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Chef Spotlight: Executive Chef Paul Nimens

Meet the Executive Chef of 701 Eateries!

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The Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo community is full of talent, especially in the culinary industry. Talented folks from all over bring with them different and unique backgrounds, skills and passions to our area. And we want to take you inside their culinary masterminds. Let’s meet our community’s chefs in our Chef Spotlight!

Q: Where are you from? Does that have any influence on your career in the industry?

A: East Grand Forks Minnesota. I think it has a lot to do with my career; small town, local voice. I’m influenced to bring local farmers and producers to the forefront of everything I do.

Q: In your opinion, what makes a great meal?

A: So many things make a meal a great meal; the food, for one, the company, the atmosphere, the service, etc. We try to give it to every guest. Each meal is its own experience and a new opportunity each time.

Q: What dishes/foods/cooking styles do you specialize in?

A: Modern American, with heavy Italian/Nordic influence.

Q: How did you learn to cook?

A: From my grandmother and father, both amazing cooks, and also the reason I became a chef. It was my dad’s dream to be a chef, so in a way, I get to honor them every day with what I do.

Q: Are you working on or have you worked on any special dishes at 701 that you are proud of?

A: I’m currently working on a new menu, and features for the future, but I’m mostly excited about a corona bean, tilefish and tomato dish, it’s in the works but coming soon.

Q: What drives you as a chef?

A: The personal expectation to be better. We use a phrase in the kitchen, “Suck Less,” and I know that sounds harsh, but if I don’t push myself harder than I need to, it will never be good enough.

Q: Is there an at-home recipe you could share with our readers?

A: Zeppole: Italian ricotta doughnuts

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 cup ricotta cheese (full fat)

2 large eggs

Canola oil or vegetable oil for deep frying

Cinnamon sugar for dusting

  1. In a Medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar, then set aside.
  1. In a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, or your hands, beat together the eggs and the ricotta cheese just until fairly smooth.
  1. Stir the flour mixture into the ricotta mixture until thoroughly combined.
  1. In a large heavy pot or a dutch oven, pour in enough oil to reach 2 inches high and heat to 375 degrees. A candy thermometer comes in handy in order to get the right temperature and to ensure the oil does not drop under 350 degrees while you are frying between batches. If the oil is not hot enough, the doughnuts will be too soggy, and if it is too hot, then the outside will darken quickly leaving the inside under-cooked.
  1. Use a 1 1/2 inch scoop or 2 small spoons to drop bits of dough into the hot oil.
  1. Fry the zeppole for about 2 to 3 minutes, turning often until they are puffed, fluffy and golden brown.
  1. Larger-sized doughnuts will need extra time. Use a slotted spoon to remove the zeppole from the pan and drain them on paper towels. Repeat until you have used up all the batter.
  1. Sprinkle or toss in cinnamon and sugar and try not to eat all of them.
701 FinalLogo 01 01

701 N University Dr, Fargo
(701) 532-0734

Written by Geneva Nodland

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