Chef Paul Berglund takes on culinary director role at Ann Kim’s restaurant group

Chef Paul Berglund (left, photo by Wing Ta) is the new culinary director of Ann Kim's restaurants including Young Joni (right, photo by Dan Murphy)

Chef Paul Berglund (left, photo courtesy of Vestalia Hospitality) is the new culinary director of Ann Kim’s restaurants including Young Joni (right, photo by Dan Murphy)

When James Beard Award–winning chef Paul Berglund left The Bachelor Farmer’s kitchen this August after a successful six-year run, it wasn’t clear when he’d resurface in the Twin Cities dining scene. But just a short month later, the lauded chef is back.

Berglund is taking on the newly created role of culinary director at Vestalia Hospitality, which includes Ann Kim’s restaurants Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola, and Hello Pizza.

“We have three thriving restaurants now, and having one head (me) in charge of everything culinary no longer makes sense,” says Ann Kim, co-owner of Vestalia Hospitality, in a press release. “This doesn’t mean that our existing menus or restaurant visions will change. What it does mean is a new set of eyes to help us raise and push the bar in terms of culinary excellence. Bringing Paul onto our team is an investment in and commitment to leadership—Paul is an excellent mentor as well as a very talented chef. […] I think our organization will ultimately be so much stronger based on what we can learn from one another. We’re going to accomplish lots of exciting things together as a team.”

Kim and Conrad Leifur formed Vestalia Hospitality earlier this year to provide organizational structure for the restaurants and to “lay the groundwork for future growth and expansion,” according to the press release. With this new role, Berglund will help lead the organization into the next phase.

“I am excited about the energy around Vestalia’s people-first culture—that’s what’s truly drawn me to this job,” says Berglund. “Personal growth and learning are really important to me, and this position affords me the opportunity to flex the skills that I want to improve on, and learn other skills that I don’t currently have.”

As culinary director, Berglund will lead Vastalia’s culinary operations, with an emphasis on quality and consistency, menu development, new concept collaborations, as well as coaching and mentoring senior kitchen staff.