outdoor courtyard of the new Nelson Cultural Center.
Meier got his first job in a kitchen at a fast food restaurant washing dishes. He quickly moved up the ranks to bussing tables and wait-assisting. Meier became a chef at D’Amico catering in 2009 where he worked his way through college and earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the Art
Institutes in Minneapolis. At D’Amico, Meier fell in love with the art of cooking. In 2011, Meier earned a position at Porter & Frye (now Monello) working with James Winberg. He has also been involved in several freelance graphic design projects, including creating the logo designs for Travail Kitchen and Amusements. When the new Twins stadium opened, Meier was recruited as the sous chef in the Metropolitan Clubs. After three seasons, Meier accepted a position at Cosmos in the Graves Hotel. Starting as a daytime line cook, his dedication, passion and creativity quickly propelled him to chef de cuisine. Working under executive chef and mentor John Occhiato, he became adept at seasonal menu development, sourcing local ingredients and successfully implementing a fine dining, coursed dinner. ASI and Culinaire now welcome Meier’s talent and experience.
Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Wednesday 8:30 a.m.– 8 p.m.
Saturday 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
The lunch menu is available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday. On Wednesdays, dinner is served from 3 until 8 p.m. FIKA does not take call-ahead reservations, but offers on-site text messaging to inform diners that their table is ready, and allowing guests to explore the historic Turnblad Mansion, ASI exhibitions and ASI Museum Store prior to dining.
THE AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUTE is a vibrant arts and cultural organization, museum and historic home located at 2600 Park Avenue near downtown Minneapolis. ASI is a gathering place for all people to share experiences around themes of culture, migration, the environment and the arts, informed by enduring ties to Sweden. The Wall Street Journal called ASI “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming.” For information, visit www.ASImn.org or call 612-871-4907.
ASI MUSEUM HOURS: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: Noon–5 p.m.; Wednesday, Noon-8 p.m.; Saturday. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, Noon-5 p.m., closed Monday.
Museum Admission: $10 adults, $7 ages 62 +, $5 ages 6–18 and full-time students with ID. Free for ASI members and kids ages 5 and under.
The ASI MUSEUM STORE is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m. –5 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. –8 p.m. Sunday, Noon-5 p.m.