By LaVonne Trent, Lifestyle Editor
Photography by Michael-Anthony
Exploring the culinary magic of THE Detroit Institute for the Art ’s Executive Chef Larry Duren, Sr., Haute is Magazine captures a behind-the scenes glimpse of the fast -paced and intense work life of a world-class chef . He and his staff manages the day-to-day upscale buffet -style food preparation , while Accommodating galas and high-end events .
Royalty strolls through her new gilded halls, extraordinary sculptures sparkle on every corner, the world’s most treasured masterpieces officially rest in her legendary galleries, and millions have viewed her ancient artifacts — discovered and collected from around the world. Yet, in the midst of this mecca of art and culture, art-lovers’ applause are directed to the Detroit Institute of Art’s unpretentious culinary force: Top Chef Master, Larry Duren, Sr.
Whether it’s feeding stately officials and high-profile donors or providing gourmet food service to visitors and DIA members; the prestigious museum relies on its talented and highly respected executive chef, Larry Duren, Sr. The award-winning chef and his Sodexo team are responsible for consistently delivering culinary artistry for any occasion.
Duren has a passion for the arts, music and cooking simple American cuisine. Duren’s art and music influences blend well with the DIA’s cultural offerings, which often provides the creative spark needed when developing dishes for the museum-goers’ ethnically diverse palates.
During our visit with Duren, he prepared two amazing dishes: seared salmon with potato and watercress salad and beef short ribs with whole green beens.
When it comes to cooking, his philosophy is to cook as Mother Nature intended. He buys locally produced seasonal and organic ingredients; keeps recipes simplistically refined, elegantly presented, and allows the food to soulfully and deliciously speak for itself. “It’s important that my food appeal to all individuals. A stunning visual presentation sets the stage for exceeding the diners’ taste bud expectations,” says Duren. “Also, it’s a must that we support Michigan farmers and local food vendors who consistently provide us with fresh and quality products.”
Early in his 20-year museum career, Duren worked his way up through the ranks under the tutelage of the past four highly esteemed DIA executive chefs, where he gained his valuable culinary experience. Duren’s ability to artfully compose dishes is reflected in the sophisticated menu offerings at the newly renovated Kresge Court – CaféDIA. The CaféDIA is for the community to meet, dine, relax with a good book or work from the
many iPad stations. The design is a breathtaking work of art that gives art-lovers yet another reason to hang out at the DIA and in Detroit on a Friday evening.
Duren received the Iron Chef of Detroit Award in a contest hosted by WMXD-FM 92.5 and The Food Network. As a father and chef, Duren is a passionate supporter of “Feeding Our Future”, a program where thousands of children across the metropolitan Detroit area are fed free lunches in the fight against childhood hunger.
A native Detroiter and one of 15 siblings, Duren is an avid Detroit sports fan. He enjoys spending his spare time attending sports games of the Detroit Lions, Tigers and Pistons. “My family is a very important part of my life. I love cooking for my wife and family at holidays and other celebratory gatherings,” says Duren.
He passed his musical passion down to his children and proudly enjoys watching his two sons perform with their band, Late Night Early Morning. On the right night, you may even catch him singing on stage with the band.
What’s on the horizon for this once dishwasher turned executive chef? Plans are underway for his own internet cooking show so others can learn and enjoy his unique cooking style.
Haute is Magazine gives cultural accolades to a quiet culinary gem — Executive Chef Larry Duren, Sr.