Willowbrook Mill in Northport is hosting three pop-up dinners in July, and we can’t decide which Northern Michigan event we’re more excited about: the Leelanau Local Gourmet Party or Artisan BBQ Smoke & Spice Exploration. (Go to both!)
When good friends get together it’s a party. When one is a chef and the other is an award-winning goat cheese maker, it’s a gourmet party! Chef/Author Elizabeth Brown and Idyll Farms’ Amy Spitznagel will show you how to host your own Leelanau Local Gourmet Party with the very best wines, cheeses, produce and meats the peninsula has to offer.
The duo will lead a lively demonstration using locally sourced products to create a collection of appetizers and desserts paired with wine. Taste, laugh and learn, and go home with the recipes.
Elizabeth Brown started her foodservice career as a dishwasher at Woody’s in the mid-’80s. That first job led to a 25-year career in food. Today, Elizabeth consults and does recipe writing and development in the Chicago area.
Amy Spitznagel, along with her husband, Mark, bought an old cherry and apple farm in Northport in 2010. Their goal was to produce a world-class product that reflected the terroir and landscape of Leelanau County. A goat cheese farm fit the mold (pun intended) perfectly. They attribute the quality of their cheese to managing their pastures with intensive rotational grazing. Going into their sixth year of cheesemaking, Idyll Farms produces seven different varieties of goat cheese and has won more than 20 awards.
Back by popular demand, Chef Jimmy Schmidt returns for a very special Northern Michigan food event. More than a pop-up dinner, this is food theater. Jimmy teaches while he works and the theater-style setting lets dining guests watch up close and talk to the chef. Each course (Wagyu beef, grilled oysters) is paired with a glass of local wine, beer or spirit from 45 North, Bel Lago, Black Star Farms and Iron Fish Distillery. A few of the menu items were enjoyed by attendees at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas last fall when Jimmy joined the James Beard Celebrity Chefs tour with the likes of Jeremiah Tower, Mary Sue Milliken, Andrew Friedman and Larry Forgione. (Here’s a sneak peek of the menu!)