Joe Nader is the executive chef at Ford Field and Levy Restaurants, which in itself is already a hefty job. (65,000 hungry fans every week for a whole season?) But the longtime Metro Detroiter thinks he has time to spare, which is why he and two other Detroit chefs are teaming up to launch the Detroit Three, a food-focused philanthropic concern with a special eye for the young and hungry.
Though they're not as far-reaching as that other, more automotive-minded Detroit Three, Nader says he thinks his group can use the excitement bubbling up around the burgeoning Detroit culinary scene to change the conversation about the city's future.
Nader has already devoted a sizable chunk of his time to area food-related charities. He told Eater Detroit that his work with Cooking Matters Michigan, the state chapter of a national organization devoted to teaching good culinary and food preparation skills to underprivileged and SNAP-program recipients in the community, inspired him to collaborate on the Detroit Three.
"I see it as using culinary-based events for a cause," Nader said. "I don't want to just do my own fun time in my free time. If I can help facilitate other chefs collaborating on a cause, I'm doing something right."
The Detroit Three — Nader, Jake Williams of Cooking Matters Michigan and Scott Breazeale, executive chef at John D Bistro in Ferndale and formerly of Novi's Chop House — will come together for the first time on Tuesday, July 9 for a special six course Asian-themed prix fixe Umami dinner at St. CeCe's Pub in Corktown, with the profits from the food portion going to Cooking Matters Michigan and The Chef and Child Foundation. St. CeCe's already features guest chefs for popup meals on Tuesdays, but Nader said that he sees his event as an opportunity for something more.
Nader said he thinks the energy and group mentality of local chefs could help make people outside the city recognize both the charities that benefit and the chefs that help put future events together. Chefs with ties to the area and careers in other cities have already expressed an interest in creating guest chef events for future Detroit Three meals.
"We want people to realize the grassroots movement on the ground here," Nader said. "We want to keep all this untapped talent in town before everyone leaves, and we wanna keep fostering that movement."
The Detroit Three Umami Dinner is Tuesday, July 9 at St. CeCe's Pub in Corktown. Seatings, which cost $50, are available at six and eight p.m. All proceeds from the meal portion of the event will go to Cooking Matters Michigan and The Chef and Child Foundation.
· The Detroit Three [Official]
· St. CeCe's Pub [Official]
· Chefs Unite to Address Kids and Hunger [DetNews]