Zingerman's Roadhouse Mac 'n cheese

Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan, isn’t your typical burger joint. Take the menu—if you look at it online, you can click through ingredients to see exactly where they come from. The chili and cheese fries might be an iconic menu item, but here you’ll find that the cheese is 2-year-old raw milk made at the Grafton Village Cheese Company in Vermont. And the beef? It’s from Dexter. With an eye towards the best, freshest ingredients possible, Alex Young, a James Beard award-winning chef, has brought all-American food to a new level at this Ann Arbor restaurant.

Here Chef Young answers a few questions about his favorite ingredients and cooking experiences. I’ll be posting his recipe for mac ‘n cheese tomorrow.

What three ingredients do you always keep stocked in your pantry?

Bread, potatoes, and onions

Your favorite meal to make or serve?

The first meal I learned to make is still my favorite, spaghetti bolognese.

We all have a favorite indulgence, for a chef like you it must be something spectacular?

Milk & cookies in the middle of the night is my worst and a roasted leg of lamb for my birthday is my favorite.

What’s one of your worst cooking mistakes?

Setting light to my 18-foot barbecue pit (with the meat on it) 20 minutes before a huge barbecue dinner at the roadhouse.

There are so many great Michigan-made food products, what is your pick?

Peaches, apples, asparagus, morel mushrooms…but it’s our homegrown beef for me.

What do you suggest for first-timers to Zingerman’s Roadhouse? What menu item should they make sure to try?

Mac & cheese, the burgers, bbq ribs, fried chicken…

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