The Tower, Minn., property is ringing in 2016 with a new executive chef and food and beverage director.
Fortune Bay Resort Casino in Tower, Minn., recently doubled down on its commitment to ensure guests enjoy every morsel of their visits by recruiting new Executive Chef Kirstie Kern and new Food and Beverage Director Conor Barrett, the Virginia, Minn.-based Hometown Focus reported.
“In an age when restaurants are catering to foodies and craft beers, we are focusing on offering favorites and doing so really well,” said Barrett, who oversees Sunset Steakhouse, Tamarack Buffet, Gold Mine Grill, and the North Star Bar. “That means getting back to scratch cooking, back to basics. We don’t want to be everything to everyone—we want to do what we do really well and give our guests great food at a value price.”
That starts with a genuine love of cooking. “When I was young, my grandma and mom taught me how to cook. It’s something that I have been passionate about as long as I can remember,” Kern said.
Kern has put her money where her mouth is; with more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, she has honed her culinary skills while also gaining valuable knowledge of budgeting, marketing, hiring and training staff, and opening new venues, Focus reported.
Taking on the helm of Fortune Bay’s diverse portfolio of dining establishments was “an easy choice for me because it will give me the opportunity to be creative,” Kern said.
Menus will evolve with the seasons, concentrating on classic dishes and cocktails while sprinkling in some newer, more modern twists. Signature items such as Sunset’s dry- aged steaks, Red Lake walleye, and Nett Lake wild rice will continue to be standouts, Focus reported.
Kern is also passionate about sharing her skills and enthusiasm with everyone on her team. “She’s giving hands-on individual training, similar to house culinary classes,” Barrett said. “The guys and gals in the kitchen appreciate her humble, nurturing approach.”
“I love to teach,” Kern affirmed, “and being at Fortune Bay will allow me to do more of that. We have a lot of young talent on our team, and I look forward to helping them develop in their careers.”
“It comes down to good classic food, a fair price, and then the extra customer services; doing the little things go above and beyond,” Barrett said to Focus. “It might seem easy to say ‘no’ when you’re busy, but if a customer wants something, maybe breakfast when we’re serving the lunch menu, we will go the extra mile to please them.
“If we are not always evaluating our offerings and keeping things fresh, we are going to get passed by, and I’m not interested in getting passed by anyone,” Barrett said.