Chef James Rigato’s Young Guns Are Back for the Second Course

It was the announcement foodies in Detroit—scratch that, everyone in Michigan who appreciates good food—was waiting for.

Following on the heels of this weekend’s wildly popular Young Guns dinner (which sold out in less than 48 hours and had ticketless people offering up their first-born child for a last minute chance spot at the table), organizing chef James Rigato announced the Young Guns will come together for a second dinner on Feb. 23 at Terry B’s Restaurant and Bar.

The Skinny:

  • Fun Fact:
  • Young Guns Dinner
  • Terry B’s Restaurant and Bar
    7954 Ann Arbor St.
    Dexter, MI 4813
  • Feb. 23
  • Tickets go on sale at 12 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 1
  • Call 734-426-3727

Like the first dinner, the second young guns takeover will be a night for the chefs to let loose—at least in a culinary sense. Rigato, the chef at The Root Restaurant & Bar, organized the group of up-and-coming stars to bring attention to the growing metro Detroit food scene.

“The business dictates everything a chef does. But this is one night to remove the power of the owners,” Rigato said. “It’s a free-for-all of talent without any confines of typical business.”

The cooking line-up for the second dinner will remain the same, with the exception of Andy Hollyday who was unavailable. He will be replaced by Doug Hewitt, chef at hosting restaurant, Terry B’s. We asked Rigato to give us a rundown on each chef, and tell us what makes them worthy to wear the title “young gun.”

  • Doug Hewitt (Terry B’s) is a sorely underexposed chef. We grew up in the same town and went to the same high school, but the culinary industry is what brought us together as friends. He makes some of the best charcuterie I’ve ever had, and is the kind of chef that often forages, harvests and produces his own food. His cooking is exceptional.  
  • Michael Barrera (Streetside Seafood) is a great customer of mine, and a really great guy. I love his passion for food and excitement about the industry. His restaurant, Streetside Seafood, is the most approachable, comfortable spot in Birmingham, Mich.
  • Brennan Calnin (Imperial) is electric. Not only are his taco, salsas and bar food ridiculously high class at Imperial, but he’s holding back immense talent. I think he’s a star about to burst. His flavors are so loud and tight I’m inspired by a goddamn taco.
  • To me, Nikita Santches (Rock City Pies) is the definitive Young Gun. Blue collar. Tireless. He literally built his reputation one plate at a time and built his own restaurant one brick at a time. I’m excited about his future.
  • Nick Janutol (Forest Grill) and I worked together years ago at the Rugby Grille when I was a line cook and he was as intern from the Culinary Institute of America. Nick was a relatively quiet, young guy who I’d challenge to late night dance offs in the kitchen, to which he’d lose. But since then his career flourished, as did his resume. I think his attention to detail and French-focused style rounds out the group.

Now, it’s time to start flexing your fingers and practicing how to speed dial. The tickets will go on sale Tues., Dec. 10, at noon, and you can be sure they’ll go fast.