Fire, Brimstone, and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Mitch Omer's autobio-cookbook.

Half of Damn Good Food, the new book from restaurateur-chef Mitch Omer, is an account of his journey through drug addiction and bipolar disorder. Long before opening Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis eight years ago (then a second location in Duluth), Omer worked concert security for major acts including the Rolling Stones. Stabbed with a beer bottle at a Van Halen concert and wrung out from years of violent encounters, he decided to turn his life around, which landed him in the kitchens of the New French Café and Pracna on Main.

The rest of the book, published by St. Paul’s Borealis Books and co-authored with Ann Bauer (who’s a contributor to Twin Cities Business), lays bare Omer’s coveted recipes. When the publisher suggested that he retain some culinary secrets, he refused—with the same colorful language that peppers his book.

“I never hold anything back,” Omer says. “This is something I believe in and I’m really proud of.”