Marc Bogoff might be the best chef you've never heard of.
He's the founder of Stockyard, a food service that hosts pop-up dinners in Metro Detroit.
Serving up expertly crafted dishes, Bogoff and sous chef Pedro Nunez combine simple ingredients to create complex flavors. A salad at Thursday's pop-up dinner at a loft in Pontiac paired greens, apples, and persimmons with burnt honey, tart yogurt, and ginger snap crumbs. (Who wouldn't like a salad sprinkled with cookies?)
The main course combined beef short ribs and bay scallops with corn puree and citrus "caviar" -- the tiny bulbs of juice found within a finger lime.
Bogoff has hosted seven dinners, or supper clubs as they call them, at the Pontiac loft since June, each with a new five course menu. He plans is to host dinners in Detroit and other Metro Detroit locations in 2014.
Bogoff's food skills are largely self-taught, he says. While studying finance and journalism DePaul University in Chicago, the Metro Detroit native worked in restaurants -- although never as a chef.
At Table 52 in Chicago, Bogoff worked "in the back butchering pigs and doing all these things no one else wanted to do."
While he was there, he was intrigued by watching chef Art Smith, Oprah's former personal chef, in the kitchen. Bogoff says the experience was when he "first took notice of my love for food and hospitality."
A few restaurant jobs later, Bogoff moved back to Metro Detroit, where the Stockyard way of dining was born. A friend asked Bogoff to serve dinner at a graduation party. Guests liked the food, so the pair continued crafting meals about once a month from a loft space in Pontiac.
"First it was for friends, then it was friends of friends, and now I don't know anyone at the dinners," Bogoff explained. So, they're ready to expand.
Stockyard will move from their tiny kitchen at the Pontiac loft to a banquet center near Eastpointe in January so they're better able to prepare for future pop-up dinners. The team is looking for a permanent home in Detroit.
Bogoff is planning 2014 meals in "cool spaces"-- Detroit flower shops, warehouses, and at Ponyride, a co-working space near Corktown.
The bigger digs in Eastpointe will also be prep grounds for the soon-to-be-open Stockyard food truck. Bogoff partnered with Mike Ivkov, a metro area real estate agent, to create a truck that will serve accessible gourmet sandwiches. The mobile Stockyard plans to serve lunch goers in Detroit two days a week and other metro cities a few other days a week starting at the end of January. It's also being rented out for weddings and events.
"I went to like 40 bakeries looking for bread," Bogoff said of his food truck planning. "It has to be perfect."