How Chefs in Detroit Are Addressing Winter Sourcing Challenges

How Chefs in Detroit Are Addressing Winter Sourcing Challenges

By Dorothy Hernandez, Foodable Contributor

A strawberry grown out of state in December versus a strawberry grown locally in June. It’s no question which fruit is superior in terms of taste. So what do you do during the winter when you’re a Michigan chef who focuses on seasonal cooking and local sourcing?

“Everyone asks me that question,” says Chef James Rigato, known for his contemporary American cooking with a Michigan focus at The Root in White Lake, Mich., and now his ever evolving menus at the recently opened Mabel Gray in suburban Detroit. “What you’re really talking about [is] field growing, that’s what you lose [in the winter] — the wild foraging, you lose field growing, but there’s still a lot of food production going on.”

In recent years, more artisanal food producers have cropped up, and these products have excited chefs like Colin Brown, the executive chef at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Mich. The hotel recently opened Park 600 Bar and Kitchen, which features locally sourced products and craft cocktails; it replaced the upscale hotel’s fine dining restaurant.

“I’ve seen a big change in the last 10, 12 years with new products coming on,” says Brown. “Artisan producers are really coming to the forefront with great products in Michigan.” 

Some of these products and producers include maple syrup, local bakers, and cheese makers.

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