Thursday, November 19

Taste of Michigan: Cooking Demonstration

After 11 years and 75 events, the very first chef who kicked off the Visiting Chef Series event, at Michigan State University's Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, returned to celebrate "A Taste of Michigan", the 75th series. Chef Don Yamauchi was at the time an executive chef at Gordon Restaurant in Chicago. Back in 1998, Gordon Sinclaire of Gordan Restaurant, and MSU's Joel Heberlein, director of the Spartan Hospitality Group for the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services (former general manager for the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center) originated the event. (source: They all seemed to have a great reunion on stage last night.

This 2-day event features 5 award-winning Michigan chefs as they come together to share their cooking techniques at the cooking demonstration on the first night of the event. Last night, it was a lecture/demo of a five-course meal with samplings of each course served to all attendees. There were also 3 wines served to accompany those delicious food.

We started off with Chef Benjamin Meyer's Spring Roll: with poached free range chicken breast, assorted vegetables, seasonings, herbs, served with Thai sweet chili sauce with coconut cream. The roll was very refreshing with layers of texture and flavor. The sauce delivered the flavorful creaminess using coconut cream as opposed to mayonnaise.

Then, we had Chef Don Yamauchi's Pumpkin Soup with Vanilla Cream. The soup was heavenly silky and creamy! Chef Yamauchi also showed us how to make fresh butter right there on stage. We all agreed the homemade butter was just amazing. The soup and bread were served with Gill's Pier Leelanau Peninsula Riesling 2007.

Next, we had Chef Brian Polcyn's Chicken Galantine. We watched him remove the skin and bone the whole bird. He was a lot of fun! Chicken breast was warpped around by chopped chicken meat, then poached. Served with apricot and dried cherry chutney.

The Galantine was very delicious, and well worth all the work. It was served with Black Star Farm Arcturos Capella Vineyards Old Mission Peninsula Barrel Aged Chardonnay 2007.

Next, we had Chef Eve Aronoff's Aromatic Lamb in Brik Pastry, with a salad of fresh spinach and mint. Sweet, savory, and spicy ground lamb with pine nuts and golden raisins rolled in light and crispy brik pastry. I love the flavor of Moroccan spice with the lamb, and the texture of pine nuts and raisin when biting through the golden brown pastry. It was served with Cimicky Trumps Barossa Valley Shiraz 2007/2008.

Lastly, we had Chef Patricia Nash's Peanut Butter Bar with caramelized bananas and chocolate peanut butter ice cream. It was a perfect ending to an evening of culinary instruction and entertainment. All I could hear in the room, after the first bites of this gorgeous-looking dessert were taken was more like, "yum!, "ummmm", "wow..!", "oh, my". It was rich, decadent, and delightful.

From left to right:
Chef Brian Polcyn (Forest Grill, Birmingham, MI)
Chef Eve Aronoff (Eve Restaurant, Ann Arbor, MI)
Pastry Chef Patricia Nash (MotorCity Casino, Detroit, MI)
Chef Don Yamauchi (MotorCity Casino, Detroit, MI)
Chef Benjamin Meyer (Chen Chow Brasserie, Birmingham, MI).

I had a fabulous evening. My friend L was there with me. To be there at such an event, surrounded by food lovers, foodies, chefs, cooks, culinary students, and all attendees - was a great experience! There were lots of laughter and joy. I can't wait for another evening to finish of this event - a five-course dinner prepared by these chefs, and served with wine pairings. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. What a great opportunity, and beautiful food. Sounds like you're taking in every minute.


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