Detroit Performs


Food Art

James Beard-nominated Chef Genevieve Vang creates exquisite, flavorful and fresh dishes at Bangkok 96 and Bangkok 96 Street Food;

Detroit Vineyards is the first winery in Detroit in over 60 years.

Chef Jose Salazar pays tribute to the food created by his grandmother.

Plus, host DJ Oliver is taken to an Autumn wonderland at Franklin Cider Mill.

Episode 910

AIRED: October 22, 2019 | 0:24:22

- [Narrator] In this episode of "Detroit Performs,"

a chef creates sculpture out of food.

A winery in the city.

And exploring heritage through food.

It's all ahead on this edition of "Detroit Performs."

- [Woman] Funding for "Detroit Performs" is provided by,

the "Fred A. And Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation".

"The Kresge Foundation."

"The A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Foundation."

The "Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs."

The "National Endowment for the Arts."

And by contributions to your "PBS" station

from viewers like you, thank you.

(upbeat music)

- Hello and welcome to "Detroit performs"!

I'm your host, DJ Oliver, and today

we're talking about the art of food and drink

and in this weather, where else could we be

but a cider mill?

We're at Franklin Cider Mill all show.

Let's get to our first artist, Chef Genevieve Vang

was a young refugee during the Vietnam war

when her family fled to Thailand.

Her strength through her childhood still shows

in the work she does as an entrepreneur

and an executive chef at Bangkok 96

and Bangkok 96 street food, take a look.

(upbeat music)

- I'm still searching, what I lost.

But maybe the fact that you lost something,

it make you stronger, and you never stop.

I was born in Laos, but my original is Hmong.

Hmong people is, they came from China,

border Mongolia and China.

The Vietnam War, 1975, when the Khmer Rouge

went to the country, then we have to leave the country.

So I became refugee in Thailand, and I fled to Paris.

Food is my passion.

Well food, you have to remember,

food bring everybody together.

Right now, we are at Bangkok 96 Street Food in Detroit,

and is located inside the Detroit Shipping Company,

but I like to introduce the Hmong food

to the Metro Detroit area, which is my people here.

Mostly, the food I serve here is from my root.

So you're gonna see how I take the beef and make adobo.

That's the beef jerky.

We take the beef shoulder and break down the muscle,

to make it very tender like filet mignon.

And all the chicken breast,

chicken breast is chicken breast.

All chef cook chicken, but my chicken breast,

is somehow is different.

When my customer take a bite

for the first time, they come back.

The sausage is very popular back home.

Homemade pork sausage is the fresh meat.

All natural meat, the pork shoulder ground

with ginger, lemongrass, galangal, all the spice.

And you just stuff into the sausage.

And you let dry.

You let dry in oven, couple hour,

and you put in the freezer.

When you need it, you just deep fry, or you put on a grill.

The Pad Thai roll is interesting,

When I came to this place,

open Bangkok 96 Street Food,

I have to decide to make one dish,

and that's dedicate the Pad Thai roll to this place,

because it's about food.

Because the table is so long, so I have to take the pad Thai

wrap in the flour, and toast it,

cut like sushi, and sprinkle sauce, and all the spice,

peanut and garnish and the lime.

For this place because it's bar food.

And the most item in the kitchen is the Pad Thai roll.

It's become so popular and successful.

I hope it's not just a trend.

I hope it's gonna keep going.

The dessert I like to cook a lot of fruit.

So today I do a poached pear with wine,

lime, and make a syrup.

And finish touch with, you know like, grated sugar.

One by one fresh, but I start from a base, very clean.

That's easy for me to cook for a vegan customer,

and then when the meat come, I just add meat, too.

Everybody responds very nice,

so I believe I do something good here,

because I take care all the allergen people too.

And I have a little bit everything for everybody.

My dream is serving the food upscale,

but very original, authentic.

Take that dish to the next level.

When your customer eat the food, they eat with their eyes,

and you can take a dish very simple, make beautiful,

elegant, clean and simple.

So, presentation is very important to me

and the food carving is a draw for people.

I am in a retail business.

Every time I went to the food show,

and I always bring a couple piece of the carving there.

And it is draw the crowd to your table

and it's an art to sell your product.

So it's beautiful, the color, is so natural.

It's very attractive.

Food is art, and the carving is art.

If you bring two together, it's very powerful.

You got two thing, instead of just one thing.

I'm still have fun.

I still create new dish.

It's never end.

It's so many thing I have to do,

it's just not enough time to do it.

I think I'm gonna keep going until I can't move.

I was recognized to be a James Beard chef.

"The James Beard Foundation,"

is a non-profit organization who recognize all the chef

did a great job for many years in a long-term career.

So I was so happy and so honored

to have that title this year.

My goal is to think about the next generation.

You have to share what you know to the young people.

To be entrepreneur, and live in the United States.

I'm still working hard,

but I'm so proud to be here, because I'm lucky.

I was refugee, nothing, and I live in the United States,

have a small restaurant, and people love the food.

And I be able to keep going to school, or training.

Another journey to learn something new, another cuisine.

So, I think I'm lucky to have the life I have here.

- You can find out more about Genevieve Vang

as well as all artists

that we feature on

Did you know you can get delicious locally-made wines,

meads and hard ciders right here in the heart of the city?

Well you can!

Detroit vineyards is taking Detroit back

to historic grape growing and wine making roots

also while giving back to the community.

Find out how, now.

(upbeat music)

- [Chris] Our wines are kinda like the city.

They're a little edgy but they have some class and polish.

- [Kirk] Establishing vineyards,

making fine wine in Detroit, some would say impossible.

We're here to say that it's not.

- There hasn't been a winery here in the city in 60 years.

Detroit Vineyards as a project started in 2014

just based on the idea of the possibility

of planting grapes in the city of Detroit

and also having a fully functioning winery.

Grapes were grown here in the late 1700s

so really we're just bringing that tradition back.

We're at 1000 Gratiot Avenue

just on the border of Eastern Market in Detroit.

Our winery building was originally an ice cream factory,

it was the old Stroh's Ice Cream factory.

So we've taken it over and turned it into a winery.

We're definitely unique here, we're an urban winery.

We're in the city of Detroit.

Other wineries I've worked at, you walk outside

and you see mountains and vineyards and that's beautiful

but now we see this thriving metropolis,

this awesome town that's on a renaissance

so I think we're unlike anything else

you'd see in the wine industry.

- I never thought I would be able to work

with traditional wine-making in the city limits

or anywhere near Detroit.

So I was very excited to join the team here

and do traditional wine making once again,

and also bring some of the other skills

that I have picked up along the way

in the form of a hard cider production and mead production.

- [Chris] Everything that we sell here

is crushed, destemmed, fermented,

racked and bottled right in here in the winery.

- [Kirk] It all starts in the vineyard.

The key to great wine is great raw materials.

So as a wine maker, it is important to me

to have a connection to the vineyard.

- People have responded really well

to planting vineyards in the city so far,

especially because right now we've got vacant land

and we're creating a situation where people

can look out their window in the city of Detroit

and see a vineyard so it's pretty scenic for where we are.

So we really are invested in the city of Detroit

and we want to give back to the community.

So when we plant vineyards,

we are working with a non-profit organization

and we will use their land, plant vineyards on their land

and then we will buy the fruit that the land produces

back from them at a premium.

And so that money is gonna go back into the community

to continue the renaissance of the city.

- The wine making process starts with,

the intake of the grapes.

They are removed from the stems,

And in the case of red wines, the red wines are fermented

in contact with the skins.

The white wines are pressed into juice,

and then the fermentation process starts.

In both cases of red and white wine fermentation,

happens by a purposeful inoculation of yeast,

which will then convert the sugars into alcohol.

At that point, depending on the wine the treatment

could be stainless steel aging, settling, clarification,

stabilizing some wines will receive oak storage,

for up to 24 months depending on the variety

and type of wine that we are trying to produce.

- [Chris] One of the benefits of having a winery in the city

is that you can go and have a great meal

and you can come here and taste our wines after.

- [Kirk] Detroit vineyards is not only

a working winery, we are also a public hospitality space.

In the public hospitality space, we offer wine tasting,

which could be a flight to a glass of wine.

I think more importantly, this is a place

for people to gather and also anybody who is interested in

furthering their understanding of wine in the world of wine.

Hopefully, people can walk away

with a better understanding.

- [Chris] So here in the tasting room,

we do a couple of different kind of flights.

We can do three or five pours.

In some cases, we will waive your flight fee

with the purchase of a bottle.

You can also sit and enjoy the space

and have a glass of wine, of cider or mead.

So there's plenty of ways that you can have fun here.

- Customers respond very favorably to our wines.

as a winemaker, the important thing for me

is to make sure that our customers

find something within our product family

that is enjoyable to them.

Ultimately, if the consumer enjoys the wine

it is good to them.

- I think my favorite thing is that people are in awe

of the fact that we're doing this at all,

you know, so people keep saying how cool it is.

- Oftentimes people, when they think of wineries,

wine country's, vineyards, they think of

these bucolic sceneries in lovely areas.

The things that makes me proud of the wine making process

in Detroit, at Detroit vineyards

is all the things that lead up to

successfully getting the raw materials,

so we can do the best possible job in our winery.

And also as a Michigan native,

Detroit's the premier manufacturing city in the world.

Being part of the legacy that Detroit has established,

in the world and to have that contribution be fine wine

is very rewarding to me.

- I think a place like Detroit Vineyards

is important to Detroit because we need to show the world

that we can do stuff like this.

That we're not, you know, I think the story that's told

of Detroit still, away from Michigan is

that it's very depressed here and we don't

have things like good wines and we want to highlight

that that's not true.

That we can do that here and we will.

(upbeat music)

- All right guys, I am down here

where the donuts are being made,

and I wanted to try one so bad, but I can't

'cause they're too hot right now.

But, I'll have a dozen donuts waiting for me upstairs later.

Now let's check out some upcoming events happening

in and around the D.

(upbeat music)

Inspired by his Colombian heritage,

James Beard nominated Chef Jose Salazar

opened Mita's restaurant.

The eclectic menu features both modern

and traditional dishes from Spain and Latin America,

and also pays tribute to the food

created by his grandmother, take a look.

(inspiring music)

- When you're here early, there isn't all the commotion.

You have a chance to gather your thoughts.

Most of the time, a dish is born based on an ingredient.

You have a foundation.

Maybe it's a type of fish that the fishmonger called up

and said they have, and you start to think,

"Okay, so what's the texture of the fish,

"what's the flavor of the fish?"

I sort of just used my memory, my palette,

what I remembered something tasting like,

or the texture of something, and let that sort of guide me.

If you overthink it and you make it too scientific,

you lose some of the soul.

And that's, at its heart, what cooking is all about.

It's soulful, it's meant to be from the heart.

Mita's is really a Latin American Spanish restaurant,

focused around tapas, or small plates.

It was a way for me to tap into my South American ethnicity.

This restaurant is named after my grandmother.

We called her Mamita, which is sort of a word for Grandma,

and then we shortened it even more to Mita.

I had to incorporate some of her style of cooking

and a lot of it is comfort food.

It's those things that, you know, the rice

and the empanadas, the arepas,

and things that are just kind of Colombian soul food.

(upbeat music)

The menu is purposely encompassing like a huge swath.

Like, it's Spanish and Latin American.

The empanadas are probably our number one seller,

probably our signature dish.

So it's a cornmeal crust as opposed to a wheat based,

or wheat dough that you get in some other countries.

And then they come with this really wonderful sauce

called aji or pique, which translates to chili in Spanish.

I took some of the inspiration

from the Colombian traditional foods

and maybe just kind of gave it a little, tiny twist.

I think acid is probably one of those ingredients

that a seasoned chef,

somebody who's been doing it for a while,

will tell you behind salt it's probably

the next most important item in a dish,

the aroma, the brightness, the balance that you get,

versus that like you know, grilled, smoky flavor,

it's I think, what rounds out a dish.

Vegetables are very versatile

and I like the texture of a vegetable in different ways.

Sometimes you take a parsnip and you puree it,

you add a little bit of cream,

a little bit of butter, or olive oil,

and it's this really delicious, creamy,

you know, almost kinda sauce,

in its own right, right?

And it's sweet but it's full of flavor.

But you take that same parsnip and maybe you roast it.

And then, you take the same parsnip

and slice it real thin and deep fry it.

And all of sudden you have three different textures,

but also three very distinct flavors of that same vegetable.

And that's always a good way to highlight an ingredient

and showcase it in a few different ways.

- Jose Salazar and I have been together

for about two and half years.

He likes to play with textures and using ingredients

in multiple different ways.

On the national level we've been nominated semi-finalist

for the "James Beard Foundation" for the past two years.

Here locally we've been named in the top 10

of the Cincinnati magazine,

it's a blessing to get a chance to work that closely

with someone who is being recognized on a national level.

- The team's everything.

I think that they respect me and know

that I'm willing to roll up my sleeves

and do just about anything it takes to get the job done

I'm really nothing without them,

and it sounds cliche, but it's a reality.

We just got some beautiful lamb in from a farm in Kentucky

and really are focusing on how we can use every part

of the animal in different and interesting ways.

I'm thinking I want to do empanadas with the lamb neck.

So we're gonna braise the lamb neck

and do a really nice baked empanada

in a kinda a puff pastry crust.

And maybe a little sauce with a little ginger

and herbs and something that plays off

the slight gaminess of the lamb.

(upbeat music)

I love the way our menu's structured I really do.

Now it feels more cohesive,

fits with the overall theme of the restaurant,

and the guests have really loved it.

- There are very few places where

you can have a tapas experience of authentic Spanish cheese,

meat, paella, it's one of the only options

in the city and it's top notch.

- I started working in restaurants when I was about 18,

because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life.

I thought, okay, I'll just work in restaurants

for a little bit until I figure it out.

Ultimately, I found myself kinda cooking at home

and wanting to explore foods, and again

I didn't grow up eating or going out

to experience these gastronomy necessarily,

but it just took hold and I said,

"All right, this is kinda it."

And like it's more of a sense.

I don't know that you can really say I do it for this

or that, other than you just end up falling in love with it.

- And that wraps it up

for this edition of "Detroit Performs."

As always for more arts and culture,

head to where you'll find

featured videos, blogs and information

on upcoming arts events.

Also, check us out on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

I'd like to thank Franklin Cider Mill

for having us out here today and giving me

this fresh cup of crisp cider.

Mm, make sure you check out Franklin

during cider mill season guys.

Until next Tuesday, get out there

and show the world how Detroit performs y'all!

I'm DJ Oliver, thanks for watching guys!

- [Woman] Funding for "Detroit Performs" is provided by,

the "Fred A. And Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation".

"The Kresge Foundation."

"The A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Foundation."

The "Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs."

The "National Endowment for the Arts."

And by contributions to your "PBS" station

from viewers like you, thank you.

(upbeat music)


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