The Real Deal: Kirsten Gjesdal

By Natalie Slieter

Kirsten Gjesdal has always loved food. As owner of The Carrot Seed Kitchen Co., she’s able to share that passion through her inventory, cooking classes, and everyday conversations with customers. 

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First, what is The Carrot Seed Kitchen Co. and what does the store offer?

Kirsten Gjesdal: The Carrot Seed Kitchen Co. is the everyday chef’s dream store, located in downtown Brookings. We have a huge variety of kitchen gadgets from whisks to vegetable peelers and cookie cutters, textiles like towels and aprons, pots and pans, unique decor, delicious food including locally made treats, storage solutions, quality knives, cookbooks, and more. We also offer cooking classes throughout the year covering a variety of topics. 

Why did you open the store? What inspired you to do so?

KG: I always had the desire to build my own business, but figured it would happen later on in life. After attending an inspiring event on local entrepreneurs, I started taking my dream more seriously and really considered viable options. Fortunately, my love of cooking and food matched the needs of the Brookings community really well. Our town needed a local source for quality kitchenware items and I needed more control over my future. I wanted to build a life I could be proud of while positively impacting my community. The Carrot Seed allows me to do that and brings me so much joy! 

What are some of your favorite products at the store? What do you need to have in your own kitchen?

KG: My favorite products are long lasting, thoughtfully manufactured, and beautifully designed items like Le Creuset enameled cast iron, Wusthof knives, USA Pan baking sheets, and Caldrea cleaning products. My favorite tools from The Carrot Seed that I frequently use at home include an All-Clad immersion blender, a variety of Epicurean cutting boards, and a paring and chef’s knife from Wusthof. I’ve also worked up quite the collection of pretty towels and useful gadgets. Oh, and coffee! I drink lots and lots of locally roasted Kool Beans Coffee. 

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Tell me about the cooking classes. How often do these occur? Who teaches the classes?

KG: Cooking classes are a ton of fun! We offer about 25 classes a year that cover a range of topics. We’ve done everything from Indian cuisine to lefse to vegetable noodles and beyond. The instructors are local chefs, dietitians, farmers and passionate home cooks. We’ll have our spring schedule posted online by mid-December.

What do you love to cook?

KG: My favorite meal to make is butternut squash macaroni and cheese. It has a really rich squash-based cheese sauce with a little nutmeg and cayenne. We like using goat cheese for the sauce, but you can use cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, or whatever you need to clean out of the fridge. The dish makes a perfect fall or early winter comfort food with a good helping of vitamin A!

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Read the full interview in the November issue or click here