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Sanford Center Executive Chef Elbert Smith cooks up a sizzling steak before a recent Bemidji State hockey game at the Sanford Center. The Chicago native started at the arena in May and is focused on making good food from scratch. Jack Hittinger | Bemidji Pioneer

Good food from scratch: Sanford Center executive chef dedicated to making a name for Bemidji cuisine


Elbert Smith considers himself old-school. Stubborn, even. Name a menu item at the Sanford Center and it’s likely made completely from scratch, from the pizza dough to the salsa to the hamburgers.

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Jack Hittinger
Jack Hittinger is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on Bemidji State but also covering area high schools. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
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