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Michael Trombley
Various Eateries of The Henry Ford

Top Chef Michael Trombley

The Henry Ford cuisine

Michael Trombley at The Henry Ford


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.

For Trombley, the road to becoming a chef began at home, where he’d bake cookies and cupcakes as a 10-year-old. After studying at Lansing Community College, Trombley landed a position with the first Certified Master Chef in the United States, Milos Cihelka.

In keeping with the historic persona of The Henry Ford, Trombley’s cuisine is rooted in the past, but adds a modern touch. A favorite dish of his exemplifies this idea: red wine poached beef tenderloin, cooked in the sous-vide style. Instead of poaching the meat on the stovetop, it’s cooked in a vacuum-sealed bag at a low temperature for a longer time, ensuring the center of the meat is cooked as precisely as the outside. Another favorite is cornflake-crusted walleye fish sticks. These are as big a hit with the chef’s 5-year-old daughter as they are with First Lady Michelle Obama, who picked up the recipe for her Let’s Move! blog.

Trombley’s chosen to stay in Michigan all these years because of the abundance of local ingredients and top-notch products available to source his menus. He’s a big fan of Ann Arbor-based The Brinery and Detroit’s own Eastern Market.
When it’s time to eat, he ventures out to Toasted Oak in Novi or Roast in downtown Detroit. For an excellent craft cocktail — from a bartender who works “like a chef” — he suggests The Oakland in Ferndale.

The Henry Ford
20900 Oakwood Blvd.
Dearborn, 48124  DW


Red Wine Poached Beef Tenderloin
Prepared by Executive Chef Michael Trombley, The Henry Ford

2 pounds well trimmed beef tenderloin, all visible fat removed
1 cup good red wine (pinot noir or similar)
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 fresh springs thyme
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons addition virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat emergent cooker until to desired temperature (135 degrees for medium rare) this may take a few minutes, plan ahead. Add beef, wine, shallot, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper to a cooking pouch and seal. Place sealed cooking pouch in to heated emergent cooker for approx. 45 minutes, if longer is ok since we will not go above or desired cooking temperature. Pull cooking pouch out and let rest for 10 minutes, cut open and remove beef tenderloin and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Heat a thick gauge sauté pan on high until hot and add additional olive oil the beef for a final sear. Brown all sides and place on a clean cutting board. In the searing pan add red wine poaching liquid, then swirl in the butter to finish, this will be your sauce, taste adjust seasoning as necessary. Ladle sauce on to a serving plate with desired side dishes. Cut and place beef on to wine sauce on serving plates and enjoy!

Temp Chart
Rare 125 degrees
Med-rare 135 degrees
Medium 140 degrees


Braised Rabbit
Prepared by Executive Chef Michael Trombley, The Henry Ford

1 whole rabbit, 2.5-3 pounds
As needed all purpose flour
Oil or butter to brown
1 cup Spanish onion, large dice
½ cup carrot, large dice
½ cup celery, large dice
¼ cup turnip, large dice
¼ cup rutabaga, large dice
1 cup red skin potatoes, large dice
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped
½ teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
6 cups chicken or rabbit stock
To taste salt and pepper

Rinse rabbit and insure that there is no hair. Remove legs and arms off of rabbit with a sharp knife. With a large knife or cleaver, chop off rib cage and tail portion for stock (if time permits roast these portions until brown and add to simmering chicken stock for bolder flavor). Chop remaining potions into 4 sections and reserve in refrigerator

Prepare remaining ingredients and have ready to go (known as mise en place in a professional kitchen). Heat a braising pan or Dutch style oven until warm, season and dust rabbit pieces with flour and add slowly to pan to brown. By adding too quickly you will shock the pan and not allow proper browning and the rabbit may stick to the pan. When rabbit has been nicely browned, take out of pan and reserve on a platter. Add onion, carrots and celery, cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat then add remaining vegetables, potatoes and herbs, cook for 4-5 minutes more. Add the rabbit back into the pot and then the stock. Cover and place in a 350 degree oven for 1.5 hours or until the leg portions are tender and fall off the bone. When tender add salt and pepper, taste adjust as needed.

Divide into 4 bowls, if a rear leg portion is given add a smaller loin portion and vise versa with the front leg portion add a larger loin portion.

Serves 4

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