At home with chef Bill Hall

Judith Harris Solomon
Special to The Detroit News

Bill Hall, executive chef of Andiamo West Restaurant in Bloomfield Township, was born in Trenton, “where it used to be farmland and I was on my own from the time I was very young. At the age of 15, I rented a room in a home whose owners were great cooks and I learned a lot from them,” he says.

He went to Schoolcraft College’s Culinary school to learn the basics.

Hall uses a whisk as he prepares three dishes in his kitchen at home.

“School is a great start, but being a chef is really all about the individual mentors who teach you about the trade and give you their philosophy of food. It stays with you your whole life,” said Hall, 60, who now lives in Macomb Township.

His first mentor was Gene Amerigan, a chef who came from Marseille and was the chef at the Raleigh House in Southfield. That job was followed by a five-year stint at Pine Knob’s La Veranda Restaurant.

Bill Hall, center, executive chef at Andiamo West Restaurant in Bloomfield Township, sometimes cooks for his family, including two of his four kids, Natalie, 17, and Anthony, 21, at home on his day off.

“Italo Rovere, the manager there, was from Trieste in Italy, but also a chef. He taught me how to make classic Northern Italian dishes properly,” Hall says. And subsequently, Hall worked at several different restaurants with Chef Ernesto De Michele, who he says was “a great friend and a great mentor.”

In 1998, Hall opened up the original Andiamo Restaurant in Warren as a partner with Sam Loccrichio and John De Angelis and later opened up Arriva Restaurant as a chef/ partner.

Then, after a run as the corporate chef at Papa Joe’s Gourmet Market in Birmingham from 2001 to 2009, Hall opened up a restaurant consulting company.

“But I got tired of it, so five months ago, I became the executive chef at Andiamo West and I’m really enjoying being in just one restaurant and in one kitchen,” he said.

Although Hall works 70 to 75 hours a week, he says he occasionally cooks “chez Hall” on his day off for his wife, Jackie, and his two kids, who still live at home.

“I’ve been making this wild mushroom soup for 40 years and it always gets a great response,” he says. “And I like to use veal stock, rather than the usual chicken stock, because it blends in with the earthiness of the mushrooms.” And the chef also says his wife particularly likes this pork recipe because “it’s a one-pan dish.”

Adds Hall: “For me, my greatest honor has been picking the right career. I loved it in the beginning and 40 years later I still love it. And the great thing is I’m learning something new every day. There is always so much new going on.”

Wild Mushroom Soup

8 ounces unsalted butter

2 cups Spanish onions, diced small

2 cups celery, diced small

5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced

5 ounces portabella mushrooms, sliced

5 ounces champignon mushrooms, sliced

4 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted (save liquid)

8 ounces all-purpose flour

2 quarts veal stock

6 ounces Florio dry Marsala wine

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced

3 ounces fresh basil, sliced thin

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced

2 bay leaves

3 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 quart heavy cream

1 cup porcini juice (from reconstituted mushrooms)

2 cups warm water

In a heavy pan, melt butter, add the onions and celery and soften. Add mushrooms. Saute until liquid evaporates. Blend in flour and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Pour in cold veal stock, whisk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add in wine, herbs, seasonings, cream, porcini juice and warm water. Check seasonings. Serve hot or chilled. Serves 8.

Per serving: 843 calories; 68 g fat (42 g saturated fat; 73 percent calories from fat); 49 g carbohydrates; 8 g sugar; 225 mg cholesterol; 1,292 mg sodium; 14 g protein; 5 g fiber.

Michigan Maple Seared Pork with Apples and Orange Zest

24 ounces Michigan Berkshire pork tenderloin (sinew removed)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper

2 tablespoons canola oil

4 Delicious apples, sliced in rounds to create 16 pieces

4 ounces sweet onions, sliced thin

2 ounces unsalted butter

6 ounces maple syrup

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

4 Delicious apples, sliced in rounds to create 16 pieces

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons dry Marsala wine

2 teaspoons dried orange zest, ground fine

Season pork with salt and pepper. In a heated skillet, add oil, then brown pork. Put seared pork in 350-degree oven along with the apples and onions for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat reaches a temperature of 145 degrees. Remove the pork from skillet and let it rest. Add butter plus the partially-cooked onions and apples to the skillet and sauté until softened. Mix in the remaining ingredients, except the orange zest. Place the pork in the sauce for one minute. Remove the pork from the sauce, slice and then top with the sauce. Sprinkle with orange zest. Serves 4.

Per serving: 730 calories; 27 g fat (11 g saturated fat; 33 percent calories from fat); 84 g carbohydrates; 65 g sugar; 150 mg cholesterol; 1,199 mg sodium; 49 g protein; 10 g fiber.

Three ounces of garlic, cooked in olive oil and slightly browned, liven up this asparagus pasta salad.

Char-Grilled Asparagus and Red Pepper Gemelli Pasta Salad

1 pound asparagus, cut in one inch pieces, brushed in oil and char-grilled

1 pound red peppers, roasted and cut in thick strips

3 ounces garlic, cooked in olive oil and slightly browned

2 ounces basil leaves, torn

1 pound Barilla Gemelli pasta, cooked al dente in salted water

1/2 cup red wine vinegar cut with 1/4 cup dry sherry

1 1/2 cups virgin olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper

Combine the pasta with asparagus, garlic, red peppers and basil. Whisk the oil into vinegar. Add salt, pepper and red pepper. Add the dressing to pasta mixture. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 1,218 calories; 83 g fat (12 g saturated fat; 61 percent calories from fat); 100 g carbohydrates; 8 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 206 mg sodium; 19 g protein; 8 g fiber.