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Metro Detroit Chefs | Detroit Culinary Experience | VisitDetroit.com

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chef benjamin meyer

By Shannon Martin  |  PHOTOS BY Marvin Shaouni (except where noted)

Detroit and food.

Yep, we’ve got some homegrown gastronomic favorites. Nothing’s better than washing down the salty crunch of a bag of Detroit’s very own Better Made potato chips with a swig of crisp Vernors, the original ginger ale born and raised in The D. And we dare you to bite into a Kowalski Stadium Kielbasa and go back to whatever link of mediocre sausage you were previously akin without utter disappointment.

Snacks and sausages aside, Detroit has another set of culinary jewels on the upper crust of the food spectrum. The Detroit culinary experience {make bold} ranges from unique pop up eateries {link “pop up eateries” to separate page} to delicious food tours to the talents of metro Detroit’s best chefs. {Add} More and more top-notch chefs are setting up kitchens here, creating daring and delicious works of culinary art in restaurants all over the city. There are so many Detroit chefs, cooks and bakers, in fact, that we can’t list them all on these pages. What we can offer, however, is a sampling of some of our most recognized and celebrated who wear the toque blanche (aka tall, white hat). Consider this an appetizer of sorts to Detroit’s amazing culinary community. Bon appétit!


Benjamin Meyer
Iridescence, MotorCity Casino Hotel 

Top Chef Benjamin Meyer

No question, Benjamin Meyer has talent and creativity in droves. Having honed his skills in metro Detroit, Meyer knows and appreciates the diversity of his patrons and aims to please. Those who prefer the glamorous, foodie vibe as well as those looking for more traditional meat-and-potato fare will find Meyer’s menus to their liking.

Brian Henson
Big Rock Chophouse

Brian Henson

They say that variety is the spice of life, but for Brian Henson, chef at Birmingham’s Big Rock Chophouse, it’s also a trick of his trade. With a career that’s taken him across the country, traveling with Wolfgang Puck’s national training team and working at the famed Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, the metro Detroit native and graduate of the Schoolcraft College Culinary Arts Program certainly has plenty of experience from which to draw. But it’s the chats he has with his regular customers that really keep his creative juices flowing.

Michael Trombley
Various Eateries of The Henry Ford

Top Chef Michael Trombley

With 30 years in the kitchen, Michael Trombley has the chops to oversee everything that makes up The Henry Ford’s extensive culinary experience — from the daily meals served to students at Henry Ford Academy to the fine dining expected by guests at catered events in Henry Ford Museum. With a focus on fresh, local ingredients and simple, delicious recipes, the goal is to make the everyday menu items as good as those served at posh special occasions.

Andy Hollyday
Michael Symon's  Roast

Top Chef Andy Hollyday

Andy Hollyday has a lot of love for the city of Detroit. Although not a native Michigander, the executive chef of Michael Symon’s Roast is drawn to the city by what he sees as “a tight-knit community, made of passionate people in their respective fields.” He places great emphasis on building relationships with area farmers, believing that the support and ingenuity of those in the local Detroit food community is truly something special.

Orlando Santos
MGM Grand Detroit Hotel & Casino

Top Chef Orlando Santos

Orlando Santos, a season 2 contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts, joined the team at the MGM Grand Detroit as executive pastry chef last year. “The greatest thing about where I work is that they allow me to express my creativity and share it with the general public. I come from country clubs and big hotels and other facilities within that realm. Here, the corporate world allows me to express my creativity and I am not limited to the clientele I create for,” he said.

John Somerville

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Lark closed at the end of December, 2015.

The Lark

Chef John Somerville

To say that John Somerville took a less-than-conventional approach to donning the chef’s coat would be an understatement. After earning an engineering degree from the University of Michigan, Somerville, an Ohio native, did a complete 180 and took his first steps into a larger culinary world, working under chef Gary Danko at West Bloomfield’s The Lark.

John Gangler
Mr. Paul's Chop House

Chef John Gangler

John Gangler has spent his entire career — spanning more than 30 years — at the same restaurant, learning the tricks of the trade from each and every chef and cook he’s worked with along the way. “You learn so much,” he said. “Different ways to do things.” Gangler believes that there are always lessons to be learned in the kitchen. “You never know everything in this business; you learn something every day.”

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