THAT IS SOME INCREDIBLE SOUP! WHOSE BEHIND THIS MASTERPIECE?

That...is one big pot of soup. It's not just any soup though; it's a delicious Dill Pickle Soup that you can find at The Kitchen at Copper Pony in Sauk Rapids. Oh! You can't miss it. It's the big brand new beautiful building at the four-way stop on Benton Drive. If you haven't been inside the Copper Pony at their new location yet, you should treat yourself to this unique location, and find some incredible hidden gems inside.

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I stopped by with a friend a few weeks ago for coffee with a friend, I had no idea they had an expanded kitchen that includes breakfast and lunch items as well!

I was so impressed with their food, unbelievably unique and tasty sandwiches, and friendly and helpful staff, that I asked the Copper Pony Chef to sit down and chat about her experience at The Copper Pony.

Photo by Kelly Cordes
Photo by Kelly Cordes
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MEET SARAH ANDERSON

Kelly: Sarah, you are really a talented Chef! I love your creations. Tell me a little bit about yourself?

Sarah: I am a Becker girl and graduated from Grand Canyon University in Arizona with my Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2010. As a single Mom, I raised my son here in the St. Cloud area. My hobbies include cooking, playing saxophone, gardening (especially herbs) freehand painting, and thrift store shopping.

Kelly: Sarah, you used to work at Jules' Bistro in St. Cloud where you met Julie Mische (Jules) in 2014. You both realized that your passion for creative cooking and her bistro could be a match made in "bistro heaven!" Julie hired you as her Chef and that's where you realized you had a talent for cooking. Unfortunately, you had to take a leave of absence from your dream job in 2017. What happened?

Photo by Kelly Cordes
Photo by Kelly Cordes
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Sarah: I've always had an interest in creating healthy soups, sauces, and sandwiches with combinations of fresh seasonal garden items. Shortly after the new owner took over Jules' Bistro, I had to take a leave of absence to treat chronic Lyme Disease that I had been battling for some time. (By the way, May is Lyme Awareness Month and it is good for people to know they should be aware of ticks because we are in one of the most endemic areas here in central Minnesota. It can really devastate a person's life when it goes untreated. I know it did mine.)

Kelly: You are now back doing what you love. How long did it take for you to get through those difficult times?

Sarah: After a couple of years of focusing on my health, I was able to work part-time. I worked seasonally at an organic orchard and then added in some part-time cleaning. I eventually made my way back to the restaurant industry with work as a prep cook. This past September shortly before the Copper Pony opened, I met Benjamin Plante, COpper Pony's Culinary Director and Head Baker, along with Josh Hoffman and Brandon Johnson, owners of Copper Pony. Once again, our talents, passions, and customer focus clicked! I am honored to now be their Copper Pony Chef. I have really been enjoying putting my creative culinary passion to work again.

Photo by Kelly Cordes
Photo by Kelly Cordes
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Kelly: Tell me about the awesome team you have in the kitchen at the Copper Pony.

Sarah: I would love to! We do have an awesome team in the kitchen at Copper Pony. Benjamin Plante is our Culinary Director and Head Baker. He's a Duluth native, who recently relocated back to Minnesota from North Caroline to help launch The Kitchen at Copper Pony. Looking to be closer to family, he wanted to get back to what he loved, which was baking. His background in food styling and sock design gives him a unique creative perspective on operating The Kitchen at Copper Pony. His specialties are cakes, and cookies, which sometimes come with a twist.

Photo by Kelly Cordes
Photo by Kelly Cordes
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Lydia Godfry is our Baker and came to Sauk Rapids a little over a decade ago from North Dakota with her husband. She has a strong background in food, working throughout the industry, ranging from barista to line cook to baker. Her specialties include world fare, traditional Mennonite baked goods, and putting her personal touch on all the delicious scones at The Kitchen at Copper Pony.

Patty Partch is our Kitchen Assistant and came to The Kitchen at Copper Pony with over 40 years of experience at Perkin's serving a variety of roles from waitress to district manager. Her experience is the definition of a 'Jack-of-all-trades' and helps out in any area of need. Quick with advice and ready to problem solve, Patty can be found most early mornings helping prep for the day.

Photo by Kelly Cordes
Photo by Kelly Cordes
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Kelly: How does your background affect what you make?

Sarah: My gardening hobby, and cooking in a "farm to table" manner, has always kept my creative juices flowing. Knowing that the tastiest ingredients are fresh and in season.

Kelly: When did you realize this was your dream?

Sarah: When I worked for Jules and could actually get feedback from the public on my creations. It was very satisfying and kept driving me to experiment and create. It is always a blessing to be able to make a living doing something you love.

Kelly: What are your specialties, or favorite things to create?

Sarah: My favorite things to cook are soups and chili variations. Especially ones that I just create as I cook them. I enjoy just letting my creative intuition be my guide, and with soup and chili, the combinations are endless with what you can create. That's when I'm in my zone.

Kelly: What do you see for your future?

Sarah: I hope to grow in my craft with the Copper Pony family. I plan to help expand their catering division, including a possible food truck, and I would love to someday write a soup and chili cookbook.

Kelly: What can people expect when they stop by The Copper Pony for breakfast or lunch?

Sarah: For our morning commuters, we have a variety of hot and cold coffee/tea options, along with iwth our own made-in-house baked goods of cookies, scones, various bread, and oatmeals. Our lunch offerings cover everything from hot and cold sandwiches, unique soups daily, delicious pasta salads, and more of our great baked goods, including our cakes. The hot sandwiches are available daily until 3 pm.

Kelly: What are the hours of The Kitchen at Copper Pony, and some other details of what's happening at The Copper Pony?

Sarah: Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm, and Sundays from 9 am to 4 pm.  Our customers can look forward to outdoor patio seating coming this spring and summer, and we will also be back at Munsinger Gardens this year, selling home plant and garden supplies along with a small selection of our sandwiches, coffee, tea, and sweet treats. We also have weekly specials.

  • Mondays- Buy any cup of coffee and get a cookie for 50% off
  • Thursdays- Free chips and dip with any sandwich purchase
  • Saturdays- Date Night - Buy any two coffee drinks and get a slice of cake at 50% off.
  • Weekly Specials-  Weekly sandwich specials are updated daily on Instagram and Facebook

I hope you get a chance to meet Sarah and the amazing staff that awaits you at The Copper Pony Kitchen. They certainly are leaving their creative mark on all of us here in central Minnesota.

 

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