Twin Cities on a Plate: “Relish” Explores Food & Culture

by Isabella Silva-Biotti

Food is a language, a universal connector that brings people together. We recently had the opportunity to attend an exclusive preview event hosted by TPT for their upcoming Epicurious culinary series, “Relish“! Treated to delicious food courtesy of Union Hmong Kitchen, we also got to hear from the passionate chefs who will be featured throughout the series. 

Hosted by acclaimed Chef Yia Vang and produced by TPT filmmakers Brittany Shrimpton and Amy Melin, the upcoming six-episode series dives into the vibrant tapestry of Twin Cities’ cuisine, exploring its immigrant and native roots while celebrating its transformation into a diverse cultural food hub. 

This new series isn’t just about food – it’s about the stories it tells. Not too long ago, immigrant families arrived with a suitcase full of memories and a yearning for familiar flavors in a city devoid of diverse restaurants. Fast forward to today, and the Twin Cities have blossomed into a vibrant food hub, a testament to the enduring power of tradition and the welcoming embrace of new experiences. 

📸 Mateo Peralta | NewPrensa

This series pulls back the curtain on the passionate individuals who fuel this culinary explosion. The array of local food artisons include: Sean Sherman of Owamni; John Ng of Zen Box Izakaya; Milissa Silva of El Burrito Mercado; Alec and Fiona of Potter’s Pasties; Aubry and Kale Walch of The Herbivorous Butcher; Linda Black Elk from North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS); Kotiareen Taylor and Mariam Omari of K’s Revolutionary Catering and More; Belén Rodríguez of Quebracho Empanadas; Yameen and Sheilla Sajady of Maazah; Nels Thompson who runs Bethlehem Lutheran Church’s annual Lutefisk dinner; Hai Truong who is the former chef/owner of Ngon Bistro; Nick and Orest Kramarczuk of Kramarczuk’s Sausage Co. Inc.; and Veronica Skinaway and Michaa Aubid who are manoomin (rice) gatherers. 

We’ll meet those who believe in the power of accessible, locally-sourced ingredients, fostering a deep connection to the land that nourishes us. Ethnobotanist and food sovereignty activist Linda Black Elk further emphasizes this point: “We probably found over 30 edible and medicinal plants (in downtown Minneapolis) and that’s something I really like people to know, that we’re constantly surrounded by food and medicine no matter where we’re at,” and building a relationship with these plants can change our lives, regardless of our background.

‘Relish’ isn’t just about the stories behind the food; it’s about the stories woven into the land itself. It’s about celebrating the bounty of the Twin Cities and the passionate individuals who cultivate it  – a legacy passed down from generation to generation, a bridge between ancestors and future feasts. 

📸 Mateo Peralta | NewPrensa

The Twin Cities’ culinary landscape thrives on this continuous influx of new stories and traditions.  Many more people continue to migrate here, bringing with them the soulful cooking of their lineage. Food as a language goes beyond mere sustenance; it’s a way to comfort oneself and others, a form of experimentation and defiance. Each dish becomes an eye-opener, a bonding experience between cook and diner. It’s an intimate journey that whispers of untapped histories, stories held sacred by those who create these culinary masterpieces. 

Prepare to laugh, to be moved, and to be inspired. This series is a passport to a world of flavors simmering right in your own backyard. So, get ready to embark on a journey where diverse cultures come together on a single plate, united by the universal language of food.

All six episodes of Relish will be available for streaming on the PBS App starting May 10, offering viewers an early taste of the series before it airs on TPT2 later this fall.

“Relish” Series Trailer 📸 TPT

Hi, friend: Isabella and Mateo here! 
We’re Communications Specialists by day and exploring Twin Cities food by night!

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