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Popular Twin Cities chef got his start in Hudson

Royal Dahlstrom has come a long way since his first job at Dick's Bar and Grill in downtown Hudson.

Today the 1989 Hudson High School graduate is an award-winning chef having cooked in some of the Twin Cities most popular restaurants including Lake Elmo Inn, Ristorante Luci, Portofino, Goodfellows, The California Café, La Toscana, and The Napa Valley Grill. He currently owns and operates a personal catering and culinary consulting firm, Chef Royal- LLC, which provides professional chef services including private parties, in home chef services and cooking classes.

Dahlstrom, the son of Craig and Judie Dahlstrom, grew up in North Hudson. His culinary career started with that job at Dick's. He tried a few other things along the way but knew pretty quickly that he liked making a connection with people through food.

He said he knew he was hooked on cooking when he was working for Joseph's in Stillwater, Minn. "There were two older ladies eating strawberry rhubarb pie and I saw them licking the plates when they were done. It was instant gratification and you don't get that in a lot of jobs," said Dahlstrom.

Dahlstrom, 37, went onto to work at another St. Croix Valley restaurant, Lake Elmo Inn and said he was a student of owner and chef John Schiltz's school of cooking He still considers him a mentor.

Dahlstrom said he has learned from the best and that he has put everything he has learned into his own company. He describes Chef Royal as service and customer driven with a commitment to the finest ingredients from local, sustainable and organic producers.

He said his food defies any "typical style."

"The food I do reflects cuisine from all over the world making use of the ingredients available to me and what I have learned people enjoy."

Dahlstrom said the increase in food prices and the economy in general are taking more and more of a toll on his profit margin but he said it hasn't affected the product he offers. "Clients can only pay so much. We understand that but we are still committed to offering great food and great service."

Dahlstrom said he enjoys the kind of "insider" relationship he has with his clients. "Over the years, people have gotten more knowledgeable about food and they like to understand more about it. I think all the television cooking shows and the information on the web has given people more of an appreciation for what we do and what they eat.

With Chef Royal, Dahlstrom said he has been able to take what he has learned from the restaurants where he has worked and make it a personal experience for clients, often in their own homes.

He also said his career suits his other important job, that of husband to wife Lisa and father to his two children, ages 10 weeks and 2. "I get to take care of them more than if I had the standard 9-5 job." The family lives in northeast Minneapolis.

For more information about Chef Royal go online at or call (612)251-8411.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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