Guthrie Theater Restaurants Select Lenny Russo of Heartland as New Executive Chef

Guthrie Theater Restaurants, operated by Bon Appétit Management Company, bring in Lenny Russo of Heartland as executive chef

Minneapolis, MN (March 2, 2006) – The Guthrie Theater is pleased to announce that Bon Appétit Management Company has hired Lenny Russo for the position of Executive Chef of the restaurants at the new Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

The two new restaurants, to open June 27th 2006, are operated for the Guthrie by Bon Appétit Management Company, a food service provider that specializes in locally and sustainably sourced foods. Lenny Russo, also known for his innovative approach to working directly with local farmers who provide seasonal and artisanal products from the region, will maintain his ownership stake in his restaurant Heartland, while devoting 100 percent of his time to the new restaurants at the Guthrie.

As a premier cultural destination for Minneapolis and surrounding areas, the Guthrie’s vision was to offer guests a world-class dining experience that reflects the proud culinary heritage and the bounty of the Midwest. The combination of Bon Appétit’s experience in managing restaurants focused on sustainable, authentic foods and Chef Russo’s excellence in presenting the best of local farmers was ideal for all parties.

The restaurants will offer cuisine drawing on classical techniques and preparations, showcasing artisanal food producers from around the region to create a dynamic food experience with a sense of place. Guthrie patrons will enjoy fine, but not pretentious, food in a relaxed atmosphere with timely and attentive service.

“We are thrilled to have such an exciting team in Bon Appétit and Lenny Russo, and we look forward to creative cuisine being a part of the experience at the new Guthrie,” said Joe Dowling, Artistic Director for the Guthrie.

The main restaurant, Cue, has a street entrance on the ground level of the theater. Cue will serve modern cuisine with a focus on local flavors and foods, with à la carte dining lunch and dinner, full bar, six days a week.

Level 5 Café will offer light lunch service and pre-theater dining, with quick service prix-fixe menu items and lighter fare. Patrons will enjoy two full service bars in the lobby dining area, as well as several service bars in other areas of the theater.

In working with the Bon Appétit team, Chef Russo sees an opportunity to continue to expand his network of farmers while being able to create more opportunities for those farmers and artisans who currently supply him by bringing their products to the new Guthrie.

“It is an honor to accept the opportunity to help create the new restaurants for the venerable Guthrie Theater. Joining Bon Appétit is a natural fit as its ‘Farm to Fork’ program is consistent with my values of working cooperatively with small farmers and of encouraging sustainable and traditional agricultural practices,” said Chef Lenny Russo.

Bon Appétit’s Farm to Fork program stipulates that chefs source as much food as possible directly from farmers and artisan producers within a radius of 150 miles of the restaurant where it is served. These food sourcing methods help keep small farmers in business, contributing to the local economy while showcasing authentic, fresh and delicious foods to restaurants guests.

Bon Appétit restaurants in the Minneapolis region include Carlson Companies, Target Corporation and the Minnesota History Center. The company is also experienced in specialty venues, with restaurants in the Getty Center, Los Angeles, de Young Museum, San Francisco, Art Institute of Chicago, Seattle Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth all featuring seasonal foods selected by the chef and sourced directly from local farmers.

About the Guthrie Theater
The Guthrie Theater was founded in 1963 by Sir Tyrone Guthrie as a prototype for a new kind of theater in the United States that would perform plays with the highest professional standards. In contrast to the commercial environment of Broadway, the Guthrie is dedicated to producing the great works of literature, to cultivating artists’ talents and nourishing the audience. Joe Dowling, the Theater’s Artistic Director since 1995, has led the Guthrie to unprecedented growth; subscriptions having reached an all-time high, and he has led the campaign for the new Guthrie -a national center for theater arts and theater education.

About Bon Appétit Management Company
Bon Appétit Management Co. is an onsite restaurant company offering full food service management by providing café and catering service to corporations, universities and specialty venues. Bon Appétit is committed to sourcing sustainable, local food supplies for all cafés throughout the country. Bon Appétit develops its sustainable sourcing practices through joint programs with Environmental Defense, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, and other respected conservation organizations. Based in Palo Alto, CA Bon Appétit has more than 190 cafés in 26 states.