Seasoned Chefs Dinner Series comes to Evans Street Station
What do acclaimed chefs do for fun? If you are five of the most admired chefs in Michigan, the answer is planning a series of six-course meals to reflect the different seasons.Chef Alan Merhar of Evans Street Station is hosting the second dinner in the series on Wednesday, July 23. The first dinner was held at C.A.Y.A. Smokehouse Grill in Walled Lake.“It’s as much for us as for the guests,” Merhar said. “We get the chance to play and have fun.”The five chefs wanted to find a way to work together on a meal. The solution was to create a six-course meal with a wine pairing for each course.“We each pick a course, with the chef from the hosting restaurant planning the main course,” said Merhar. “Eric Voigt does the desserts.”Each chef comes up with one or two ideas for his course. Then the group decides which foods work best together on a menu.“There’s a lot of planning involved,” Merhar said. All six men focus on fresh and seasonal ingredients for their menu selections. “We spare no expense on ingredients,” said Merhar.Despite the focus on the finest food and seasoning, the chefs want the meal to be affordable for customers. The meal price of $85 was selected as a reasonable cost for a six-course meal with accompanying wine selections.The next dinner will be held at Iridescence Motor City Casino Hotel in September, hosted by Chef Benjamin Meyer. Dates have not been set for the dinners at The Meeting House in Rochester with Chef Chris Johnson, Cork Wine Pub in Pleasant Ridge with Chef Jay Gundy, and Big Rock Chophouse and the Reserve in Birmingham with Chef Eric Voigt.Merhar believes the chefs find inspiration in working together. “Pretty much as a chef, everything is inspiration,” he said. “We try to keep things interesting. Fresh is best.”Merhar, chef and partner at Evans Street Station, enjoys the freedom to create meals focusing on quality ingredients. “I enjoy putting a twist on comfort,” Merhar said. “We are ingredient driven.”Much has been written and discussed about the farm-to-table restaurant ideal. Merhar believes it is vital to support local business, sometimes for ingredients and sometimes for their contributions to the community.The bottom line for Merhar is to find the finest ingredients for his recipes, sometimes utilizing a local farm for vegetables in season, and sometimes, getting great food from across the world, like prosciutto from Italy.Although Lenawee County might not seem the perfect place for culinary experimentation or innovation, Merhar has never felt restricted from culinary creativity in planning the menu offerings at Evans Street Station. “I’m amazed at what I do sell here,” he said.Reservations for the July 23 Seasoned Chef dinner can be made by calling Evans Street Station at 424.5555. More information about Merhar and future events at Evans Street Station can be found at www.evansstreetstation.com.