Published: Nov. 12, 2009

'Taste of Michigan' farewell 75th Visiting Chef Series event

Contact(s): Sue Dutcher Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center office: (517) 432-1966 Dutcher@MAIL.HFS.MSU.EDU

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center will feature five award-winning Michigan chefs at their “Taste of Michigan” 75th Visiting Chef Series event Nov. 18-19.

The event will feature Chef Eve Aronoff (eve Restaurant, Ann Arbor), Chef Brian Polcyn (Forest Grill, Birmingham), Chef Benjamin Meyer (Chen Chow Brasserie, Birmingham), Chef Don Yamauchi (MotorCity Casino, Detroit) and Pastry Chef Patricia Nash (MotorCity Casino, Detroit).

The chefs will come together to share their cooking secrets as part of a five-course meal cooking demonstration on Nov. 18. The following night, Nov. 19, the chefs will prepare a dinner for guests to enjoy in The State Room Restaurant. Both the demonstration and dinner will feature accompanying wine.

The Visiting Chef Series originated in 1998 by Gordon Sinclair of Gordon Restaurant in Chicago and Michigan State University’s Joel Heberlein, director of the Spartan Hospitality Group for the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services and former general manager for the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.

“The first chef to kick off the series was Gordon Sinclair’s executive chef, Don Yamauchi,” said Joel Heberlein of Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. “After 11 years and 75 events, Chef Yamauchi will return to celebrate a ‘Taste of Michigan’ at this, our final Visiting Chef Series Event.”

Tickets for the cooking demonstration are $60 per person and tickets for dinner with the chefs are $75 per person. For more information or to make reservations, interested parties should call (517) 432-5049 or visit

Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center is a unit of the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services.

“Taste of Michigan” Event Chefs:

  • A graduate of Brandeis University in Boston, Mass., Chef Eve Aronoff went on to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, graduating with degrees in French cuisine and wine and spirits. She has worked in the restaurant industry for 20 years, having cooked professionally in Boston, Ann Arbor and Paris. Chef Aronoff is an active member of the Slow Food Movement and was a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef.”
  • A charcuterie expert, Chef Brian Polcyn is the creator of four prominent Michigan restaurants: Pike Street Restaurant (Pontiac), ChiMayo (Detroit), Acadia (Sterling Heights) and Five Lakes Grill (Milford). Chef Polcyn has won three gold medals and a silver medal from The American Culinary Federation and the Hiram Walker Corporation recognized him as a "Rising Star in American Cuisine."
  • Chef Benjamin Meyer of Chen Chow Brasserie in Birmingham holds a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from Johnson and Wales University and completed course requirements for Thai cuisine from the Suan Dusit International Culinary School in Bangkok and for Pan-Asian cuisine from At-Sunrice Culinary Academy in Singapore. Most recently, Chef Meyer assisted in the opening of both Bourbon Steak and Saltwater at the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit.
  • Executive Chef Don Yamauchi oversees kitchens at MotorCity Casino in Detroit. Most recently, he served as executive chef at Tribute in Farmington Hills and was the head chef at Forté in Birmingham. Chef Yamauchi has been recognized by the James Beard Society as one of its “Rising Chefs in America” and is a recipient of Food and Wine magazine’s “Top 10 New Chefs in America Award.”
  • Having been named the American Culinary Federation 2007 Pastry Chef of the Year, Chef Patricia Nash is responsible for all baked goods, desserts, ice creams and candies created for MotorCity Casino. She most recently served as executive pastry chef at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, NY. She holds a degree in culinary arts from the Academy of Culinary Arts in Mays Landing, NJ. Chef Nash also served as the lead pastry chef on the 2004 USA Culinary Olympic Team, and as an apprentice on the 2000 team.