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Ford Conf Center
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.
“We tend to have guests who are well-traveled and, for the most part, willing to try new things,” said Henson. “They come back and talk about a dish they’ve enjoyed elsewhere.”
These casual conversations often inspire new creations and make for a diverse and eclectic menu at Big Rock. This mutually beneficial relationship is something that Henson said he hasn’t really found anywhere else. And the arrangement seems to be working — last year he received the 2012 Chef of the Year Award from the Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association.
So where does this award-winning food genius go to chow down? For a guaranteed good meal, Henson often frequents Novi’s Steve & Rocky’s. But it’s the Pad Thai from Siam Spicy, which he said comes very close to the best he’s ever had, that tops his list of favorite dishes.
Henson gushes about the perks of living in metro Detroit, from the extraordinary cultural diversity to the many activities from which to choose on any given day. Whether it’s taking his kids to Kensington Metropark or catching a Detroit Tigers game. When it comes to the city proper: “A friend came in from Brooklyn, and we spent the whole day downtown, bouncing from place to place — from Pewabic Pottery to Belle Isle to the Heidelberg Project,” he said.
Big Rock Chophouse
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