Thursday, January 14, 2010
Chef Dan Maurer Hits the Spotlight!
With dreadlocks cascading down his back (but wrapped in a tight bun while in the kitchen) and tattoos decorating the length of his arms, Executive Chef Dan Maurer has stepped out into the spotlight with his wit, personality, down-to-earth manner and his distinguished skill in the kitchen.
Ryan Hooper, a well-known blogger, recently interviewed Maurer. As a result of this one blog post, Maurer woke up the next morning with several messages from reporters, radio stations and people genuinely interested in learning more about him. Here are some clips from the blog.
“Maurer’s interest in cooking would slowly bloom … as he went from washing dishes to working the line. But Maurer’s interest wouldn’t truly be peeked in the culinary arts until Chef Brian Brenner took over D’Amato’s. “I remember the way he taught me how to sauté a specific bell pepper in a specific way by caramelizing sugar in the pan first and then throwing in the pepper … hitting it with a little vinegar. It was a real simple thing … but immediately, I figured out that this is what I wanted to do — being a chef is what I wanted to do.” Brenner would move onto Fiddlehead’s and Maurer was quick to follow. Brenner would later take the executive chef position at Bayview Yacht Club and Maurer’s mentor, Tim Voss, would step in.
“Voss … opened up Tribute and ran Forte for almost a decade,” says Maurer. “When he came into the picture, he blew my mind. He took me from enjoying it to craving it. Every day, I learned more under him than I had in the five or six years I had spent cooking. He was my most important teacher. Most importantly, he taught delegation — the importance of spreading around responsibilities in the kitchen to alleviate stress and make the kitchen fun. Keeping trust among your staff is one of the most important things of being a chef.”
“Every chef I’ve worked under has taught me 90 different ways to cook a button mushroom,” laughs Maurer. “What makes me unique is mixing all the techniques I’ve learned into my own style and letting it develop. I chose to isolate myself from the pop culture culinary world. I never want to follow what someone else is doing." And, in that sense, Maurer is truly changing the culture at the Whitney from the kitchen up. He’s even lightening up the formerly the intimidating nature of the Whitney by trying to get his friends to come sample his foodie passions rather than taking on some “bigger fight or greater cause.”
“I will always bend my style for the customer – particularly for Michigan customers –which is a basic rule of being a chef. In a place like Detroit , if you make something too fancy they won’t get it – they’ll be enjoying it for the ridiculous amount of money they dropped, a sort of obligation to liking it simply because they paid so much. I never dumb my food down, but I do think about who is eating it and why they come to a place like The Whitney.”
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As mentioned before, this article sparked interest throughout the media. Just this week, Detroit Public Radio featured Maurer, Mosaic’s Executive Chef Tim Voss and D’Amato’s Executive Chef Myles McVay on the Craig Fahle Show.
There are sure to be more appearances by our own Chef Dan Maurer, so keep listening and we’ll bring you the latest. You can also book a reservation and meet the man himself as he wines and dines you with his amazing cuisine.