The essentials for perfection

Culinary Arts alumn, James Rigato, co-hosts cooking podcast “Essential Cooking”

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Photo courtesy of Joe Vaughn

Ben Bolstrum, News Editor

When stepping foot inside Mabel Gray Kitchen, patrons know that chef James Rigato cares about the service he provides. That is why his work does not stop even when he clocks out at the end of the day. The Schoolcraft alumnus is not only the chef of a successful restaurant, but also the co-host of food-based podcast called “Essential Cooking.”

“How to sharpen your knives, what drinks to serve, where your seafood comes from – WDET’s Ann Delisi and James Beard-nominated chef James Rigato are here to empower you in the kitchen and have some fun along the way. Through interviews with chefs and industry experts, Essential Cooking is a key ingredient in your culinary journey.” This is how “Essential Cooking is explained in its description on NPR. Rigato and Delisi make sure that they fulfill this promise on every episode of their podcast by focusing on various culinary topics.

“We’re a fun and educational podcast built on demystifying and exploring the world of food through in-depth conversations and expert guest,” stated Rigato. “We hope to answer questions, build confidence and make you hungry.”

Rigato and Delisi bring on expert guests to discuss their niche biweekly with many more guests planned for future episodes. Rigato’s favorite aspect of the podcast is bringing on guests to talk about their expertise. Audience questions are also answered on the second Friday of the month from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on 101.9 WDET. Rigato says food is for everyone and that anyone who likes to learn, listen and create is welcome to tune in.

The general process of planning an episode begins with Rigato and Delisi discussing the topics they might want to discuss. Once this is finalized, they reach out to a guest and record their conversion in their studio. Delisi then edits the podcast to completion before publication.

Nine episodes are currently available to watch with varying topics from what spices to cook fish with, to the history of prohibition and how it affected the food industry.

An episode released Nov. 20 had a tell-all guide for getting the full possible potential out of

creating the perfect Thanksgiving dinner with tips such as how to roast a turkey or prepare the family’s favorite side dishes. As of Dec. 4, Essential Cooking has released its’ tenth episode of the podcast.

Rigato has a vast wealth of knowledge when it comes to the kitchen. His experience with Mabel Gray shows as much.

“Mabel Gray is a statement of my culinary evolution,” states Rigato on the restaurant’s website. “It is my point of view on the Renaissance of the Michigan food scene. Approachable and energetic, reclaimed and refined, it is a commitment to complex contrasts. I will be working at the stove every day, focused, in a true return to form as a craftsman.”

This kind of determination lends itself perfectly to an audio medium. A way to share this passion with others, in a digestible and informative format. In this sense, “Essential Cooking” handily delivers on Rigato’s promise and proves that the chef knows his craft well. Tune in to see what topic Rigato and Delisi tackle next on 101.9 WDET.

To listen to “Essential Cooking” click: npr.org/podcasts/896718579/ann-delisi-s-essential-cooking or search for it on any podcast app. For more information about chef Rigato or his work, please contact Mabel Gray, please call 248-398-4300 or email [email protected]. Make a reservation at exploretock.com/mabelgrayhazelpark/ .

Curbside Carryout Times:

Tuesday – Thursday: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday: 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.