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A Scandinavian who cooks like an Irishman...

Steve Lund, chef at Mulligan's, with the plaque he was awarded for first place in the "Irish Stew Cook-off" contest held in Underwood March 17.

Everybody is a bit Irish on St. Patrick's Day-including a Perham chef with a Scandinavian last name.

Steve Lund overcame his Irish blood deficiency to win the Irish Stew Cook-off, hosted in Underwood March 17.

A well-known local chef, of Danish-American extraction, Lund worked the kitchen at the old Perham VFW Club, the Otter, and for the past several years, has commanded the kitchen at Mulligan's-Perham's only establishment with a decidedly Irish name.

Lund cooked up five gallons of his Irish stew for the Underwood event, which was a fundraiser for "Quilts of Valor," which provides homemade blankets for injured soldiers.

"I have a coffee cup at home that says 'You can tell a Dane...but you can't tell them much,'" laughed Lund. And Lund isn't telling much about his Irish stew secrets.

Competing against four other chefs, Lund took first place in the Irish Stew Cook-off. He declined to reveal any secrets about his recipe, other than to say he used a red wine and a special blend of herbs and spices.

In Ireland, traditional stew would be made with lamb or mutton, said Lund. But Irish-Americans have preferred beef. However, the chef from Battle Lake's Shoreline restaurant created his stew with lamb meat-and took second place in the judging.

The event attracted hundreds of people all day long, said Lund. The Underwood American Legion and Lions Clubs, which hosted the event, cooked up 125 pounds of corned beef.

The Quilts of Valor is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to making handmade quilts for our injured soldiers. Over the years, these volunteers have made hundreds of quilts and sent them to injured soldiers in various hospitals.

The Perham Quilts of Valor group has been working weekly for several years.

Proceeds from the event will assist the Quilts of Valor ladies from Otter Tail County who have been invited to Fort Knox in early May to present their handmade quilts to injured soldiers. Donations from individuals and businesses will help offset the cost of supplies to make the quilts and a portion of the travel expenses for the trip.

To learn more about the Quilts of Valor, visit

As for Steve Lund's award winning Irish Stew, well-wait until next year, as he may be compelled to defend his champion title.