Busy chef cooks simple and healthy
Paul Grosz is a very busy guy. He is the co-owner and executive chef of Cuisine Restaurant in Detroit and The Stand Gastro Bistro in Birmingham. He's also an adjunct part-time culinary arts instructor at Schoolcraft College, as well as a hands-on dad to four boys ranging in age from 11 to 16.
But his first love was baking, he said.
"I remember helping my mom make cakes and cupcakes when I was just 5 years old," he said. "And at the age of 9, I started working in my friend's dad's doughnut shop sweeping floors, cleaning up and also helping to make the batters."
While still in high school, the Detroit native first worked as a dishwasher, then a busboy at Pashco's Family Dining in Warren and later as a prep cook at Keith Famie's Raphael's Restaurant in Novi.
"It was Keith who introduced me to fine ingredients," Grosz says.
Paul Grosz, executive chef at The Stand restaurant, makes his favorite lobster spaghetti dish.
After graduating from Cousino High School in Warren, Grosz wound his way to the Chicago area, where he studied under iconic chef Jean Banchet at his Le Francais Restaurant. In the late 1980s, Grosz moved to Paris to study pastry making at Le Cordon Bleu. That was followed by stints at several legendary French restaurants, including Paul Bocuse, Pierre Orsi and Leon de Lyon.
"I cooked on the line or wherever they needed me," said Grosz, who now lives in Rochester Hills. "Every young chef should spend time in France, even if he's not cooking French food. It's a great foundation for learning."
Soon after leaving France, Grosz returned to the Detroit area, where he was hired to revitalize the La Rotisserie restaurant at the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Dearborn. That job was followed by a 10-year stint as executive chef at the Whitney Restaurant in Detroit.
Grosz opened Cuisine in 2001 and The Stand in 2013. Along the way, he has won several awards, including one in 2015 from Best Chefs of America which, according to that organization, "puts him in the top one percent of chefs cooking in American today."
Grosz says he likes to cook simple and healthy recipes his boys will eat. "Like all kids, vegetables are tricky with them."
He used to puree vegetables and sneak them into dishes when his sons were infants. "But they are on to me now as their palates have advanced," he said.
His sons love corn, however.
"So I came up with this delicious corn and candied almond recipe. My wife, Adriann, and the kids really enjoy it. Also braised meats such as these short ribs are great in the winter and fill my growing boys when they are hungry. When you serve them over mashed potatoes, it makes for a hearty meal in itself. And because lobster is a favorite amongst the family, I like to make this nice easy spaghetti."
And speaking of home, the chef says he is eagerly looking forward to cooking in the state-of-the-art kitchen that will be an integral part of the brand new home he is building in Rochester Hills.
Judith Harris Solomon is a Metro Detroit freelance writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 2-pound lobsters steamed, shelled and cut into big pieces
2.5 pounds spaghetti
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups fresh ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 or 2 dashes hot sauce
1 cup sliced black or green olives (optional)
Steam lobsters. When the lobsters are done, de-shell and cut the meat into big pieces.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente.
Heat the tomatoes in olive oil in a sauce pan. Add garlic if desired. Add tarragon and hot sauce. Add olives if desired. Add lobster pieces and cook just until hot.
Put the cooked spaghetti in a bowl and pour the lobster and tomato mixture over it.
Beef Short Ribs Topped with Fried Salsify and Potato
6 short ribs (see note)*
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1 cup honey
1 gallon veal, beef or chicken stock (A combination of all three works, too.)
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
Cornstarch (1 tablespoon per each quart of liquid)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients in a roasting pan and cover with a lid. The ribs will be done when you can poke a knife through tender meat, approximately four hours. When ribs are done, thicken the braising liquid with cornstarch, one tablespoon per quart of liquid.
* Note: Grosz recommends having your butcher cut the short ribs two inches thick. "I like the flanked cut (across the bone) but the English cut (along the side of the bone) works too," he says.
Fried Salsify and Potato Topping
1 salsify root (see note)*
1 russet potato
Salt to taste
Peel away the skin from both the potato and the salsify. Cut into thin strips. Fry immediately in vegetable oil at 300 degrees until golden brown. Remove the strips from oil and sprinkle with salt. Then place on top of the cooked short ribs.
*Note: Grosz says, "The flavor of salsify is a cross between a turnip and a potato. It's a great garnish that tastes good and also adds texture to a dish."
Grilled Corn with Candied Almonds
6 ears grilled corn separated from the cob
1 cup candied almonds
1/2 cup lavender infused olive oil. (Steep 1 tablespoon lavender buds with 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil just like tea)
Mix all ingredients together, season with salt and pepper to taste, heat and serve.