Foodie File: Petoskey Chef Chris Dettmer

Northern Michigan Food & Wine: The American Spoon Café in Petoskey uses Northern Michigan ingredients to create their beautiful cuisine. 

Vibrant wax beans and zucchini arrive from Bill’s Farm Market, along with baby artichokes from Coveyou Farm, a bushel of wild watercress, 10 pounds of oyster mushrooms and four whole lake trout caught this morning. Furiously scribbling, American Spoon Executive Chef Chris Dettmer tweaks the evening’s menu to accommodate this midsummer bounty.

The lake trout will be salted, slow-poached in olive oil and served beside butter-braised beans, crispy shaved artichokes and Early Girl tomato jam, the oyster mushrooms dragged through a hot sauté pan and served over succulent bavette steak with Talleggio melted over new potatoes. Tracing the arc of locally grown produce and proteins, the new American Spoon Café accents the area’s best fresh ingredients with housemade butter, cheese, charcuterie and their delectable dossier of Michigan preserves. Brilliant craft cocktails, Michigan microbrews and small-batch international wines complement breakfast, lunch and dinner menus of inspired local cuisine.

Ann Arbor–born Chef Chris Dettmer did a formative stint at Napa Valley’s Michelin-starred Meadowood Resort before returning to the mitten to lead American Spoon’s inspired foray into seasonal dining at their Petoskey café. We catch up with Chris to talk summer ingredients, kid goats and the simple art of blistered beans. 231.347.7004, spoon.com.

Coming from the abundance of Northern California, how have you adapted to Northern Michigan farm culture?

The truncated growing season really keeps us on our toes and we’re constantly tweaking the menu to match the short windows of various ingredients. American Spoon has developed a network of growers that I’ve been able to tap into and access specialty crops like artichokes and fava beans.

I know you do a lot with pasture-raised hogs, any exciting new local proteins hitting the menu this month?

Minnie’s by the Creek here in Petoskey will be supplying us with some kid goats. Of course anyone can throw the loins and chops in a hot pan, but we’re excited to utilize the whole animal with the same level of beauty and technique.

A simple summer preparation. Go.

I like to pick up some fresh wax beans from the farmers market and toss them in a smoking hot pan with a little oil, a handful of caper berries and some rough torn basil. Cook the bean till they blister and then hit them with sea salt and a squeeze of lemon.

This article is also featured in the July 2013 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan's MagazineGet your copy now!

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