Meet Tastemaker Paul Berglund of The Bachelor Farmer
Paul Berglund is the Swedish-American executive chef of The Bachelor Farmer, and a 2014 James Beard Award finalist. Specializing in farmhouse-inspired fare that is sourced locally, The Bachelor Farmer is an authentic yet modern take on Minnesota’s Scandinavian heritage, and its success has brought national attention to the burgeoning Minneapolis culinary scene.
Was there been a pivotal moment where you decided to be a chef?
I was reaching the final year of my obligation to the U.S. Navy and went through a proper self-led life goals/career/values assessment, which even included reading What Color Is Your Parachute? , if I recall correctly. I whittled my career search down to 2 professions: park ranger and chef. I chose a profession that is still very dear to me. The people that I work with have become the richest part of the experience. I would have had to get good at talking to owls if I chose differently.
What’s your favorite food?
No way. Can’t do it. I’ll list 5: Lox and bagels (that was 1), peanut butter, BLTs, bibimbap, dark chocolate
Tell us about your favorite J.W. Hulme product picks.
The American Heritage duffle bag fills me with a genuine impulse to take a trip just to use it. The Classic tote elevates weekend outings around town to events. My Classic Bi-fold wallet, a gift from my wife, Kelli, has a great patina on it now and just feels good whenever I use it.
What is important to you about supporting small business or American-made brands.
My first intentional Made in the USA purchase was a Cannondale commuting bike about 12 years ago. Slowly, ever since, I have made it part of the process of choosing what I buy. It’s hard, frankly, to do it. It’s not cheap and it often limits your options significantly. It matters, though. The more people that understand the process of hands-on creation of the goods that touch our lives, the more connection that we have with the world around us. Not too long ago, we understood in a deeper way the value and source of the food that we ate, the clothes that we wore, and the goods that were the backdrop of our lives. That fostered community and social responsibility. Those are good things to shoot for as we look ahead.
What inspires you?
Nature inspires me. It connects me with the seasons, which influence our food in a significant way. Knowing that a better way to do things exists inspires me to keep looking for those ways. The idea that eating can bring joy to people inspires me.
Tell us about the culinary community in the Twin Cities and how you work inside of it.
The culinary community in town is an incredibly warm and supportive one. The chefs that I have met since moving to Minneapolis have really taught me how good it feels to be warmly welcomed. I hope that I can do the same for others, when given the chance.