Reserve Wine & Food is passionate about using ingredients that are local, high-quality, sustainable, and seasonal. Trevor, our new sous chef, shares this passion and is committed to creating dishes for guests that are locally sourced and seasonally driven. He talks about a few of our latest menu items in the interview below, while also highlighting the individuals and organizations that integral to and support our efforts to create seasonal food specials.
Q: Tell us about the most recent menu at Reserve. What are some of your favorite dishes?
A: A lot of our changes are seasonally driven, meaning this answer changes all the time. The peak freshness periods for several different ingredients are so short, so we have to make sure we are using things at their best. We wanted to make the menu a bit more succinct in this change, so we stuck with our favorite dishes that require only high-quality summer ingredients. Of the new dishes, my favorite is the Pork and Clams. I love the flavors that pork introduces to a dish like this, and clams are my favorite seafood. Clams work well with pork anyways, and this iteration has elevated the taste of this dish.
Q: Explain how you source some of these menu items. Where do you get the greens, the produce, the proteins, etc.?
A: We are sourcing a lot of our proteins from Louise Earl Butcher and our seafood from Motor City Seafood. We get a lot of produce from Visser Farms and Green Wagon. These sources are so critical to our mission because they supply us with the food we need to craft high-end cuisine, and they do so without the unhealthy packaging and transportation practices that have become common in the modern food industry. The coolest part about our locally sourced menu is what we source ourselves. We are using a lot of items from our very own rooftop garden, growing as much as we can here at 201 Monroe. The herbs and flowers are grown by our team and harvested on the day that we use them. It’s even more local than the rest of our locally sourced menu. “Hyper local,” you might say. To be able to grow these things and then see them contribute to our menu gives our whole team a sense of pride in doing the work of food preparation right. Getting to have some control over the process is really cool as well. We can focus on things we want to use rather than limiting ourselves to only what we can buy from someone else.
Q: Why is sourcing locally important to you and to Reserve?
A: Sourcing locally builds a sense of community, while helping local farmers. The pride that they take in growing quality food products relates directly to the quality of our food, and the trust we display for each other continues to drive improvement for each of us. Additionally, we don’t need to worry about something getting packed onto a truck and getting shipped across the country. Instead, our ingredients stay as fresh as possible. As a business, we have a lot of power to impact people’s lives with our dollars. Our relationships with the local sources we work with form a self-sustaining little ecosystem; the more we invest in our community, the more they invest in us.
Q: Share why seasonally driven cuisine is important.
A: Seasonality is important because we’re able to keep the menu rotating along with the environment, serving what nature is ready to produce. It also allows us to maintain convenient relationships with our farmers. It doesn’t feel natural to use something when it’s not at its best. By using products that are consistently at their best, we can maintain a level of quality that other non-seasonal restaurants cannot. Our seasonality also helps us think ahead and keep our creativity going. When a product has only a few weeks left at its peak, we look ahead and start brainstorming for what we can do next.
Q: What is the most valuable thing you have learned from working with a fresh and local menu?
A: The importance of treating all products with respect. I make sure to use all of it, tip to tail. When I get to meet the farmers and producers who grow food themselves and shake their hand, I want to honor their efforts. It’s painful for me to throw things out. It really does hurt. The people behind these products are putting their livelihoods into it, and it’s our job to use it responsibly. Seeing a farmer’s face light up when they come to Reserve and see what final form their produce has taken is an absolute privilege. Respect is the main thing I have learned from working with our menu, and it continues to amaze me how valuable it really is.
Ready to taste our latest locally sourced and seasonally driven delights? Excellent. Make a reservation and join us Tuesday – Saturday at Reserve Wine & Food. Ask your server for more information about each dish and tell us about your experience on social media using #reservegr.
Meet Trevor Mathiak
Our team is excited to welcome Trevor Mathiak back to Reserve as Sous Chef. Trevor worked at Reserve in 2013/14 before moving to California. He was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with a family who enjoyed cooking. He always loved helping out in the kitchen and decided to parlay that interest into a culinary career early on. Trevor attended Le Cordon Bleu in Miami, Florida, before joining Reserve in 2013. At Reserve he learned the art of whole animal butchery and charcuterie, as well as bread baking. In 2014 Trevor and his wife packed their bags and went to California, where he worked at Jeninni Kitchen + Wine Bar as Chef de Cuisine. Eventually he made his way to Aubergine Restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea, where he worked under Chef Justin Cogley. The Aubergine team, including Trevor, earned a coveted Michelin Star in 2019. This year Trevor and his wife (and newborn daughter) decided to return to Michigan. Reserve was a natural choice, given his first experience there.