The Shutdown Notebook is itself on temporary shutdown

Chef Gavin Kaysen and The Counter have decided to take time off from The Shutdown Notebook, out of respect for where our attention should be: On the death of George Floyd, whose life ended as then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin leaned his weight into Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, despite Floyd’s terrified pleas to be released because he could not breathe.

Anyone with an electronic device or a newspaper knows what has happened since. 

Kaysen has spent over half his 41 years in Minneapolis, where he now owns three restaurants. Until last week he was preoccupied, like any owner of a closed business, with daily-life strategies involving masks and distance and dining safety.  Now he is preoccupied with talking to his two young sons about the unspeakable act that precipitated this national uprising—one in a long string of such moments through history, which inform the urgency and breadth of the protestors’ response.

We will return to his story when it feels right. “I just want to take some time,” said Kaysen, “to listen, now.”

Karen Stabiner is The Counter's West Coast editor and the author of Generation Chef, about a young chef who opens his first restaurant. To learn more about her books and articles, visit

Gavin Kaysen is a winner of the 2018 James Beard award for best chef, Midwest region, owns three restaurants in the Minneapolis area: Spoon and Stable, Demi, and, in nearby Wayzata, Bellecour. He was executive chef at Café Boulud in New York City, where he won the Beard Rising Star award and a Michelin star, and at El Bizcocho in San Diego. Kaysen mentors the next generation through the nonprofit Ment'or BKB Foundation, and trains the United States team for the international Bocuse d’Or competition. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two sons.