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Rochester, MN (September 4, 2012) – ZZest Market & Cafe announces that LeeAnn Zubay is among the first class of American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professionals™ (ACS CCPs™). LeeAnn is part of an elite group of 121 individuals who passed the inaugural Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam, which was held on August 1 in Raleigh, N.C. This prestigious group consists of cheese professionals from across the United States and Canada. For a full list of ACS CCPs™, please visit http://www.cheesesociety.org/events-education/acs-certified-cheese-professionals/.

The Certified Cheese Professional Exam™ is the first exam of its kind. It was established by the American Cheese Society to encourage high standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service for professionals in all areas of the industry. The exam was developed over an eight-year period with more than 100 industry experts working together with credential consultants Knapp International and software provider ExamSoft. The exam is based on the knowledge and skills required to successfully perform cheese-related tasks in jobs across the industry. Testing encompasses a broad range of topics including raw ingredients, the cheesemaking process, storing and handling cheese, selecting distributors, marketing and communicating about cheese, nutrition, and regulations and sanitation.

“I applaud the efforts of all those who displayed their cheese industry knowledge by passing this exam,” says Nora Weiser, ACS Executive Director. “The expertise of ACS CCPs™ not only elevates the industry, but also designates for consumers that a highly skilled and reliable cheese resource is available to them.”

LeeAnn will receive the right to use the title ACS Certified Cheese Professional™ (or ACS CCP™). All ACS CCPs™ will be required to demonstrate continued active participation within the cheese industry and continued professional development to maintain this credential, and will be required to recertify every three years.

To learn more about the Certified Cheese Professional Exam, visit www.cheesesociety.org.



ZZest Market and Café Partners With Minnesota Cheese Festival for Unique Wine and Cheese Excursion

Posted on May 08, 2012 at 07:00 AM EDT

While most Americans think of Wisconsin when they hear “hand-crafted, artisan cheeses,” Minnesota is actually the No. 6 cheese producing state in the US, giving Minnesotans something to be proud of as National Dairy Month approaches. Rochester restaurant ZZest Market and Café provides local residents with the freshest culinary products, including artisan domestic and imported cheeses.

“When we can, we like to use local products in our café because it means we get to know the farmer and his products on a first name basis. Our chefs are really talented so giving them local resources and a pantry like ZZest Market to work from, amazing things hit our menu!” said ZZest founder, LeeAnn Zubay.

read the entire article here



by on January 20, 2012

"The one thing everyone agrees on is the food. Billing itself as “a market by day and a restaurant by night,” ZZest’s menu changes daily and features seasonal choices prepared with many of the gourmet ingredients found in the market."

"There are numerous oils, vinegars, honeys, chutneys, chocolate, and crackers on hand, plus cheeses and charcuterie, both local and imported from across the country and the world."

"Free samples play up the staff’s friendly attitude."

"Diners sitting at the bar have begun to lean together, arms resting jovially around each other."


39th Annual sofiTM Awards


Washington, D.C. (July 11, 2011) – The winners of the 39th sofi Awards for the outstanding specialty foods and beverages of the year were announced this evening by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) at the Summer Fancy Food Show.

The awards were presented at a red-carpet ceremony hosted by Celebrity Chef Cat Cora. A sofi Award is considered the highest honor in the $70-billion specialty food industry. “sofi” stands for specialty outstanding food innovation.

Award presentation by Ann Daw, President of NASFT


LeeAnn and Iron Chef Cat Cora


Full story on all award winners


Outstanding Retailers of 2011

From a two-year-old store and restaurant in Rochester, Minn., to a specialty chain with more than 100 locations, this year’s selections show what great sourcing, strong business sense, premium services and true culinary passion can deliver.

Specialty Food Magazine and the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) present the six Outstanding Retailers of 2011, as nominated and selected by members of the NASFT. Members are asked to nominate stores based on qualities such as uniqueness, product knowledge and customer service. Each of the following award-winning stores exemplifies these traits of a successful specialty food establishment, while remaining true to its community and its customers. Read on to learn about their operations, history, innovative features and points of distinction.

read the full article here



Six Specialty Retailers Selected For Top Industry Award

by National Association of Specialty Food Trade, Inc.
Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 3:40PM EDT

New York, N.Y. - The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc. (NASFT), is pleased to announce the Outstanding Specialty Food Retailers of 2011. They are: Central Market, Austin, Texas; Fromagination, Madison, Wisc.; Olives Gourmet Grocer, Long Beach, Calif.; The Cheese Iron, Portland, Maine; The Fresh Market, Greensboro, N.C.; and ZZest Market & Café, Rochester, Minn.

These outstanding retailers range from a local cheese shop founded by a career changer, to a specialty supermarket that has expanded to more than 100 locations without sacrificing its commitment to quality and customer service. The winners were selected by a panel of specialty food experts convened by the NASFT who evaluated nominees from across the U.S.

“Each honoree exemplifies the hallmarks of specialty food retailing in a unique way,” says Ann Daw, president of the NASFT. “They all bring a passion for food, the customer, and the community to their work every day.”

The awards will be presented July 11, 2011, at the Summer Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C., in a red-carpet ceremony hosted by Celebrity Chef Cat Cora. Winners are featured in the June issue of the NASFT’s Specialty Food Magazine and at specialtyfood.com/retailerawards.

Nominations for Outstanding Specialty Food Retailers were made by members of the NASFT. The NASFT is a not-for-profit trade association for food artisans and entrepreneurs. Retailers with the most nominations were asked to submit information including menus, newsletters, training manuals, promotional materials and customer comments, to support their nominations. The judges included previous honorees, manufacturers, distributors and journalists.

Honorable mentions went to: Carlino’s Market, West Chester, Pa.; City Olive, Chicago; Farm Fresh to You, San Francisco; Gerrards Market, Redlands, Calif.; Mollie Stone’s Markets, San Rafael, Calif.; Papa Joe’s Gourmet Market & Catering, Rochester, Minn.; Parkview Gourmet, Libertyville, Ill.; Peppers of Key West, Key West, Fla.; Savor the Flavor, Sierra Madre, Calif.; Southport Grocery & Café, Chicago; Star Provisions, Atlanta; The Andersons, Maumee, Ohio; The Cheese Shop of Virginia, Williamsburg, Va.; Urban Harvest, Arlington Heights, Ill.; Vicente Foods, Los Angeles; and Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Ann Arbor, Mich.

read the whole story here




Market and cafe born out of longtime dream

3/2/2010 7:11:53 AM
By Holly Ebel
The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

There are at least two reasons to check out ZZest Culinary Market and Wine Cafe, one of the newest additions to the Rochester culinary scene.

First, there is a vast number of unique food specialties available for purchase. And second, the meals that are served during the lunch and dinner hours.

read more here




Zzest Culinary Market & Wine Cafe: Viva Zubays!

Answer: Jerry and LeeAnn Zubay

Question: What husband and wife team are transforming the Rochester food scene in a matter of weeks?

To say we're impressed is Great Taste's Understatement of 2009. 

read the rest here



Wine cafe adds a little Zzest to life


Last month, LeeAnn Zubay and staff packed up their Culinary Market shop next to 300 First and moved it into the former Avocados Bistro spot at Apache Shoppes on 16th Street Southwest, renaming it Zzest Wine Cafe. The move doubled their square footage - and it's already filled to the brim. They anticipated opening their new wine café today, and I got a little preview earlier this week.

The ambiance - market fresh

read the rest here




Rah-rah catapults to culinary major leagues--with Zzest

Rochester, when it comes to good food you're no longer in the rookie league.  The October 23rd reopening of Zzest Culinary Market & Wine Cafe hit one out of the ballpark. It's a whole new culinary scene.

LeeAnn Zubay, how can we thank you enough? 

read the rest here




June 18, 2009

Zubays get ZZest-y

Ever see an out-of-the-ordinary food item on a store shelf and wonder how it would taste or even what you would do with it?


The Rochester culinary scene’s well-known Zs — LeeAnn and Jerry Zubay — have a plan to serve up answers to shoppers looking for a taste of the uncommon.


It won’t happen until August at least, but the plan is to open a specialty grocery — ZZest Culinary Market — in the former Avocado’s World Bistro space at 1190 16th St. S.W. in the Apache Shoppes shopping center. 


The Zubays were originally behind City Cafe, Newt’s, 300 First, City Market and the Redwood Room in downtown Rochester.


This part of ZZest will be an expansion of the Culinary Market LeeAnn Zubay opened in the little building near the 300 First restaurant last year. She has specialty cheeses, meats, salts, chutneys, jellies and spices as well as “adventurous ingredients” on the shelves in the First Avenue store. 


“I am just finding such awesome stuff, and I just want to bring more things in,” she said of the move from the small downtown store into the huge-by-comparison 2,700-square-foot space.


About a month after the shelves fill up at the new ZZest, the Zubays plan to open a cafe with counter service to offer appetizers, sandwiches, lunch and dinner, as well as beer and wine.


“If you are interested in what this little jar of pomegranate chutney would taste like, you will be able to try it out because is we used it on the No. 4 sandwich,” says Jerry Zubay.


While there are still a lot of details to be worked out, also look for possible cooking classes and special tasting events where one ingredient is used in every course from appetizer to dessert.


Ha! I was RIGHT!

*High fives self*


Yeah Zubay's!!! We will be looking forward to their opening. They are so talented and their business is such a gem in the community.




Compliments of the chef: She's in the Market

9/30/2008 10:10:42 AM
From being involved for years in restaurant kitchens, LeeAnn Zubay is now hoping to help you in yours.

In a little building next to 300 on First, Zubay created a food lover's delight. The Culinary Market, open barely three months, is quickly turning into the go-to spot for the out-of-the-ordinary, the unusual, the hard-to-find and above all, the delicious.

As Zubay eyes the direction she wants this market to take, she has the experience and the know-how. As the wife of Jerry Zubay, co-owner of Creative Cuisine -- think City Cafe, The Redwood Room and 300 on First -- she has been involved in the restaurant business as a consulting chef in charge of menu development and research for the company. In that capacity, she has assisted their chefs and at one point, helped bake pastries. "There isn't much I haven't done at one time or another. I love it and I love food," she said.

What Zubay has done is impressive. In this very small space, she has well over 800 different products. "Initially my main focus was cheese," she said. "I felt that was one area where this town really needed bolstering and I wanted to get ones that were not available anywhere else."

That she has done. A substantial cheese counter is filled with different artisinal cheeses both from the United States and abroad. There are varieties from Spain, Italy, France and Holland as well as from the Cow Girl Creamery in California and Sweet Grass Dairies in Georgia. Then there are olive oils, honeys and a big variety of salts and flavored sugars.

You can also get Iberico and Serrano ham, prosciutto and pancetta. Another popular item are the Tribecca breads ordered from New York. Multi-grain, olive and fruit and nut baquettes come frozen and you finish the baking at home.

If being around all this food makes you hungry, you can also get a sandwich and sit outside at a little cafe table.

Has she always been so passionate about good food? "Yes. In fact I started cooking in the fourth grade, things my mother would not have thought about preparing," she said. "I really got into it. Actually in the sixth grade I made my first cheese souffle. Later, one of my jobs in high school was working as a waitress and in the kitchen at Madonna Towers. I made salads and desserts on Thursdays and on weekends. I loved that job."

Q & A with LeeAnn Zubay

Q: This reminds me of a smaller version of an upscale Trader Joes. Is there any one thing you sell more of than anything else?

A: Not really. It is pretty even. We sell a little of everything every day. We already have a good base of regular customers, and what is fun also is we have quite a few who walk over from Charter House.

Q: The holidays aren't that far away. What sorts of things will you be bringing in?

A: We'll have more cheeses, caviar, pates -- lots of different and unusual items.

Q: So as involved as you and Jerry are with food, don't you want to just get away from it when you go on vacation?

A: Absolutely not. We don't golf. We don't hike. What we do is eat. We are always on the hunt for that new item or product or new dish. But that is what we love to do whether we are here or away. I do read a lot and I love cooking magazines like "Bon Appetit" and cookbooks.

Q: What about expanding or opening a second place?

A: We are pretty tight in here but it works. For myself, I can never do anything little -- there is so much more I want to do with this. For now, no. But who knows? I have a lot of ideas.

Culinary Market, 308 First Ave. N.W., is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 280-3875. www.culinary-market.com.

Holly Ebel of Rochester is a freelance writer.



New gourmet grocery will cater to the adventurous cook
05/05/2008 Rochester Post Bulletin

The words Zubay and food go together like wine and cheese in Rochester.

Jerry and LeeAnn Zubay are partners with the Currie family in Creative Cuisine. Creative Cuisine is the company behind five downtown Rochester restaurants, including 300 First, City Cafe and Newt's.

Now LeeAnn Zubay is cooking up a gourmet grocery called Culinary Market.

"It will be a specialty food store focusing on adventurous ingredients and imported cheeses," she says. "I hope to have all the really hard-to-find things."

Zubay hopes to open in June in the former Broadstreet Baking building next to 300 First on First Avenue.

Expect foods from Italy, Spain and small artisan operations in the U.S. Sausages, rare hams, pates and lots of imported cheeses will be on the shelves.


Culinary Market Open
Post-Bulletin staff

Culinary Market, a new specialty food store, opened in downtown Rochester on Wednesday.

Owner LeeAnn Zubay staffs the small store at 308 First Ave. N.W. in a building near her family's restaurants, the Redwood Room and 300 First.

Zubay carries what she describes as "adventurous ingredients." That means hard-to-find items like specialty cheeses, of which she carries more than 40 different selections.

She also carries items such as chutneys, chorizo, imported pastas, olives, salts and honey.

And Zubay still has item on sale at Rochester Produce, 2112 Second St. S.W.

She is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information, go to Postbulletin.com/weblinks.