Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Dec. 17, 2001

New Blue Note chefs bring variety of ideas

By Ryan Gueningsman

Two experienced chefs have been added to the staff at the Blue Note in Winsted.

Matthew Peltier, originally from Boston, and David Smith, originally from Minneapolis, both answered an advertisement seen in the paper for a chef position.

"It's not very common to see an ad in a paper specifically for a chef, so I decided to check into it, and I really liked what I saw," Smith said.

Peltier echoed Smith's feelings.

"I really am impressed so far with the people here, and the town is just great," Peltier said.

Blue Note owner Jeff Campbell said that the decision was made to expand staff, and hire people in the kitchen who would bring their own ideas to improve the menu, and quality of food.

Peltier has been fortunate to travel all around the world, learning different culinary styles and techniques.

Throughout his travels, he has also enjoyed working with some very experienced and well-known chefs.

He is proud to say that he learned how to make his Alfredo pasta from a chef who learned from Alfredo himself, the man that created it.

Spending 15 years in Alaska as a cook, Peltier decided to head to the Duluth/ Two Harbors area, where he had a lot of immediate family members.

Peltier was working a job at Izaty's Resort on Mille Lacs Lake when he saw the ad for the Blue Note.

"I've now been at the Blue Note for about four months and am really enjoying it. I live in Hutchinson, and really am self-taught as far as cooking," Peltier said.

"My mother always said I had cooking in my blood - my grandfather was a chef at the Ritz Carlton in Boston," he said.

His co-worker in the kitchen, David Smith, has also traveled around the country - everywhere from Florida to Alaska.

He studied at the Armed Forces Culinary Arts Gourmet School in Maryland, and had a classmate there who went on to become the chief steward for Air Force One when Ronald Reagan was president.

He has also been at the Blue Note since the end of August, and said he enjoys the people and the town.

"The first day I was in town, after I met with Craig and Jeff, (Campbell, owners of the Blue Note) I just drove around the area for at least an hour and a half," Smith said.

"The town is so picturesque, almost Norman Rockwell picturesque. I really like it," he said.

Both chefs want to encourage Blue Note patrons to try something new.

"We could tell this is a meat and potatoes community - and that's a good thing - but we wanted to dare risk being a little more adventuresome, and we really hope to get a lot of people to try new things," Smith said.

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