Kelli Lewton lives and works by the tenet that all the food we execute should be sourced as close to the vine as possible. She is a graduate of the prestigious Schoolcraft Culinary Arts College and has been teaching culinary arts as a chef instructor at Schoolcraft upwards of 20 years. She is a regular guest host on Fox 2 News Cooking School, writes and contributes to numerous publications, is the recipient of a number of culinary awards and is proud to have been of service to two U.S. Presidents, as well as numerous professional athletes and celebrities. Here catering service, Two Unique, celebrates cutting edge and diverse menu styles. Says Kelli: “It all starts and ends with the food. That is what they will remember 1, 2, 5 or 10 years from now.”
When and how did you know you'd end up in the food business?
I feel very blessed that I always knew what my passion was! When I was a little girl, I had a special box I would stand on to reach the counter to stir cake batter, scoop cookie dough and even roll dough for noodles! I started working at a bakery when I was 14 and then moved on to the “big Leagues” when I was 15 as a Coney Island waitress. On Saturday mornings when I opened, my hungover boss would nod off at the back table and let me cook eggs and all sorts of fun stuff until we had our first morning rush! Most of my lasting memories from childhood include cooking, baking, etc.
What is your favorite dish to cook?
Gosh, that is like asking which one of your kids you like best! I would say close-to-vine real food with an American regional/local vibe.
What is your favorite dish to eat?
Whatever I am eating on a given day!
What was your most interesting dining experience?
A pop-up dinner in a Detroit-area field. It was an amazing, 72-degree sunny afternoon/early evening and the heirloom tomato salad was so perfect it made me tear up. All of meal’s produce was grown in Detroit, the simple chicken dish for dinner was divine and we sipped wine we brought ourselves. That was the day I fell in love with the man I married one year later. #favoritedinnerever!
What do you love most about Detroit?
Most everything! The people, the vibe, the self-expression, the Eastern Market, the art, the food, the ethnic diversity, beat the train, slow roll, quiet days on the river front, Corktown, the Tigers and Lions, the DIA, the shops and their owners. The list is really endless!
Who inspires/ed you?
So many people along the way, but I think Martha Stewart was one of my first ah-ha moments alone with Alice Waters as well as the culinary school that molded me; Schoolcraft College, where I also now teach.