[CRUSH Michigan] The Root & Chef James Rigato

Chef James Rigato is one of a kind. Not only is he the executive chef in one of metro Detroit’s best restaurants, but he’s probably one of the coolest most down to earth guys you’ll ever meet. Utterly passionate about his food and where it comes from, Rigato can wax poetic for hours about local farmers, the school lunch system, or any other food related topic you’d like to discuss. Oh, and he also loves chatting about music.

CRUSH Michigan is this Saturday (9/22). Rigato and crew from The Root Restaurant & Bar will be there in full force. CRUSH is an ideal time for The Root to make an impact on people who might know about it or just haven’t traveled up to White Lake yet (it’s only 4o minutes from Detroit – totally worth it). “We’re showcasing the best of Michigan,” says Rigato. Their CRUSH dish will have Michigan front and center: Crispy, braised Michigan pork belly over celery root & roasted garlic mousse topped with roasted butternut squash, fennel, & smoked Marcona almond relish, garnished with sage oil.

This dish is a little more subdued than Rigato is used to especially compared to the pork belly dish on The Root’s everyday menu. Of course, this dish is still delicious. The flavors work together splendidly and will pair perfectly with wine.

If pork belly isn’t your thing, swing by The Root’s table and talk with Chef Rigato for a few minutes. He’s got a great attitude not only regarding food, but the entire state of Michigan. “Every time you buy something at a grocery store, you’re casting a vote,” Rigato says, “Demand local. Buy local.” Rigato’s thought is if we all clamor for more local products, stores and restaurants would start carrying more. It’s simple supply & demand and we totally agree with him.

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More photos from The Root on Flickr

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