How in the world does a guy (me) get the opportunity to personally get to know and interview some of the most talented chefs in our part of the country? The answer is through the kindness of my friend, Chef Amy Sherman. “@amyonthetrail” Amy is not only a chef, she is a Craft Beer expert, the CEO of Amy Sherman, Inc and also represents West Michigan Farmlink, MLive and hosts both “Behind the Mitten & “Great American Brew Trail”.
Surprise! Tune in to @WOODRADIO with @NealDionne at 9:45, I’ll be talking @mlive #mibest #bestbloody our nominations so far! @MichiganGonzo
— Amy Sherman (@amyonthetrail) April 8, 2016
As you can see, the girl had nothing to do but help me get acquainted with Culinary Rock Stars. Amy is a joy to work with as well as a walking food & beverage encyclopedia. I happened to mention that we had dinner the night before at Osteria Rosa and that the food and the whole experience was incredible. She said the Chef/Owner (Chris Perkey) was a friend of hers and asked if I’d like to meet him? I blurted out “Sure!” In all honesty, I was scared Sh**less!. He would certainly see right through me and know instantly that I am just a home cook with zero culinary training. Why would such a widely known and respected chef & restauranteur want to waste his time with me? A week later, Amy lead Chef Perkey into my studio. I am sure that my knees were shaking but I tried to act cool. after meeting, he started to reveal all of the food he brought.
With obvious excitement and pride he began to explain his techniques and all of the wonderful, locally sourced ingredients he used. We hit it off. I was immediately at ease and he demonstrated that cooks don’t keep score. We love to share the experience and passion with people whether they can produce a Michelin star meal or burn water! Chef Chris has since opened a new restaurant called “ IRON”, which is amazing as well. I was honored to have been invited to it’s opening.
Through Amy, I have also gotten to know Chef Chris Weimer from Brewery Vivant, Tory O’Hair from The Downtown Market, Chef Chris Mckeller of Rocket Pies & Love’s Ice Cream, Gabe Arujo from Harmony Hall, Matthew Pietsh from Salt of the Earth & Principle, Matt Millar from The Southerner as well as Instructor and Personal Chef Mark Kingshott of All In One Chef. The experience with all of these gifted professionals was the same. Never once was there the hint of ego. Only the joy of sharing something that we all feel adds greatly to the experience of living. While I am dropping names here, I simply must thank my friend Chef Josh Ganzavoort, Culinary Administrator of the Amway Grand Properties and Hotel Kitchen as well as Chef’s Akram & Miguel from Euro Bistro. The experience with all of these gifted professionals was the same. Never once was there the hint of ego. Only the joy of sharing something that we all feel adds greatly to the experience of living.
Every single person mentioned in this post has shared great experience and wisdom willingly and has without reservation (See what I did there? ) helped to make me a better cook. I am grateful beyond words.
Cheers to you all – Neal
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