The authors of the Rogue Estate get together weekly for what we call "Chef's Night". Think of it as a dinner club with purpose.
We take turns in a regular rotation of hosting these nights so that everyone has an opportunity to have his or her kitchen completely obliterated on a regular basis. Whomever is hosting will also typically draw up the menu, buy the groceries and dole out the prep/cook assignments to those attending for that week.
We also take one week off per cycle to go on a field trip, usually to a new-to-us market for shopping and exploration followed by dinner at a new-to-us restaurant.
We've found it's a fantastic way to sample and learn new cuisines and techniques, continue to hone our skills and most importantly have a great time with great friends enjoying amazing meals. The bonus: We can also photograph tons of "Food Porn" and write about our recipes and experiences in the first person to share with the world.
During a recent discussion, Jack wrote it best:"The blogosphere is rife with food related opinions. There is a great deal of ego involved a lot of the time, as well. Enter the Rouge Estate... Our central philosophy is if you haven't done it with your own hands, you can't write about it. We are a totally hands-on group. Toward that end, we are hoping to demystify the process of cooking. At least make some sort of impact. If one person says we gave them the courage to try something for themselves, we feel we've done our job. We're also trying to call awareness to the great bounty of Michigan products that are largely ignored by the public in general. Michigan wines, for instance, aren't all Manischewitz clones anymore, Michigan beer has been close to the top of the heap for a long time and Michigan produce, in most cases, is better than anything else you can get from, well, anywhere! Strawberries, asparagus, apples, you name it. If it's grown in Michigan, it's worth checking out. And yes, I did just imply that our apples are better than those from Washington, because they are! We also have a burgeoning dairy industry. There are some great creameries and cheese makers in these parts. Despite all this greatness, despite the fact that every season in Michigan yields some sort of treasure, and despite the fact that most people are unaware of this, we soldier on. The public ignorance might just be due to apathy. I can see that. This is largely a working class state, so to me this comes as no surprise. Most people are more inclined to buy the factory farm raised chicken because it's cheaper and because they are blissfully unaware of why this is the case. Not that I'm trying to soapbox here, but a little more thought needs to be put into what we buy and consume. In short, we do what we do because we love it. We get together nearly every week to cook and expose each other to new ingredients and techniques. We might have an ego about it sometimes... but it's because we've been there and done it, with our own hands... Have you?" We hope our chef's night adventures encourage you to go boldly into the kitchen and cook new things. We're happy to answer any questions and heck, we'll even play requests - Is there a dish or cuisine you think we should cover? Let us know. -Bob, Jack, Ian & Steve.