One of the many benefits of my profession is that some photography assignments give me access to places and situations that I would probably never have access to on my own. Sometimes I get the feeling that I must have slipped by the bouncers – it’s like skinny dipping in the rich neighbors pool while they are sleeping; at any point the deck light will be turned on and all will be exposed.
There was no feeling out of place though while photographing the Morel Mushroom Dinner hosted by The Southerner restaurant. Owners Katie Fris & Matt Millar were such gracious of hosts that you couldn’t help but feel like a welcomed guest.
This is the story of the time I got spoiled by really great chefs and had a meal sourced in heaven, which is to say, sourced in West Michigan.
The Morel Mushroom dinner was hosted at the in-progress site of the future The Southerner in Saugatuck (former Elbo Room). The meal highlighted the foods found on the previous days forage with Andy Davis as well as all manner of other locally produced foods. Cooking along side The Southerner’s Matthew Millar were:
- Paul Virant, of Vie, Vistro, and Perrennial Virant in Chicago and author of The Preservation Kitchen
- Joel Wabeke, chef de cuisine of Wright & Co. in Detroit
- Chris Pandel, of The Bristol, Balena, and Formento’s in Chicago
- Matthew Pietsch, of Salt of the Earth in Fennvile
- Mathew Green, of Reserve Wine and Food in Grand Rapids
- James Rigato, of The Root in White Lake and contestant on last season’s Top Chef
New Holland Brewing Company’s The Beervangelist Fred Buelttman will be on hand providing beer and spirits pairings form New Holland’s stellar portfolio of local craft beer and artisan spirits.