Lenny Russo is Executive Chef at Heartland Restaurant in Lowertown Saint Paul. We caught up with the award-winning chef to ask him a few questions about food, music and his love of Saint Paul.
What's the biggest mistake you've ever made in a professional kitchen?
I drove a cleaver into my hand while butchering an elk shoulder just prior to serving a private party for 50 high rollers.
What is the dish or technique that you think put you on the map?
Local and sustainable Midwestern foods, especially house-made charcuterie
What's your least favorite thing to cook?
While I am very sensitive to dietary restrictions, I'd say it's any dish that has been altered from its original design to be gluten- or lactose-free.
What would you want to be your last meal?
Pasta with porcinis, truffled squab, fruit, cheese, bread, Umbrian olive oil, Sassicaia 1985
Ingredient/trend you'd be happy to have just go away?
Molecular gastronomy just for the sake of itself. It certainly has a place in our kitchens, but doing something just because we can seems self indulgent to me.