At home with chef Craig Myrand
Craig Myrand, the executive chef of Bill’s restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, was not the least bit interested in becoming a cook when he was growing up in Grosse Ile. His goal was to become a cartoonist.
But in the summer of 1996, just after he graduated high school, he decided, on a lark, to join a friend for a three-week Introduction to Cooking class at Schoolcraft College.
“And that’s when I fell in love with cooking,” Myrand, 37, said. “I learned so much in that class, like the fact that the knives had names; how to use fresh herbs and how to make a stock. I found it fascinating and intriguing and I wanted to learn more.”
He became a full-time culinary student at Schoolcraft the following fall and earned his associate degree two years later.
“Instead of becoming a cartoonist drawing on paper, I learned to use a plate as my canvas,” the South Lyon resident said. “To me, cooking is an art form. I love the textures, colors and flavors and also the immediate gratification that you get.”
While at Schoolcraft, Myrand’s mentor, Certified Master Chef Dan Hugelier, suggested that he should go to work for Steve Allen., the chef/owner of Steve and Rocky’s restaurant in Novi.
“It was Steve who taught me how to not just read a recipe, but to actually cook,” Myrand says.
Then, after stints at the Marriott Dearborn Inn and a Marriott hotel in South Bend, Indiana, Myrand returned to the Detroit area. He became the executive chef of La Bistecca in Plymouth and later, the executive chef at Summit On The Park in Canton.
In 2011, the chef took a job as a line cook at Streetside, a Roberts Group restaurant in Birmingham.
“I took a few steps back in order to work for a great man, Bill Roberts, and to learn how the Roberts Group operated,” he said.
After working at two other Roberts restaurants (Roadside and Beverly Hills Grill), Myrand was named the executive chef at Bill’s, which opened last year.
Myrand says he tries to cook at home for his wife, Alison, and daughter, Sophia, at least once a week. When he does, this Brussels sprouts recipe is a favorite because, “It’s a side dish that goes well with just about everything. And the bruschetta recipe is also a family favorite because you can change it up by adding such toppings as crab, shrimp or pulled chicken,” he said.
1 French baguette
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 steak tomatoes, diced small
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon basil, rough chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Slice the baguette into quarter inch wide coins. Lay them flat on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil lightly onto each piece of bread. Lightly sprinkle the bread with granulated garlic and salt. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Set aside and let cool.
Put the diced tomato, garlic, salt and pepper together in a bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.
Drain the mixture. Then add basil, olive oil and lemon juice and re-adjust the flavor with additional salt and pepper to desired taste.
Scoop 1 teaspoon of the bruschetta mixture onto each crostini and finish with a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serves 6.
Per serving: 254 calories; 15 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 53 percent calories from fat); 25 g carbohydrates; 2 g sugar; 3 mg cholesterol; 1,272 mg sodium; 4 g protein; 1 g fiber.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Walnuts
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Cut off the excess root from the brussels sprouts, then quarter them and place them in a mixing bowl. Toss with the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar. Then pour the mixture directly on to the prepared cookie sheet and stir with a spatula a few times to promote even cooking. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 15 to 20 minutes or until the they are tender and slightly browned. Then add remaining ingredients and mix well. Serves 6.
Per serving: 105 calories; 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 43 percent calories from fat); 14 g carbohydrates; 7 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 674 mg sodium; 3 g protein; 3 g fiber.
3 cups regular, brewed coffee, chilled
1 tablespoon instant espresso
1/2 cup amaretto
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
10 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Mix the regular coffee, instant espresso and amaretto in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
Whip the heavy cream and granulated sugar with a stand-up mixer with a whisk attachment until thick and fluffy. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mascarpone on to the whisk and turn the mixer back on at a slow speed until the mascarpone is incorporated into the whipped cream. Slowly add the vanilla and amaretto into this whipped mixture and mix for 1 minute. Set aside. (The longer it mixes, the thicker it will become. Be sure not to make it too stiff to spread.)
Lightly dip half of the ladyfingers into the espresso mixture, 2 at a time, allowing any excess liquid to drip off. Line the bottom of an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan evenly with the ladyfingers. Then, using a rubber spatula, place half of the whipped topping onto the ladyfingers in the loaf pan until it reaches about halfway up your pan. (Be sure to spread it evenly). Lightly sprinkle half of the cocoa powder over the top. Then repeat these steps with the remaining ladyfingers, whipped topping and cocoa powder. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. (It can be refrigerated for up to six days.) When ready to serve, use a metal spatula to cut into desired size pieces and to remove from the pan. Serve with fresh berries. Serves 6.
Per serving: 859 calories; 70 g fat (42 g saturated fat; 73 percent calories from fat); 40 g carbohydrates; 26 g sugar; 229 mg cholesterol; 135 mg sodium; 11 g protein; 3 g fiber.