The dinner is a result of the organic excitement that is building in Traverse City’s food scene. Last month at The Little Fleet, Roaming Harvest’s Simon Joseph teamed up with Chef Harlan “Pete” Peterson to present the Breaking Bread Dinner.
Ryan Mateling is one of the four chefs and explains, “James (Bloomfield) and I worked our asses off for TC Restaurant Week and decided to check out the dinner to unwind a little. We watched them plate for a while, but it’s hard to stand and watch so I said ‘lets do some dishes.’ While were doing dishes, Pete and Simon told us ‘Since you’re working so hard, we’re going to reward you with a dinner’!”
James graduated from TC’s culinary school three years ago. He worked at Lulu’s Bistro with Ryan and at other locations including a stint for Paul Qui in Austin. James continues, “Originally, we were going to do something easy, but we started thinking about spring and what it brings to Michigan and settled on one word: Pop!”
While the details of the menu aren’t yet set, the plan is for a “very amusing snack” to start the evening and four courses to follow. The entire meal will incorporate things that pop, literally and figuratively. James is working on pork braised with a Jarritos red pop hot sauce that sounds incredible.
Like many who end up in restaurants, Ryan started out with other plans, studying digital cinema and theater at Northern Michigan University. “There’s so much art and presentation in cooking, and after I fell in love with scratch cooking at Vango’s in Marquette, I decided to move back to Traverse City and go to culinary school. I worked at Lulu’s where Michael & Henry really helped me hone my skills before heading downstate to Forest Grill. I’m back home now, and really excited to be the truck driver & cook for the Roaming Harvest food truck this summer.
Kathryn is currently a student at the culinary institute and is hoping to move to California next summer when she graduates. She likes charcuterie, soulful food and desserts and says, “I really like the creative opportunity that this dinner offers and the chance to put some of the skills I’m learning into practice at the dinner.”
Andrew, a 2008 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America agrees. “We’re part of a group who like to see ourselves as part of the next wave of chefs in TC who are trying to get our names out there. Working in restaurants can be a little restrictive sometimes – you have to think about food cost, menu style and the ambience of your restaurant. A dinner like this allows us to play, both with the meals and to have fun with each other.”
Simon concludes, “I think that this is a really exciting turn in what we’ve been doing with these pop-up dinners at Little Fleet. The evolution of these dinners needs this kind of youthful creativity to make it special. Nobody’s telling them what to do – they’re taking what they’ve learned and making it creative and cool.”
You can surf the next wave of TC chefs at Pop! on Friday, April 25th at 7pm at The Little Fleet. Cost is $55/person – click for tickets.