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James Rigato
<p>James Rigato is a Rising Star Chef.</p>

Rising Stars: James Rigato

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Root Restaurant & Bar, just outside Detroit, may be the perfect neighborhood spot for a chill farm-to-table meal. Its relaxed atmosphere marries beautifully with the exquisite contemporary American cooking of its chef/owner James Rigato. Think cider-braised pork shoulder on a cold Michigan night. The Detroit Free Press was so impressed, it named Root its 2012 restaurant of the year. Late last year, Rigato opened his second restaurant, Mabel Gray, in a renovated Coney-style diner. It's proving he’s no one-trick pony. With a mere 43 seats, Mabel Gray’s menu is also refined, yet earthy and Michigan centric. Everything is made from scratch and sourced from local farms. Rigato raises his own pigs and goats, though his skill extends to vegan menu items as well. But what’s drawing a lot of attention is offerings such as beef heart Reuben and Buffalo duck wings, made with Hudson Valley duck, a house Buffalo sauce and blue cheese slaw. It’s simple, unpretentious comfort food cooked on the highest of levels. It’s no wonder he was named Food & Wine’s 2015 People’s Best New Chef: Great Lakes.

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