Did you see correlation between your experience of Detroit and the media's depiction in 2009?
I have seen enough pictures of the Corktown Train station to last a lifetime. From Time magazine to local media to every hipster with a digital camera, we are often given this husk of a building as a symbol for decades of neglect and mismanagement in the city (or as a memorial to the infamous Megatron rampage of ’07). I am sick of these pictures. When I look back at 2009 I want to remember the symbols that we cheered for, and no single cheer was louder than that of a green and white crowd at Ford Field on April 4, 2009 when the Michigan State Spartans defeated the Connecticut Huskies in the Final Four semifinals. A lot of media coverage was dedicated to how the Spartans were lifting up and saving a city. Even coach Tom Izzo admitted to playing with a burden for the city. Maybe there was some overstatement but maybe there wasn’t. Before the game, when I stood in the Ford Field atrium and looked out the windows at 30,000 plus fans dressed in green and white lining the city streets, or when the 60,000 – 70,000 Spartan fans took over what was technically a neutral site, it was impossible not to be lifted up. As Detroiters, we love our sports. We make a holiday of the Tigers opening day, spend too much time wondering who the Lions will draft, and give our hearts to the Pistons and Red Wings during their annual playoff runs. As excellently detailed in Sports Illustrated’s September 2009 cover story “The Righteous Franchise: The Tiger’s Bold Stand with Their Fans,” sports aren’t just a leisure activity in Detroit. They are a symbol and an escape. Sometimes that is what we need. Something to cheer for.
What'll be different about 2010- for the city? For you personally?
Well, the Pistons and Red Wings are off to disappointing starts and the Tigers look doomed to a year of rebuilding and cost cutting so lets not talk about sports as a metaphor for this one. In the fall of 2010, should everything go according to schedule, my business partner Zach Klein and I will be opening a charcuterie shop name Corridor Sausage Co. in the Cass Corridor. We will have fresh and smoked sausages, cured meats, and other delicious meat based products. A lot of these items are part of a dying craft in this country, but it is something we both love, and are grateful for the chance to bring some of it to Detroit. Currently, we sell to various restaurants in Detroit and Ann Arbor but are excited about expanding that, retail space, and maybe even home delivery.
Why do you live in Detroit? How's it different from other places?
I guess I should say I live here for friends and family. Honestly, where else can you get great Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Lao cuisine all within a few miles?
What kind of things do you get into in Detroit? Do you have a job? What is it? Why not do it in Royal Oak? in Chicago? NYC?
Right now, I am the sous chef at The Whitney so it is pretty nice to work in a beautiful 1800’s mansion. Plus the food is pretty good.
What's your favorite thing that happened here in 2009?
Other than my afore mentioned love for the Spartans? Well, I did get married in 2009. It was a pretty beautiful day out at Stony Creek Metro Park – lots of friends and families, good slow smoked BBQ, excellent beer from Atwater Brewery, and a beautiful misty ceremony in the woods. Distinctly Michigan.