Chef Ed Sura has been gazing upon Detroit from afar, and occasionally he enjoys coming to the Motor City to experiment in the kitchen with his friends.
His posse when he’s in town includes the venerable James Rigato (the Root, Mabel Gray), Andy Hollyday (Selden Standard), Doug Hewitt Jr. (Chartreuse), and others who make up the region’s squad of talented and collaborative chefs who are making waves in the food scene.
When he’s not here, Sura, 31, a Mount Pleasant native, is working as executive chef at the award-winning NoMI Kitchen at the Park Hyatt Chicago.
“Every time I come back, it’s very different here — that’s what I love about Detroit,” Sura tells us. “What I also love about the city is there’s a real sense of community. Chicago has a strong community of chefs too, but in Detroit, it’s still relatively new as the city revitalizes.”
Sura developed his love for cooking while growing up in rural Michigan, and he started his career in Traverse City’s already thriving dining culture. After moving to the more competitive Chicago, he started coming to Detroit a few years ago when he joined Rigato and Co. to participate in the Young Guns series. He has since become hooked to the energy developing here and has gone on to hold his own pop-ups at (revolver) and Yemans Street in Hamtramck, and has held the occasional guest spot at Mabel Gray.
His next visit will be to team up with Wright & Co. chef-partner Marc Djozlija to cook for the Savor Detroit Dinner Series from Oct. 3-7. The duo will join acclaimed local chefs like Nick Janutol (Forest in Birmingham), Brad Greenhill (Katoi, Detroit), and Takashi Yagihashi (Slurping Turtle, Ann Arbor), who are all also paired with other known chefs. We asked Sura a few questions to get to know him better.
Metro Times: What daily ritual is non-negotiable for you?
Ed Sura: Reflection. I always take time at the end of the day to reflect on service, what we did well, what we can do better, successes and struggles.
MT: What is the most positive thing in food or beverage that you’ve noticed in Detroit over the past year?
Sura: Collaboration with other chefs, and that there’s just more and more competition coming. It’s important to keep the talent coming in.
MT: Who is your Detroit food crush?
Sura: James Rigato. I love the entire team at Mabel Gray.
MT: Who’s the one person to watch right now in the Detroit dining scene?
Sura: Again, James Rigato.
MT: Which ingredient is most representative of your personality?
Sura: Sauerkraut or country pate.
MT: If you weren’t working in the restaurant business, what would you be doing?
Sura: I would be a farmer. I grew up on a farm and always felt connected to the people that grow our food.
MT: What is your after-work hangout?
Sura: My back porch or the dive bar on the corner. In Chicago, that would be the Field House in Lincoln Park. Whenever I’m in Detroit, I like to try to go to different spots. Lately, it’s been Standby.
MT: What’s your food or beverage guilty pleasure?
Sura: Raw chocolate chip cookie dough (don’t tell the pastry chefs).
MT: What would be your last meal on Earth?
Sura: Open-face sandwich, scrambled eggs, white bread, and ketchup.