Thursday, September 5, 2013

[NEWS BITES] Chef James Rigato cooking alongside Chicago's top chefs in charity wild mushroom dinner

There are only a few area chefs that could be considered rising stars in the greater culinary community outside of Detroit (and Michigan). None of them have risen as high or as quickly as Executive Chef James Rigato of the Root in White Lake. He's been featured in Food + Wine as a "Best New Chef: Great Lakes" finalist and on an episode of the Cooking Channel's "America's Best Bites." He's been the subject of constant local buzz for making the far-flung suburb of White Lake a dining destination for his rustic local fare, including winning the title "Restaurant of the Year" from the Detroit Free Press in 2012.

Today James is heading out to Chicago to cook alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. After catching the attention of Paul Virant (Vie) at CRUSH Grand Rapids, the two have visited each other's restaurants and forged a professional bond. Paul invited James to participate in this event, which features several high-profile Chicago chefs preparing a variety of dishes with wild mushrooms at a charity dinner (including Bill Kim and Paul Kahan). James is the only Michigan chef involved.

For this dinner, James is preparing:

Local Prosciutto Wrapped Escolar. Cauliflower and Black Summer Truffle Mousse. U.P.-Foraged Chanterelles and Michigan Sweet Corn Saute. Pickled Wax Beans. 12 Year Aged Balsamic. 

James considers this another positive step forward towards bridging Chicago's and Michigan's culinary styles. He is honored to be included in this event. "This is seriously so humbling and exciting for me," he says. "These guys are at the top of their game and weight class."

Here's more information about tonight's event from a press release:

The Root Restaurant and Bar is proud to announce that executive chef James Rigato will be featured at the Wild Mushroom Dinner at Vie in Western Springs, Ill. on Thursday, Sept. 5. Led by Vie executive chef/owner and cookbook author Paul Virant, the six-course dinner will bring together the culinary talents of Rigato and Chicago-based chefs Johnny Andres of Telegraph; Paul Kahan of Blackbird, Avec and The Publican; Bill Kim of Urbanbelly and Belly Shack; and pastry chef Elissa Narow of Vie and Perennial Virant. Each chef will create a dish highlighting the star ingredient, wild mushrooms. In attendance will be Joe McFarland, a mushroom expert and author of Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States. The cost of the dinner with wine pairings is $145 per person, plus tax and gratuity. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Multiple Sclerosis National Research Institute. For more information, call 248-698-2400.

The Root Restaurant and Bar is located at 340 Town Center Blvd. and is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The restaurant features hand-made, from scratch, chef-driven cuisine with a commitment to seasonality and sustainable sourcing. For reservations or for more information, call 248-698-2400, visit or follow on Facebook.