Chef at lyrical restaurant Vergas, Blackboard, creates recipes for new cookbook – Detroit Lakes Tribune

Chef at lyrical restaurant Vergas, Blackboard, creates recipes for new cookbook - Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES – When Sara Watson showed up at a recent author signing event in Detroit Lakes for her new cookbook, “Cabin Chef,” the co-owner of Blackboard restaurant in rural Vergas was quick to point out that although the recipes were hers, , the writing and shooting were not.

“It was a collaboration,” she said as she sat down to sign copies of the book at Mainstream Boutique that morning, Saturday, May 28. “I’m sorry that only my name is on the cover.”

Copies of “Cabin Chef” are available at Sara Watson’s restaurant, Blackboard, as well as Creative Kitchen, Zandbroz Variety, Plains Art Museum, and Ferguson Books, all in the Fargo-West Fargo area.

Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Inside, however, it’s a different story. The copyright page lists Amanda Henke as the “wordsmith,” with Dirk Ockhardt’s name just below hers, as creative director.

“Dirk came to my restaurant one day,” said Watson, who recalled getting involved in the project. “Cabin Chef was something he had been working on for a while. I really only take credit for the recipes.’

However, it is Watson’s own words that can be found on the initiation page and in an “About Sara” section that precedes the recipes. She gives credit to her husband, Eric – “the more famous Watson Chef,” as she puts it – along with their four children, Miles, Olivia, Keena and Sophie, and her friend and partner at Blackboard, Terry Trickle, for their support .

“I didn’t plan to be a chef,” she said. “Actually, I had no intention of going into the hospitality industry. Far from it! It took me a while to figure out what I should become.”

She also discussed all the experiences that led her to open Blackboard (in the building that once housed The Pickle Factory), saying she was glad she did.

“Here among the rolling hills and open green space dotted with lakes, I feel like I have room to breathe and stretch my culinary wings,” she said.

Ockhardt himself wrote the welcome page of the book “Guten Tag” and noted that 10 years ago, after moving to the Lake District from Germany, he discovered a passion for cooking: “Finding local ingredients, spending time preparing, experimenting with recipes , getting together with friends and family, all the great times we spend in the kitchen and at the dining table have become very fun and memorable times for me,” he wrote.

He also shared how he met Watson while she was working with him on a podcast recording highlighting her new restaurant.

“She was so lively and accessible that after the interview I asked her outright, ‘Would you like to work on a cookbook with me?’ ‘Yes’ was her immediate answer, and here we are today,” Ockhardt wrote.

Ockhardt and Scott Thuen are both credited with photography on the project; Watson prepared the food shown in those photos.

Copies of “Cabin Chef” are available at


as well as several Fargo locations:

Zandbroz variety

in downtown Fargo,

Creative cuisine

at Fargo’s West Acres Mall, the

Plains Art Museum


Ferguson Books

in West Fargo. Watson said she hopes to find some more local bookstores in the future as well.

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