Big Rock Chef Named Chef of the Year by State Culinary Association
Brian Henson from Birmingham's Big Rock Chop House was named Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation's Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association.
One of Birmingham's top chefs has now been recognized as one of the best chefs in the state.
Brian Henson, executive chef for the Big Rock Chop House, was recently named Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation's Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association (MCCA).
Henson won the title after creating the award-winning entree at the MCCA Chef of the Year cooking competition, held at the Country Club of Detroit on July 2. The winner was announced at the Chef of the Year awards gala on Aug. 27.
Henson was up against a slate of Detroit's best chefs, including Kevin Peasgood, CEC and executive chef at the Bloomfield Open Hunt Club; and Daniel Daniot, CEC and executive chef at Edgewood Country Club.
During the competition, chefs were given an entire arctic char and one and a half hours to develop four identical entree plates. Henson took home the grand prize with his arctic char with smoked char pierogi, served with golden beet sour cream, chanterelles, fennel and toasted hazelnut vinaigrette.
The American Culinary Federation's MCCA Chef of the Year award was first awarded in 1975. To compete, candidates are nominated by their peers based on their personal and professional skills, accomplishments, contributions to the MCCA chapter and industry, leadership and mentorship experience.
"I'm very honored to be recognized with this prestigious distinction in front of all my peers and previous MCCA Chef of the Year award winners," Henson said. "Receiving this award this year is even more special for me because this is the first year the Chef of the Year award was turned into a cooking competition and earning an award that honors our culinary godfather — Milos Cihelka — is one of every Michigan chefs' ultimate goals."
Henson was named executive chef at Big Rock in 2008 after spending more than 20 years at restaurants around the country. He currently oversees a staff of 25 and is responsible for all aspects of the kitchen.
In 2010, Henson received the Level 1 Sommelier distinction from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Henson is also the current treasurer for the MCAA.
The Chef of the Year trophy is a bronze cast of Chef Milos and is currently on display at Big Rock. The trophy is engraved with all previous winners' names and will be showcased at the Birmingham restaurant all year.