Roots of Inspiration


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Inside every restaurant in the metro Detroit area are chefs who learned to do what they do by asking questions and paying attention. Are there any natural-born chefs? There certainly are those who have more of an interest in creating and experimenting — but for those who are culinary artists, their talent stems from hard work. Through long hours, taking risks, learning from mistakes, and absorbing all the wisdom that other culinary scholars are willing to teach, these chefs have earned their place in the kitchens of some of the area’s finest dining establishments.

A generation ago, most chefs quietly labored in their kitchens with relative anonymity, but today’s customer is interested in their meal’s backstory. Who created it? What local products were included? Where are the ingredients sourced? What was the inspiration behind the dish? Knowing the answers provides another dimension to the dining experience.

It’s not just what you’re eating, but why.

The chefs in this issue have taken time to answer questions they have received from customers, in hopes that their responses will help develop a deeper understanding of the food they present, and why.

Toasted Oak

Q: What would you like as a last meal?

A: A customer asked me whether I would want to cook it. I had to ponder this because (there are so many) amazing local and world-renowned chefs and restaurants, from multi-star Michelin establishments to small diners. There’s always the desire for a home-cooked meal, but my request would be a dish created by one of my team members. Nothing brings me more joy than to see young culinarians reveal their heart in a dish. I’m fortunate to work with so many who bring passion and excitement to their quest to deliver the perfect dish; one I would be honored to have as my last meal.

Toasted Oak
Brian Kanak, Executive Chef
27790 Novi Rd.
Novi, MI 48377
P: 248-277-6003

StoryPoint Senior Living

Q: How do you make food craveable?

A: For crave-ability, food must first be delicious and memorable. It’s about creating dishes that please the senses and satisfy taste, (and then make us) long for a repeat experience. As we go through life, certain foods create taste memories, and it starts with quality ingredients and a team that’s passionate about the food that’s prepared and served. Passion, quality, and commitment will produce authentic, flavorful food that results in a memorable dining experience.

By utilizing the best possible ingredients that are in peak season, you can capture the maximum amount of flavor and nutrition. I think you have to be really thoughtful and creative with layering flavors. Having pleasing aromas will also enhance craveability. Preparing foods that appeal to all the senses — including umami, which has a pleasant, savory taste — plays a huge role in making food memorable.

Sometimes just thinking about a certain type of food can make you start to want it. In our StoryPoint kitchens, we believe that by using the best ingredients and culinary techniques, we will both revive memories of the past and create new memories of foods that are delicious and craveable!

StoryPoint Senior Living
Chef Tim Bryant CEC®,
Corporate Executive Chef
Brighton, MI 48114
P: 1-855-40-STORY

Portofino Restaurant & Banquet Facility

Q: What is a savory mousseline, and what are some applications for it?

A: A savory mousseline is usually a pureed protein like shrimp or chicken, or a vegetable, that’s folded with whipped cream and/or beaten egg whites to give it a light, airy consistency and to lighten the texture. Savory mousselines are very versatile in a professional kitchen and can be made from almost any meat, protein, or vegetable. Some of my favorite uses involve shellfish and fresh seafood. Using lobster mousseline instead of mayonnaise as a binder in a crab cake recipe creates a nice, light, textured cake that’s full of flavor and also very unique. Using a crab mousseline for stuffing trout, sole, flounder, or any other delicate fish helps hold it together during the cooking process, adds eye appeal, and gives it a wow factor. I also use shellfish or salmon mousseline as the force meat in most of my seafood based terrines because of the contributing fat content and the overall texture it provides.

Portofino Restaurant & Banquet Facility
Jeffey C. Mellas, Executive Chef
3455 Biddle
Wyandotte, MI 48192
P: 734 281-6700


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