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Published October 02, 2013, 07:19 PM

Food Network show episode to focus on Fargo

‘Heartland Table’ to feature segment with Fargo chef
FARGO – If Amy Thielen has any say, the Midwest will be known for more than meat and potatoes.

By: Anna G. Larson, INFORUM

FARGO – If Amy Thielen has any say, the Midwest will be known for more than meat and potatoes.

She’s thinking grilled lamb with African spices and herbed yogurt – after all, some of the best lamb is raised just north of Moorhead.

On Saturday, the Park Rapids, Minn., native and chef focuses on Fargo on her Food Network show, “Heartland Table.” With visits to international markets, a community garden, Doubting Thomas Farms (home to the “amazing” Icelandic lamb) and other local spots, Thielen hopes to illuminate the city’s diverse cuisine and culture.

Besides snippets of her favorite places in the city, the episode features a segment with Fargo chef Andrea Baumgardner. The duo makes crepe-like Icelandic pancakes, or “ponnokukur,” in Baumgardner’s kitchen. The recipe is Baumgardner’s great-grandmother’s, making it a perfect fit for Thielen’s show.

“People don’t give the food that they grew up with enough credit. I know I didn’t when I was younger,” Thielen says. “A lot of our food is pretty straight-forward, and the flavors are strong and clear when you use ingredients that are so great, which is what we have.”

Thielen’s been coming to Fargo since she was a child, and her love for the city’s only grown stronger. Some of her favorite spots are the HoDo, Mezzaluna, JL Beers, Lucy’s North China Cuisine, The Plains Art Museum and ecce: art + yoga.

“And we go to Scheels and ride the Ferris wheel,” she adds, laughing.

Scandinavian-inspired dishes and those influenced by Fargo’s international population are equally as important to Thielen. She marries the flavors with her recipe for Grilled Butterflied Lamb with African Spices and Herbed Yogurt.

“I want people outside of the Midwest to see that the Midwest is a cross-cultural place,” she says. “We’ve attracted a lot of people here, and we’re still attracting a lot of people. Different cultures are making it a richer place, especially the food culture. I want to expose that.”

Fargo impressed Thielen’s team who traveled with her in late June to document the trip. Tanya Bastianich, daughter of TV chef Lidia Bastianich and sister to “Master Chef” Joe Bastianich, and Random House editor Peter Gethers ate well and enjoyed Fargo, Thielen says.

Baumgardner says she’s excited for the episode because it will show how “real” Fargo is.

“I’m really thankful that she chose to take a nuanced approach to Fargo,” she says. “She (Thielen) sees it as a cool place to go and eat and meet people.”

Thielen also authored “The New Midwestern Table” cookbook, which was released Sept. 24.

‘Heartland Table’

WHAT: Episode with focus on Fargo

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. CT Saturday; 4:30 p.m. CT Monday on the Food Network

Online: www.foodnet


Readers can reach Forum reporter Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525