Our Team

 

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Kieran Folliard, Owner & CEO

Kieran has a past...some of which of was creating restaurants and pubs in the Twin Cities, including his former establishments Kieran’s Irish Pub, the Local, Cooper and The Liffey. If you've visited the pubs, you may have had a Kieran sighting. He then founded 2 GINGERS Irish Whiskey in 2011 and more recently, the Food Building, new home to Kieran’s Kitchen Northeast.

Growing up in a rural community in the west of Ireland, Kieran enjoyed the land he once traversed (for the love of running... from trouble or to it, is the question that will remain unanswered along with the other secrets of his youth). He frequented the butcher shop where he went 'down the town' for the rashers (bacon), appreciated and revered the baker (his mother Mary) and would only occasionally take a ride with the hackney car driver (his father, Mick, who went to mass 7 days a week).

Kieran is the same in many ways today. “What can we get up to?” Come to procure and delight in the craft food we make under one roof, down the hall from a salumeria (Red Table Meat Co.), a flour mill and bakery (Baker's Field Flour & Bread), and of course, the creamery (Alemar Cheese Co.)...as what would an Irish childhood have been without a ham and cheese sandwich? (Answer: A hill of spuds)

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Ian Gray, executive Chef

Born and bred in St. Louis Park, MN, Ian credits his grandmother with teaching him the value of putting love and care into cooking, and using honest, simple ingredients to create memorable dishes. He is inspired by his own personal memories of eating and enjoying food with family and friends. As the Executive Chef at Kieran’s Kitchen Northeast, he spends much of his time at farmers markets. His use of fresh, seasonal ingredients shine in his cooking. Ian has won more than his share of awards we can list, but he’s more interested in creating meals that bring people together and make memories.

For lunch, Ian likes to keep it healthy: “It’s usually a big freaking salad!” On the other hand, he has no issue with loading up on ice cream for dessert after dinner. What can we say? Chefs are like that.

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ZAch Dunphy, GENERAL MANAGER & Culinary Director

Zach knows how to build successful restaurants, and has been doing exactly that around the country for over 10 years. At Kieran’s Kitchen Northeast, he sets high standards and keeps everyone moving in the same direction. If you’ve watched people work in a kitchen before, you know that’s no small task. Zach does it well, because he loves the people and the food.

Zach’s dessert of choice is espresso with “something citrus-y, like a lemon tart.” He also thinks there should be a sign on his desk that says “Rojo.” Go figure.

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Anna Wetmore, assistant g.m. - Events operations manager

Anna’s role as Assistant General Manager encompasses managing the cafe, front of house staff, vendors and coordinating with partners throughout Northeast Minneapolis. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Anna has worked within the Twin Cities food community for years and she’s passionate about bringing food concepts to life.

When it comes to her favorite dessert, Anna takes an analytical approach: “I enjoy the classic chocolate chip cookie - it was the first thing I ever learned to bake and I use it as my control group to compare my favorite bakeries!”

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Joel Branson, Assistant G.M - Beverages

Joel joins Kieran’s Kitchen Northeast by way of Brooklyn, NY, where his experience spanned restaurants, cafes and farm-to-table concepts in roles that ranged from General Manager to Consultant. It was in New York where he first crossed paths with the Food Building, working with Red Table Meats. Like many prodigals in the restaurant industry, he found his way back home to Minneapolis and after Zach gave him a tour of the Food Building, he joined the team as Beverage Manager.

Joel oversees the relationships with our Northeast Minneapolis distilleries and breweries, coming up with unique pairings and collaborations with partners in and around the neighborhood.

When it comes to a philosophy for success, Joel keeps it simple: Good food, good drink and good people. We couldn’t agree more.

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Liz Bren, Director of Events

If you decide to book a wedding, party or corporate event at the Food Building, you’ll be working with Liz. The good news is that Liz will make the entire process easy and efficient. The even better news is that the event is going to turn out great.

Liz began her career working with the makers in the Food Building, and she’s now organizing tastings, celebrations and helping people plan one-of-a-kind events and bringing unique food, space and people together.

What’s Liz’s favorite thing to eat for lunch? “Whatever Mike Phillips (Red Table Meat Co.) is cooking for the staff meal. The weekly rotation consists of pasta with salami, ciabatta salami sandwich, sausages, or mortadella sandwich on a bun.” Yum.

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Jeni Kelly, Office Manager/Accounting Administrator

Jeni’s role as Office Manager brings order to the chaos that often accompanies any creative endeavor. She began working with Kieran many years ago, when he was launching 2GINGERS Irish Whiskey, and has been on board ever since then. Her favorite part of her job is the community within the Food Building, and the feeling of being a part of something more than just a job.

True to the farm-to-table spirit of Kieran’s Kitchen Northeast, she is familiar with both the carrot and the stick approaches to keeping balance within the office and uses both effectively. We vastly prefer carrots. They taste better.

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Casey Sullivan, Consumer Experience Associate

It’s not widely known, but it’s considered extraordinarily good luck in the food and beverage business to have a member of your team hail from Tennessee. Thankfully, Kieran’s Kitchen Northeast has Casey Sullivan on staff, so the future looks brighter than ever.

Casey works in operations, assists with the Food Building products and pretty much jumping in whenever help is needed, which keeps her more than sufficiently busy and makes us lucky, indeed.

Casey’s favorite parts of Northeast Minneapolis involve riding her bike to breweries and ice skating in Logan Park.