Northern Michigan Food & Wine: Imagine yourself on a winter’s afternoon flocked with fellow foodies under the exposed timber ceilings of a kitchen where simmering rabbit stock is steaming up the windows, a bowl of duck eggs awaits cracking and the scent of fresh cut herbs and sautéing garlic is downright lustful. By the afternoon’s end, you’ll be tucking into a plate oozing mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy.

That promises to be the scene on Saturday, January 19, when chef Phil Murray, owner of Phil’s on Front Street comes to The Box to launch a series of cooking classes by area chefs at The Box, a new venue in Traverse City equipped to handle small events and cooking demonstrations.

We checked in with Chef Phil to find out more of what he’ll be cooking up.

Describe your cooking style?

Entertaining. By example. I divide the class up and let them help.

What’s on the menu for this first cooking demonstration at The Box?

Local gourmet comfort food—specifically gourmet meat loaf and rabbit fricassee.

They seem like a departure from the Cajun and French that you are known for?

I’ve just been thinking about local foods. I’ve changed my whole menu around [at Phil’s on Front] to local meats and vegetables.

So the ingredients will all be local?

Yes, the rabbit is from Bunny Hop Farms in Cedar. The veal, pork and lamb are all local, grass fed.

Gourmet meat loaf could be considered something of an oxymoron, care to correct that perception?

This is a mixture of ground veal, pork and lamb mixed up with local eggs and bread crumbs and a mirepoix with the vegetables cut Brunoise style. It’s Vienna-style meatloaf with a poached duck egg in the middle.

I’m convinced! What do you serve it with?

Mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy.

And that rabbit, how will it be fricasseed?

It will be cooked like a duck confit. Start with the whole rabbit. Pick the meat out. Make a stock out of the bones and make veloute from the stock. Combine it with a mirepoix. It comes out something like a chicken potpie.

The staff at MyNorth Media celebrated the holidays at The Box. See more of the fresh new venue in our editor's blog!

Upcoming Events at The Box:

  • Cooking with Chef Phil Murray- Sat, Jan 19 1:00pm
  • Cooking with Chef Pete Peterson- Sat, Jan 26 1:00pm
  • Cooking with Chef Bob Rodriguez- Sat, Feb 9 1:00pm
  • Cooking with Chef Dave Denison- Sat, Feb 23 1:00pm
  • Cooking with Chefs Blakeslee and Patterson- Sat, Mar 9 1:00pm
  • Cooking with Chef Myles Anton- Sun, Mar 10 1:00pm