City Chefs 2018

. September 30, 2018.
City chefs

High heat, sharp objects, open flames, and picky customers. The chef’s life ain’t easy— but it is inventive and demanding, and these Washtenaw County chefs live for the thrill of it.

Nick Hinderliter at Lucky's Market

Nick Hinderliter

Night Cook, Lucky’s Market
1919 S. Industrial Hwy. | Ann Arbor
734-368-9137 | luckysmarket.com

What did you have for dinner last night?
A slice of pizza from Lucky’s Market.

What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?
Fresh mint.

Which Washtenaw resident would you most like to cook for?
Ann Arbor City Councilmember Jack Eaton.

What’s the biggest difference between a great home cook and a great restaurant chef?
Execution and ability to work with a team.

What’s your favorite local place to source ingredients from?
Black Pearl Gardens, and Roos Roast coffee for fuel.

How would you describe your style of cooking?
Aggressive.

You’re stranded on a desert island— what three things from your kitchen would you bring with you?
Emulsion blender. Box of gloves. 25 mesh pepper.

 

Alex Young at The Standard Bistro Larder

Photo Credit: Joyce Gan, Light Orange Bean, LLC.

Alex Young

Chef, The Standard Bistro & Larder
5827 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor
734-263-2543 | thestandardbistro.com

What would your last meal be?
Tacos.

What cooking shows do you watch?
Bizarre Foods and No Reservations.

How do you decide what to order at a restaurant?
I like to keep it simple.

Every meal should have:
Meat.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Baby eels.

Are there any foods you just don’t like?
Liver.

Heidi Keller at Guy Hollerin's

Photo Credit: Joyce Gan, Light Orange Bean, LLC

Heidi Keller

C.f.b.e Executive Chef
Guy Hollerin’s Inside the Holiday Inn:
3600 Plymouth Rd. | Ann Arbor
734-769-4323 | Hiannarbor.com

What’s your favorite local place to source ingredients?
The farmers market is a good start! This past year, Ann Arbor Restaurant week promoted local farms in their January run. We chefs were invited to meet the farmers and see what they had to offer: ethically raised meats, local honey, produce, herbs, sprout farms, dairy, the list goes on. I was surprised how much local food we have available to us, year round. I was able to write an entire menu based on local ingredients…in January, in Michigan! Support your local farms. While it may cost a little more, you make up for it in shelf life and flavor.

Worst kitchen injury?
I took a meat cleaver to my thumb, cutting down to the bone. I was able to see my mistake in time to not follow through on chopping my entire thumb off. It was stupid (it always is), I was attempting to cut a piece of wood smaller to fit into a smoker. I did not accomplish my task and was too embarrassed to tell anyone what happened. So, I just bled and dealt with the scar.

How do you decide what to order at another restaurant?
I trust their staff. They see it every day, they serve it, they hear the feedback. They order it for their meals. They know what I should order. So, I ask what they eat when they order. Most of the answers involve something not even on the menu, something a cook is trying out, something SPECIAL. That’s my favorite.

David Denys at Pizza House

Photo Credit: Joyce Gan, Light Orange Bean, LLC

David Denys

Kitchen Manager, Pizza House
618 Church St. | Ann Arbor
734-995-5095 | pizzahouse.com

What did you have for dinner last night?
Mustard Glazed Ham w/ Potato and Cheese Casserole.

What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?
Not really a certain ingredient but I love making sauces and soups. Taking one ingredient and making it shine. Simple black pepper demi-glace or a sweet potato chowder.

Do you watch cooking shows?
I do watch cooking shows. I liked Top Chef when it was on. Diners Drive-Ins and Dives and, of course, Hell’s Kitchen.

Worst kitchen injury?
I saw a guy slice the palm of his hand on a meat slicer at a cafeteria once. It was horrible.

You’re stranded on a desert island— what three things from your kitchen would you bring with you?
A knife, a set of tongs and the nicest bottle of wine I can get my hands on.

Are there any foods you just don’t like?
I just cannot eat olives.

Thad Gillies at Logan Restaurant

Photo Credit: Joyce Gan, Light Orange Bean, LLC

Thad Gillies

Owner/Chef, Logan Restaurant
115 W. Washington | Ann Arbor
734-327-2312 | Logan-restaurant.com

What did you have for dinner last night?
Funny that you ask that, I went crazy last night. I spent most of the evening cooking all the ingredients for homemade pizza. With the summer tomatoes and basil in full swing, I couldn’t resist making some killer sauce. I also hand pulled some mozzarella. It came out great with a nice and crispy thin crust.

What are you most excited about right now?
I’m getting excited to open my new restaurant CHOW. It’s going to be an Asian street food fast casual restaurant. It will specialize in Rou Jia Mo (the world oldest sandwich), noodle and rice bowls, and handcrafted soups. We’ll be making our own bread and cooking everything from scratch. Its located at 208 West Liberty. Will keep everyone posted on the opening, hoping for mid-November.

How do you stay educated about new trends and stay inspired?
Believe it or not, I love Youtube. If you dig, you can find footage from all over the world. It allows you to see into restaurants’ kitchens and see how other cultures and chefs approach food. I wish I would have had access to this kind information in the 80’s when I first started cooking.

Are there any foods you just don’t like?
The only food I’ve tried so many times, and it still doesn’t do it for me, is tripe. The sauces and broth it has been cooked in always taste great, but I still can’t get past the texture, it feels like I have a mouth full of rubber bands.

Michael P. Hollaway at Siris Restaurant & Cigar Bar

Michael Hollaway

Food & Beverage Director, Siris Restaurant & Cigar Bar
207 N. Main St. | Ann Arbor
734-263-1296 | SirisAnnArbor.com

What did you have for dinner last night?
The inferno tacos at Agave Tequila Bar. They are awesome, but not for the faint of heart. I was fine after the fire department arrived.

What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?
Pork belly. You have NO IDEA how many things you can do with some good pork belly.

First word that comes to mind when I say “foodie”?
Honestly? I guess “pretentious”. But on a more positive note, it is, in fact, nice to see so many people getting into the finer points of great food.

What’s your favorite local place to source ingredients from?
The Kerrytown farmers market, hands down. It’s great to have such a great local market just a few blocks away from the restaurant.

What are you most excited about right now?
We have some amazing new small-batch spirits and great new craft beers, so probably pairing them with dishes or finding ways to use them in the dishes themselves.

Blake Reetz at Eat Catering Carry Out

Photo Credit: Joyce Gan, Light Orange Bean, LLC

Blake Reetz

Owner, Eat
1906 Packard St. | Ann Arbor
734-213-7011 | eatannarbor.com

What did you have for dinner last night?
A frittata made with eggs from my chickens and veggies from my garden.

What’s the biggest difference between a great home cook and a great restaurant chef?
Well, anyone can be a great home cook. If you made something delicious with your hands and fed yourself and others, great!

What would your last meal be?
Eating a whole fried fish makes me quite happy.

How would you describe your style of cooking?
Interesting and approachable.

Do you watch cooking shows?
Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party. The only cooking show worth watching.

How do you stay inspired?
I love using seasonal ingredients so I’m very much inspired by what’s available at the time. Working with great people who also love food helps too.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Human placenta.

Nathan Fritz at Wolverine State Brewing Co.

Photo Credit: Joyce Gan, Light Orange Bean, LLC

Nathan Fritz

Wolverine State Brewing Co.
2019 W. Stadium Blvd. | Ann Arbor
734-369-2990 | wolverinebeer.com

What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?
Cheese! The abundant variety, the range of textures and flavors, the ability to use it to compliment another food or to showcase it as the main attraction. Also, it’s cheese!

What’s the biggest difference between a great home cook and a great restaurant chef?
Time. Working in a commercial kitchen there are a ton of time related constraints that take a toll on some of the more simple pleasures of cooking.

How would you describe your style of cooking?
Experimental. So much of what’s hot right now in food is experience driven. Sometimes that has everything to do with the location in which you eat, but what I try to do is make that experience happen on a plate in front of you wherever you may be.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
At an old gig, we did a special of African lion burger. While the buffalo-ish burger wasn’t especially memorable, the activist group that lit the bosses car on fire will be something I won’t soon forget.

What are you most excited about right now?
Working on new menu items. We have been toying around with some new things to add to our existing menu and at the behest of my staff, are working on putting together a weekend brunch.

Travis Schuster at Ollie Food + Spirits

Travis Schuster

Head Chef, Ollie Food + Spirits
42 E Cross St | Ypsilanti
734-482-8050 | ollieypsi.com

What did you have for dinner last night?
Pizza and Thai food. My girlfriend and I hosted and catered a wedding on Sunday night, and we couldn’t decide which take-out was preferable after a crazy long weekend. So we got both, because treat yo self.

First word that comes to mind when I say foodie?
A fedora.

What’s the biggest difference between a great home cook and a great restaurant chef?
More salt, less sleep.

What’s your favorite local place to source ingredients from?
Such a hard question for us, because we locally source nearly everything, and there are so many farms around here to choose from. Tantre, Green Things, Garden Fort… there are dozens of great farms right in this county. Not to mention bakeries, creameries, and fermenters. The Brinery is one of my favorite spots. Hyperion for coffee. I could go on and on.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Lamb brain terrine. It was a weird meat party.

Samuel Boyce at Fresh Forage

Samuel Boyce

Fresh Forage
5060 Jackson Rd. Suite A
734-887-6655

What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?
One of my favorite ingredients to work with is definitely the tomato. They are so versatile in their uses, and can be transformed and used in cuisines found across the globe.

What’s your favorite local place to source ingredients from?
We have been sourcing huge amounts of our products both directly from local farmers as well as from farmers markets! We are sourcing from Goetz farms, Seeley farms, Renegade Acres, Boyce Family Farm, and Deep Roots Ranch just to name a few.

How would you describe your style of cooking?
My style is unconventional and eclectic. I love to cook a variety of world cuisines, and always love attempting to create them from taste memory rather than from a recipe!

How do you stay inspired?
I stay inspired by creating every day! I always strive to grow as a chef, and being able to share my passion with the community keeps me motivated to keep progressing.

Every meal should have:
Garlic.

Are there any foods you just don’t like?
I have never had a food I don’t like, however there are some that took time for me to appreciate, such as uni and jackfruit.

Andy Lawson Northside Grill

Andy Lawson

Chef, Northside Grill
1015 Broadway St. | Ann Arbor
734-995-0965 | Northsidegrill.com

What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?
Love.

What did you have for dinner last night?
Smoked salmon, gouda on a sourdough sandwich.

Which Washtenaw resident would you most like to cook for?
Iggy Pop.

What would your last meal be?
Cajun Swordfish, garlic mashed redskins, green beans and Coca-Cola.

Who are your biggest influences?
Chef Larry and Chef Rocky (old time Gandy Dancer Chefs).

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Dirt.

Every meal should have:
Love.

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