Minnesota Chef of the Year: Daniel del Prado

Daniel del Prado is the 2022 Minnesota Monthly Chef

Photo by Kevin Kramer

No chef embodies the energy the excitement and ambition of the Minnesota food scene like Chef Daniel del Prado. His 2022 would make your head spin: He bought the Bachelor Farmer’s former home, he opened a new 200-seat restaurant on Lake Minnetonka, and he took over all the restaurants at the Rand Tower Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.

Del Prado says his recent successes were all part of his plan. “I remember being a kid and wondering why I couldn’t have a bike like other kids because I was poor,” del Prado told me. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Del Prado’s American dream is part spontaneous “let’s go to Miami”, part skater/snowboarder dude who started cooking in Vail, Colorado, and part romantic who took his then-love to Minneapolis followed.

He became a celebrity chef at Bar La Grassa, helped Isaac Becker open Burch Steak and went on to create Linden Hills hot spot Martina, followed by Colita. Then his restaurant Rosalia got him addicted to pizza. In 2021 he opened Cardamom in the Walker Art Center, Josefina in Wayzata and Sanjusan in the North Loop. This year he opened Macanda in Wayzata (and the hi-fi cocktail bar inside). He has also taken over Bar Rufus, Miaou Miaou and Blondette, all of which are located at the Rand Tower Hotel. Downtown Minneapolis was slow to come back to life after the pandemic, but the Rand Tower kept bustling with activity. And the Macanda is packed, bringing a fresh take on Mexican flavors to the Lake Minnetonka crowd in July.

“I’ve had a busy few years,” del Prado laughed. “When the pandemic hit, I think I was prepared. It sucked – no one can really be prepared – but I believe in this country and I believe in this city and I knew it would come back.”

That optimism is reflected in the $6 million building that del Prado and business partner Ryan Burnet just bought on the Nordschleife. The goal is to bring back the energy of the former Bachelor Farmer reimagined as an Argentinian steakhouse. The inventive cocktails his group is known for will find a home in a new basement bar.

“When I went on my first date with the woman who is now my partner, it was at Bachelor Farmer. I told her what I would be doing in five years and she thought I was crazy. And I did it, and I did more,” he said — a statement that might sound arrogant, but when del Prado said it, it sounded humble and confident.

As a poor child in Buenos Aires, his mother told him that his upbringing made him better prepared for life. Escaping violence and poverty, he embraces the future of the Twin Cities. “And it’s still coming back,” he said.