Marc Huebner lived a pretty normal life in Hastings up until eighth grade. That normal life took a big change, though, when his father got a new assignment in 1981.

His father worked for 3M at the time and accepted a new position in Brussels, Belgium, and off the family went.

While there, Huebner’s eyes were opened wide by the food.

“That’s where I found my love for food,” Huebner said. “I just started liking food and liked cooking it.”

By 1986, the family had moved back to Hastings and lived on Louis Lane. Huebner held on to that love of cooking and began watching all the cooking shows he could find on PBS. He’d watch Jacques Pepin, Julia Child and “whoever was on TV on a Saturday morning,” Huebner said.

He took a few classes, started reading more and started cooking more and more.

Now, the Hastings native is preparing to watch himself on television. Huebner is one of the 16 contestants who will be competing in a new Food Network show called America’s Best Cook. It airs on Sundays at 8 p.m.

Four celebrity chefs will mentor home cooks from four regions of the country – the north, the south, the east and the west.

Huebner is in the north with chef Michael Symon as his mentor. Symon has four chefs in his region and has them each prepare a dish from their region. He then narrows down the field to two after the first episode.

Huebner couldn’t discuss how he fared, he said.

He is preparing for a viewing party at Joe Senser’s in Bloomington, he said.

Huebner now lives in Waconia.


While Huebner doesn’t have any formal training to be a chef, he’s made up for that with enthusiasm for the craft.

“I just like it so much,” he said. “It’s like a guy who likes to work on cars, but isn’t a mechanic. There’s scratch golfers who aren’t professionals. I’ve done the same thing with cooking. I always make meals and try new things and challenge myself.”

Huebner said he owns about 400 cookbooks and he has people over all the time to try out new recipes on. Many times, he’ll just head to the store, find out what is fresh or on sale, and take it from there.

“I get inspired by what is at the store, or at the farmer’s market,” he said. “I just see what’s on sale, or what inspires me to cook.”

While shopping for his Saturday dinner, Huebner noticed monkfish was on sale. He built a meal around that with a white bean puree and Romesco sauce (made with nuts and red peppers).

He tries to keep the menu on the healthy side during the week, he said, but no matter what he’s always focused on presentation.

“I’m big on presentation,” he said. “I like to plate everything. I don’t care if it is two for dinner on a Wednesday or dinner for 12 on Saturday.”

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