It was in 1917 that a small group of Grosse Pointe and “Hills” residents purchased 6.7 acres at the dirt road intersection of Bloomfield Center Road (now Long Lake Road) and Ball Line Road (now Kensington Road) for the purpose of pursuing their recreational passion of fox hunting. From that special direction, a truly unique family club has emerged.
Located on the property, the Hagerman Farmhouse (circa 1834) was utilized as the original BOH clubhouse. Additions in 1926 provided a larger kitchen and dining facilities for a growing membership. It was also in the 20’s when the club purchased its first vehicle – a Ford truck – cost $785.24. The major renovation came in 1929 with the addition of the Indoor Riding Ring – stable expansion and observation room – the current Ring Room.
The depression in the 30’s and WWII in the 40’s slowed expansion. The post war years however saw a dramatic increase in membership and its accompanying clamor for more family activities. Thus came the purchase of 88.8 acres and the construction of the Skeet Range. The first swimming pool and tennis courts were welcomed in 1955, along with a major Dining Room addition. This same year brought the erection of the lighting towers in the main outdoor show ring which enhanced the growing popularity of the nationally renowned Detroit Horse Show. A highlight of “the Hills” June social calendar was the Detroit/Motor City Horse Show. The club started hosting the show in 1934 and continued until 2000.
Although actual fox hunting ended in 1965 the equestrian facet continued to thrive with new barns and over 70 acres for riding and both indoor and outdoor rings. In the next three decades, the trend towards a wide variety of sports and recreational facilities to the broad interest of the members took shape and continues into the next century.
In 1996, the membership, in a bold and dramatic move, decided to replace the worn and weary historic clubhouse with a handsome, 10,000 square foot new clubhouse, built Kentucky style, in its place. Constructed of authentic wood clapboard, this two-story building is topped by copper-clad cupolas. The 21st century amenities complement the original Ring Room with its wonderful floor to ceiling fieldstone fireplace. The Ring Room has a wall of windows that look into the equestrian activity in the indoor riding ring. Every effort was made to retain the tapestry of warmth and charm so prevalent in the old clubhouse. What began in 1917 as a country place has grown into the BLOOMFIELD OPEN HUNT of today.
Bloomfield Open Hunt is “home away from home” for families and children of all ages and a scope of year-round activities unlike those of any other area club – with acres of land reminiscent of being out in the country yet so readily accessible right in the heart of the City of Bloomfield Hills.
Our six original founders might still recognize the clapboard-and-green shuttered look of our colonial buildings, the white horse-farm fencing, the spreading elms…but inside and out, they would find the BOH of the present to be quite different from their original intentions. They would find “an equestrian facility” and much, much more – truly the BLOOMFIELD OPEN HUNT has become a unique family club for all seasons.
In 2007, Jonathon moved back to his hometown to pursue his dream of opening his own restaurant. Before his dream was realized, chef Sawyer partnered with a local entrepreneur to open Bar Cento, a modern Roman enoteca in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. During his tenure as Chef and Partner, Bar Cento received many accolades, including Northern Ohio Live‘s Best New Restaurant, and brought Jonathon much personal attention, earning him the Rising Star Chef award from both Restaurant Hospitality and GAYOT.
Since those days Jonathon has opened two two restaurants in Cleveland, his flagship The Greenhouse Tavern, a French and seasonally inspired gastropub and Noodlecat, a mash-up noodlehouse focusing on local ingredients, sustainability, and the best ramen Cleveland has ever seen. Both restaurants are certified by the Green Restaurant Association, and The Greenhouse Tavern has earned many accolades including Best New Restaurants in the United States by Bon Appetit Magazine. Jonathon Sawyer was also honored as a recipient of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef award in 2010.
With the opening of Noodlecat also came the concept of Brick & Mortar Pop-ups, Cleveland’s first pop up restaurant group. The pop-up restaurants have become a huge hit and include guest chefs Lee Anne Wong, Jeff Michaud, Jason Roberts, Amanda Freitag and more. Chef Jonathon Sawyer has also made several national television appearances including Iron Chef America, Dinner Impossible, Unique Eats, and Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Chef Jonathon Sawyer started the Tavern Vinegar Company in 2011. He can often be found in the cellar of his century home where he ferments over 300 gallons of single origin and blended wine, beer and malt vinegars for the restaurants and for retail sale. Tavern Vinegar Co. is available on the Greenhouse Tavern website and in specialty shops around the country including Publican Quality Meats in Chicago, The Dredger’s Union in Cleveland, and Revival Market in Houston.
When Jonathon is not in the kitchen he is surrounded by his family, his wife Amelia, son Catcher, daughter Louisiana, dogs Potato and Vito, and chickens Acorn, Bunny, Ginger, Trout, Bear & Squid. Jonathon is a tireless supporter of the green movement, local agriculture, and sustainable businesses both in Northeast Ohio and around the country.
Chef’s not done yet! A second Noodlecat location opened in Cleveland’s Historical West Side Market in April 2012, and a brand new concept, “Sawyer’s Street Frites,” is being launched at Cleveland Browns Stadium during the 2012-2013 football season.
Working at Joseph Decuis, he has learned the importance of working with fresh local foods. At their farm, they raise Wagyu cattle, chickens, herbs, and vegetables. In addition, they supplement with produce, meats, and dairy items from other local and similarly minded farms. These other farms tend to be small farms, many of whom are producing heritage breeds. Working with these local farms, they serve items only when they’re in season locally. As Chef Aaron stated, “Indiana tomatoes are amazing, but when they’re gone, we don’t have them any more. We don’t buy them from California or Mexico to keep them on the menu.” Located in Indiana and having standards such as that, it may seem difficult to provide produce to their diners in the winter. Chef Aaron did note, “We do have to source, some things can’t be grown locally. Our citrus comes from Florida. Arugula salad is grown north of Indianapolis, hydroponically, which keeps us in greens year round.” In addition, this restaurant has formed a relationship with a local Amish family that should help solve the problem. The family has built a greenhouse and will be growing items, such as collard greens and kale, for the restaurant’s use.
Discussing what he likes best on the menu, Chef Aaron indicated that the Wagyu beef was a favorite ingredient for cooking. The farm has been raising these cattle for seven years, and within that time it’s changed what the chefs can do with the beef. Instead of working with only the “good cuts”, such as filet, the chefs use all parts of the cow. As he explained, “We can elevate mundane cuts. When we are left with rounds, rump roasts, flank steak, and a ton of other cuts, we use cuts like that in a way that is up to our standard, which is always fun.” In fact, next year they may try to butcher their own cattle to maximize the amount of cuts that they get.
Moving from food to customers, we discussed why Joseph Decuis has so many loyal patrons. Chef Aaron attributed it to two factors, “The quality of food and quality of service. It is leaps and bounds above local restaurants.” He continued, “People come to us for the honesty of our food. Some people view it as a trend, but it is something we live by. It is not trendy. They know the eggs in the pasta are from 6 miles up the road. The chicken is fresh, never frozen. They know where the food is coming from.”
Working at Joseph Decuis with truly farm fresh ingredients and dedicated staff, Chef Aaron may be another one of the reasons why their patrons are so loyal.
Prior to joining The Townsend Hotel team, Chef Sayes most recently served as executive chef at the prestigious Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga. Prior to that, he worked for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company at various property locations throughout the U.S., including Dearborn, Mich., Marina del Rey, Calif., New Orleans, La. and Buckhead, Ga.
A native of the metro Detroit area, Chef Sayes received his formal training at the Culinary Studies Institute located at Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Mich., and further honed his skills through cooking competitions and time working for some of the area’s top chefs. In August 2012, Chef Sayes became a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation.
Chef Sayes takes pride in serving his guests only the finest quality products from his kitchen. He is an avid supporter of local farms and supporting sustainable practices. He focuses on regional cuisine rooted in French technique with approachable, unpretentious flavors.
When he’s not in the kitchen, Chef Sayes enjoys giving back to the community through teaching and mentoring opportunities.
Prior to his appointment as pastry chef, Brockenshire gained experience throughout the Metro Detroit area. From 1994 to 1997 he worked as an entry-level cook at two country clubs in Windsor, Ont. In 1997 he was hired as a cook for The Townsend Hotel and transferred to the bakery within a year. As an entry-level baker, Brockenshire was responsible for all bakery item production for the hotel – bread, brownies, cookies, cakes and muffins. In 1999 Brockenshire was promoted to sous chef for the bakery. He was responsible for overseeing all aspects of production and for the ordering and finishing of all cakes and pastries.
“I love watching my customers’ faces light up after biting into one of our pastries, tortes or cakes,” said Brockenshire. “It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to create the wedding cake of a bride’s dream or the rich torte that becomes the centerpiece of a special banquet.”
Although Brockenshire manages a hectic schedule, he finds work-life balance as a competitive cyclist.
Brockenshire resides in Oakland County and is a graduate of Oakland Community College with an associate’s degree in culinary arts.
Danko began working as a line cook with Chef Jonathon Sawyer in 2009; he was young, eager, and ready to learn. Sawyer immediately recognized his talent and abilities and after two years of dedicated hard work, Danko began creating the dessert menus at The Greenhouse Tavern & Noodlecat. In 2012 Danko was one of two pastry chefs nationally recognized with an Eater.com Young Gun Award. Finding inspiration in art, music, food and fashion, Danko creates desserts that are traditional & trendy, fun & formal, and absolutely delicious.
“That experience really gave me a leg up on other students,” Sheridan says. The 38-year-old has worked for owner Mark McDonnell’s LaSalle Grill in South Bend for the past 10 years, eight of them as head chef. The highlight of the restaurant, Sheridan says, is its open hardwood grill that uses a mixture of 10 different woods. It produces moist, flavorful steaks, seafood and lamb.
“We developed our Caribbean-spiced hardwood-grilled mahi mahi wrapped in banana leaf when we were planning a menu for a Caribbean-themed dinner,” he says. “Mahi mahi is a firm, steak-like fish, not unlike swordfish, that comes in red but cooks up white.”
Hawaiian fish like mahi mahi have less fat content than some Atlantic varieties, so proper grilling techniques can make or break the dish, Sheridan says. “We encase it in a banana leaf, and it stays perfectly moist and delicious. It’s like cooking en croute (in crust) or en papillote (in paper). We serve it with steamed jasmine rice, and a mango-papaya-rum relish. It makes a beautiful presentation.” And a glorious meal.
Upon returning home from Switzerland Chef Kevin worked as the Banquet Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine at the Detroit Athletic Club, as Executive Sous Chef for Greektown Casino in Detroit, and Executive Chef for Peabody’s Restaurant in Birmingham, MI. Chef Kevin is currently the Executive Chef for the Bloomfield Open Hunt Club in Bloomfield Hills, MI.
Chef Kevin is an Active Member of the Michigan Chefs de Cuisine and the American Culinary Federation.