We've become used to the pop-up scene as making a space for new chefs trying to make their name before they get to head up their own brick-and-mortar kitchens. But the scene is getting so established, with several venues, ranging from Yemans Street and Revolver in Hamtramck to St. Cece's in Corktown and the weekly POP series above Checker Bar in Detroit, even long established chefs are joining the fun.
The latest is chef Zachary Smith. Smith spent 20 years leading kitchens at premier hotel restaurants in California (San Francisco, Carmel and San Mateo) and Nevada (Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe). About 20 years ago, he came back to his hometown of Detroit to work as head chef at Grosse Pointe's high-end eatery 123. He developed his own line of spices, which are still on the market, and briefly headed up Chef Zachary Café in the Michigan Building on Bagley downtown. But most of the last 15 years have been taken up by his work with such high-end supermarkets as Nino Salvaggio and Westborn as a chef and consultant, as well as raising his son.
These days, his son is taller than he is, and he find himself with the free time to put a hand back in the cooking game. It's something he's used to. Back in the day, his friends would throw him a 20-spot and a bottle of wine and he'd go shopping and cook them a fine meal. Doing a pop-up is just doing it for more people.