Chef Chris’ first significant cooking job came at the age of 19 in Columbus Ohio when he joined the staff at the Grandview Inn, a historic place known as a stopover for famous jazz musicians like Duke Ellington and Count Basie. He stayed for five years working closely with his mentor Edgar Zillner, a classically trained European Chef.
In 1988 Chef Chris moved to Florida and worked at Disney Worlds’ Buena Vista Palace Hotel. There he learned to deal with large parties of up to 3000 and normal evening crowds of 300 to 400 in the Hotels’ Australian themed steak house, which was also a celebrity favorite. A highlight was cooking dinner for Bob Hope and George Burns for five straight nights! After two years in sunny Florida the Chef began to miss his Midwestern roots and moved back to his home town-Detroit Michigan and took the position of Head Chef at Pine Trace Golf Club in Rochester Hills.
In 1992 he accepted an offer for the Head Chef Job at the Old Woodward Grill; an early day huge non-smoking restaurant that featured live blues bands on weekends. At the Old Woodward Grill Chef Chris would hit his culinary stride, perfecting his signature dish- Crawfish Gumbo and becoming passionate for Cajun/BBQ cuisines. During his tenure at the Old Woodward Grill Chef Chris became very interested in live blues music and forged relationships with some of Detroit’s finest blues musicians, which led to forming his own blues band. After the Grill was sold in’94 Chef Chris would amerce himself in Detroit’s’ blues music scene and put his culinary career on hold only accepting positions that aloud for him to pursue music on a fulltime basis.
Chef Chris’ musical break came in 2002 after he and his band traveled to Memphis Tennessee and won the prestigious International Blues Challenge. Subsequently the Blues Foundation named Chef Chris and his Nairobi Trio “The Best Unsigned Blues Band in the world.” For the next few years Chef Chris and his award winning blues band would travel extensively throughout the Midwest, and South performing at marquee blues events including the W.C. Handy Awards. Billboard Magazine named them a top ten independent artist and Chef Chris was twice nominated best R&B songwriter at the Detroit Music Awards. The band also released two CDs, which have enjoyed extensive air play locally and on XM satellite radio.
Early September 2004 marked the opening of a new Blues and BBQ venue in southeastern Michigan (The Northfield Roadhouse) and Chef Chris’ return to a serious kitchen position. While there Chef Chris mastered the balancing act of serving as the Roadhouse’ Head Chef and blues front man, earning him a huge following and deep respect for his highly popular BBQ/Cajun menu and his prowess as a top blues entertainer. He and his band would be the “house” band at the Roadhouse until the chef left in the spring of 2006 to pursue his own catering business.
Today Chef Chris is still heavily involved in both cooking and music. His bands have released a third and fourth CD in the spring of ’06 and ’09.He can be seen locally throughout the metro Detroit/Ann Arbor area and occasionally performs around the Midwest. In the spring of 2008 he began a new restaurant and catering venture; Chef Chris’ Boogie Woogie BBQ located in Pinckney, MI, which features many of his down home dishes for which he has steadily earned himself a reputation for throughout the years.
CHEF CHRIS' BOOGIE WOOGIE BBQ
5589 E. M36 PINCKNEY, MI 48169
Hamburg Village Plaza at Chilson Rd & M36 810-231-3400
Weds-11-8pm Thurs-Sat 11-9pm
Sun 2pm -7pm
Closed Monday & Tuesday
Content on these pages including; hours, menu items, prices and availability are subject to change.