“Why not bring a chef up here from Detroit? It’s a fun time and a great way to get people together,” Cooks’ House chef Eric Patterson of The Cooks House relates. “It gives our crew a chance to work with another high-caliber chef, maybe learn a new way of doing things. Plus it’s just nice to do.”
It’s also delicious, especially when it’s a guest of the caliber of Andy Hollyday, chef and co-owner of Selden Standard.
“I’ve done some collaboration dinners down in Detroit including the Young Guns series,” says Hollyday. “It’s a lot about connecting with people. Jen (Blakeslee, Cooks House chef) and Eric and their crew are amazing people. It’s nice to get away and cook in a different environment with different products. The food scene in Traverse City is really growing, so there’s a chance to make contacts with new farmers here as well.”
It always seems awkward to me to write about the meal itself. What can you say that can in any way describe the enjoyment of an expertly crafted meal? I won’t try other than to say it was excellent, and that down below the article there’s a menu from the dinner along with pictures from The Cooks’ House Instagram.
The domino that allows Jen & Eric to offer a series of guest chef dinners through the summer and beyond fell when Jen moved from the apartment above the restaurant.
“This is something that I’ve wanted to ever since we opened the restaurant,” Jen explains. “I like to work with different chefs and had that opportunity when I started cooking. So often chefs are called on to give their time away for free, so the trick is making it financially feasible. We give the chef all the money from the dinner, and now with a place for them to stay it’s all come together.”
For Hollyday and others, the lure of a TC weekend makes it a no-brainer. “Since I moved to Michigan, I’ve tried to get up to Traverse City as often as I can. As a chef, you don’t get a lot of time to relax so it’s nice to come up here. Everything slows down when you get by the water.”
He concludes, “There’s work we put in for sure, but it’s really fun. Kind of like a mini-vacation with work involved. ”
The next dinner in the series takes place on Monday, June 27th and features The Cooks’ House very own Sous Chef Adam McMarlin. “Adam is absolutely phenomenal,” raves Eric. “He’s an up-and-comer, but he’s a mature enough chef to have his own ideas and style. It’s exciting to get a glimpse of the culinary future of Traverse City.”