Chef James Rigato is just 26 years old, but since graduating from Schoolcraft’s Culinary Program at age 17 he has worked at some of metro Detroit’s finer restaurants, opened The Root Restaurant & Bar with proprietor Ed Mamou, started the popular Young Guns Chef Dinner Series and is now a contestant on Season 12 of Top Chef. In October, he’s coming to Traverse City, and he’s bringing friends!
Noted food writer Michael Ruhlman is the author and co-author of numerous books on cooking and the craft of the chef including The Making of a Chef, Ratio, Charcuterie (w/ Brian Polcyn), The French Laundry Cookbook (w/ Thomas Keller) and Ruhlman’s Twenty. He was in Traverse City this week for Pigstock TC and I had a chance to sit down with him to talk about cooking, writing and his Traverse City experience.
What would you say your job is?
My job is to provide for my family, and I do that by writing books. In the food world, it’s to convey information and to make what I’ve learned in cooking as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. I write about stuff that I don’t know, explore it and find out what it’s all about.
Do you still want to be a novelist?
I just started writing fiction again. I’m a writer by disposition – I just have to write. It’s a physical need and happily I’ve been able to make a living at something I enjoy.
With Ratio and Ruhlman’s Twenty, I show that when you know one ratio or one technique, you don’t know one recipe, you know a thousand recipes. All of cooking is about fundamental technique. What Thomas Keller (The French Laundry) does is not that difficult, there’s just a lot of it – a lot of components on the plate. I learned early on that it’s all about technique. I’ve always been exploring that because one of my goals is to get more people cooking. I think the world is better if we cook our own food. We stopped cooking food, and it’s made us sick. I’m trying to counter thoughtless mantras that are put before us like “Fat is bad, fat makes you fat.” Fat is not bad, stupid is bad. We need fat to live on. Too much fat is bad. Read more
The annual Pigstock TC Dinner takes place on Wednesday, October 23 at 6 PM at the Hagerty Center. The evening features dishes prepared by some of our leading chefs that feature different parts of the Mangalitsa pig. This seven-course, wine-paired dinner showcases some of our best local talent all in one room and is a fundraiser for Taste the Local Difference.
- Jonathan Dayton (Black Star Farms)
- Myles Anton (Trattoria Stella)
- Cole Thornton (The Hagerty Center)
- Guillaume Hazaël-Massieux (Bistro FouFou/La Becasse)
- Adam Raupp / Paul Olson (Mission Table)
- Eric Patterson / Jennifer Blakeslee (The Cooks’ House)
- Fred Laughlin (Great Lakes Culinary Institute)
“It’s all fun. This is an opportunity for us to catch up after a busy summer season and have some fun with the local Mangalitsa pigs that we’ve been feeding all year long with our compost,” Paul Olson says. “My favorite part is tasting what our talented chefs do each year with the different parts of the animal.” Read more
- 2017 Shorts Brewing Anniversary Party
- 2016 Traverse City Beer Week – November 11-17
- Farmers Market Brunches during Cherry Festival
- Selden Standard chef Andy Hollyday and The Cooks’ House Guest Chef Series
- 2016 Short’s Anniversary Party
- Short’s Space Rock now gluten free
- Morel Dinner (and Hunt!) at Black Star Farms
- Morel Love
- Wild Food Wednesday: Morels
- Wild Food Wednesday: Ramps or Wild Leeks