Becker resident Troy Verley is parlaying his love of cooking into a delectable experience for his clients.
As an Executive Chef, Verley has carved out a niche for himself by providing fine dining experiences across Central Minnesota.
“I have friends who are involved in the United Way charity and several years ago they asked if I would cook for a progressive dinner,” Verley recalls. “That was the first time I ever did that for other people and now I’ve continued doing charity dinners.”
What Verley soon found out was that his talents far surpassed even his own expectations, and soon he was getting invitations to provide delicious cuisine for private parties in people’s homes and other venues.
“It just kind of grew from there,” Verley says. “My business grew by word of mouth and now I’m getting recommended for dinner parties. The last one I did was a murder mystery and that was a ton of fun.”
As an Executive Chef, Verley is in charge of the entire experience, from planning the menu and doing the grocery shopping to cooking and plating the food.
Verley’s interest in cooking came about because of his keen interest in trying to learn to cook authentic BBQ.
“That’s when I learned that there is a science behind it and cooking is much more involved that I thought it would be,” Verley says. “I started researching and learned about temperatures and other factors that influence the taste of food and it really fascinated me.”
While he would love to make his passion into a full-time career, he is still working as a carpenter while his side hustle continues to build momentum.
Later this month on January 26, he will be debuting his skills at the Palmer House by offering a fine dining experience.
He and Palmer House co-owner Paul Braun are both combat Veterans who served together overseas and their shared experience led to an eventual reunion and the chance to offer the unique experience right here in Sherburne County.
“We want to bring a fine dining experience to the Palmer area and not have people need to drive to the cities where it is getting dangerous,” Braun says. “We are going to do this once a month, but still have the great food that we are known for.”
Verley served in the Army and National Guard for 20 years, including four deployments to Iraq.
“Paul and I served together and stayed in touch mostly through friends of friends,” Verley says. “Then in the last couple of years, he and I became a bit closer and now I’m really excited to partner with him to offer this experience.”
Verley says that the plan is to offer familiar foods, yet combine those with some new creations.
“We will keep some familiar flavors and then throw in something that people might not have seen before,” says Verley. “For example, for the dessert I am doing a red wine poached pear and I don’t know anyone that has probably ordered that before.”
The reservations required event will start with 16 time-staggered seatings and will include the full service one could expect at a fine dining establishment. Even before the first food has been served, the concept has been a huge hit.
“We sold out the January event in just three days, and people are fascinated with us being able to bring something new to the community,” Braun says. “We’ve had people calling and asking to make reservations for the February event even before they know what the menu will be.”
That enthusiasm is something that Verley is excited to tap into as he conjures up his ideas.
“The plan is that the customers will have a chance to interact with me, as I will be explaining the courses and how each was prepared,” Verley says. “I’m very excited for the opportunity and we want to make it an experience that they will remember.”