February 2017 Dinner Meeting and Silent Auction

Arrangements & Program Committees

Click here if you're interested in donating an item for the Silent Auction.


Topic: “Perspectives from the Trench: the triumphs and challenges of starting and running a food business in a vibrant entrepreneurial food community.”

Overview: Food and beverage entrepreneurship is increasing in Minnesota.  Many unmet opportunities on a regional and local level are being seized and addressed by entrepreneurs who are leaving traditional jobs.  In Minneapolis and other Cities around the US and Canada, food incubator kitchens and alternative production spaces are providing the means for small ideas to grow.  Jeff Casper and Kelly McManus from Dumpling and Strand, Noodlers at Large will present some experience based perspectives on preparing and initiating their own food business in the bustling and dynamic Minneapolis food scene.


Jeff Casper holds a B.S. in food science from Iowa State University and an M.S. in Food Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Jeff’s 18 years of food industry experience include product development and management roles at Pillsbury, General Mills, and Cargill, as well as R&D Management and R&D Director roles at Horizon Milling and Cargill, respectively. In June 2015 Jeff resigned from his corporate position to begin his own business, and 18 months later is launching Dumpling and Strand, a fresh pasta and noodle business with the goal of “changing the role of noodles on your plate” by using traditional methods in unconventional ways to create distinctive pasta and noodle products. Dumpling and Strand products launched at local Farmers markets in May 2016 and is making its debut with retailers in Fall 2016. Additionally, Jeff started and operates Mill City Food Solutions, a grain based foods consulting business that helps clients identify, accelerate, and launch commercially relevant innovation opportunities.

Kelly McManus, Brand Designer, Operations, Marketing and Sales. At the age of 9, Kelly created a neighborhood newspaper (aptly named “The Alley”) that featured hand-typed stories about local residents and their home-crafted recipes, amongst other newsworthy delights. The next year she turned her family’s kitchen into a weekly restaurant where she made pretzels to order—no requested shape too outlandish—for her father when he returned from work. From these humble beginnings one thing was clear: entrepreneurship and a zeal for creating unique things would define her future work. Forever curious, her adventures as an adult have been consistently inspired by a passion to create the best of the best in everything she undertakes. Kelly successes include co-owning a local high-end flower shop (Fiori Flowers & Gifts), authoring a children’s picture book (Welcome to the Small World), working as Creative Director for Open Arms of Minnesota (whose sole mission is to prepare and deliver nutritious meals to those with life-threatening illnesses),and establishing her own design agency, McManus Creative, which focuses on value-led branding, experiential events, and marketing for businesses and non-profits nationwide. In her spare time, she also volunteered designing and building sets for Circus Juventas; a skillset that has shown up in Dumpling & Strand’s stage worthy farmers market booth. Kelly’s continual interest in things curious and spectacular has led her here, to the creation and development of one funky brand: Dumpling & Strand.


On-line credit card payment is preferred or you can pay the night of the event if needed. Reservations are due by Wednesday, February 15 at 5:00 PM. If you have special dietary needs such as allergies, gluten free etc, have additional questions or need to cancel please call Lori at 952-887-3602 or email Lori.Lehner@Donaldson.com Please note if you miss the deadline, we may be able to accommodate you. If you cancel after the deadline you are still responsible for payment but please let us know you will not be attending.

NOTE: Everyone needs to register.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

4:00 - 5:00 PM ExComm Meeting
4:30 – 6:00 PM Check-in & Social
4:30 – 6:45 PM Silent Auction
6:00 PM Buffet/Dinner
6:45 PM Speakers
7:45 Questions/Closing Remarks

Pick up Auction Items after Closing Remarks


Members / Non-Members - $35.00

Retiree’s / Displaced Members - $15.00

Students - $5.00

Reservations must be made by Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 5:00 PM


The Metropolitan
5418 Wayzata Blvd
Golden Valley, MN 55416



  • Assorted Cheeses, Meats, Marinated Vegetables and Flatbreads


  • Roasted Beets with Pistachio, Gorgonzola and Orange-Shallot Vinaigrette – (GF + Vegetarian)
  • Freshly Baked D'Amico Breads
  • Pan-Seared Breast of Chicken with Gremolata Sauce – (GF)
  • Sautéed Salmon with Charred Tomato Relish – (GF + Pescatarian)
  • Risotto Cakes with Mushroom Ragout – (Vegetarian)
  • Fire-Roasted Seasonal Vegetables – (GF + Vegetarian)
  • Braised Baby “B” Red Potatoes with Garlic & Rosemary – (GF+ Vegetarian)


  • Assorted Miniature Desserts - to include gluten free options