A Day in the Life of a World-Class Chef

André Carrilho

See what Gavin Kaysen, formerly of Café Boulud, has on his docket since opening Bellecour on Lake Minnetonka.

Nearly three years ago Gavin Kaysen, the former executive chef of New York’s Café Boulud, moved back home to Minneapolis to open downtown’s Spoon and Stable, his ode to American cooking. Now he returns to French cuisine with Bellecour, his dazzling new bistro and bakery on the shore of Lake Minnetonka. Here’s how the city’s prodigal son spends an anything-but-average day.

10:33 A.M.
“Eighty percent of my job is dealing with restaurant logistics,” says Gavin Kaysen, who on this day starts his morning at Bellecour with an hour-long video conference discussing the business.

11:35 A.M.
Kaysen, 38, drives his Mercedes-Benz to Spoon and Stable, where preparation is happening for the restaurant’s Synergy Series, which brings world-class chefs to town for a charity dinner. Chef Grant Achatz of Chicago’s Alinea will be cooking at S&S the next two nights. The 160 tickets sold out in 38 seconds at up to $450 per head.

11:58 A.M.
At S&S, Kaysen runs into his gardener. They chat about
the restaurant’s herb garden out front.

12:03 P.M.
“Let’s get rolling!” Kaysen says to the 13 S&S employees gathered for the managers’ meeting. The team starts talking: “We don’t have many dietary restrictions tonight....” “For Sunday brunch, a group wants scrambled eggs for the kids....”

12:43 P.M.
With the meeting over, Kaysen checks on the microgreens growing in S&S’s basement. Achatz texts Kaysen: His plane is delayed out of Chicago.

1:59 P.M.
Kaysen is back at Bellecour for an 11-person managers’ meeting. The debate: whether to impose a bakery preorder minimum, as people have figured out they can skip the line simply by preordering one croissant.

3:37 P.M.
“I should eat,” says Kaysen, who, ironically, hasn’t had a bite all day. As if on cue, he’s told it’s time to taste tomorrow night’s special: the black truffle explosion burger. Kaysen requests that his chef add something pickled to it.

3:41 P.M.
“I have to set up my station,” says Kaysen. He’ll be in Bellecour’s kitchen for the night, primarily directing. “The cooks, dishwashers, the servers, the runners—so many systems make a restaurant happen.”

5:00 P.M.
Dinner at Bellecour begins, as does dinner at Spoon and Stable. “I’ll get home around midnight,” Kaysen says, “and do it all over again tomorrow.”