Ari's Top 5
Here’s a quick roundup of 5 Zing things Ari is excited about this week—stuff you might not have heard of!
Cookies made at the Fancy Schmancy cookie class at BAKE!

BAKE! Schedule Hits the Streets

The tastiest higher education in town?

Everyone knows there’s a nationally recognized educational institution in Ann Arbor that’s very hard to get into. The school colors, if you’re not sure what I’m referring to, are maize and blue. Its football team plays pretty much every Saturday in autumn, usually on national television. To get in to the school, you have to fill out an extensive application, send it in to the admissions office, wait for months and hope that, after all that, you make the cut. Most who apply don’t get in.

Four decades-plus after University of Michigan accepted me, just another Chicago high schooler, into that program, there’s a second, nationally recognized school in Ann Arbor. Lesser known by far, but also becoming…harder to get into. The school colors? Well, maybe we should say they’re chocolate and vanilla. The school is BAKE!—the amazing program for teaching home bakers at the Bakehouse. In this case there’s no application to fill out, no recommendation letters to gather, and definitely no long waiting period you have to endure and agonize over.

All you have to do to get into BAKE! is go to the website and sign up for classes. No detailed application, no transcripts, no extracurriculars required. Just a few clicks on the computer, a love for baking and learning, and you’ll know in under a minute if you’re in!

The only thing about this school, though, is that spots are filling up fast! Really fast. The new season’s class schedule came out last week and in under 10 days we’ve already filled almost all the nearly 50 session of our Fancy Schmancy Holiday Cookies class and others from the new semester are selling out, too. “Customers were calling and emailing in May to find out when they could snatch up a Fancy Schmancy Holiday Cookie class for December,” says Sara Whipple, Marketing Manager at the Bakehouse. “Cookie mania is contagious. But that’s not all we’re selling out. We do have more than 70 different classes.”

If you’re thinking of going, or of giving a class (as so many folks do) as a gift to someone who loves baking, don’t dally. Our promise is that you’ll leave with hands-on skills you didn’t have when you arrived, and with a new appreciation of artisan baking. Oh yeah, you’ll also go home with a backseat full of baked goods! 😃

Of the myriad comments I get every day about our work, the most constant stream of compliments comes to me about these classes at BAKE!. True, there’s no football team, but I’m pretty sure you’ll have yourself a ball with the food. And I can guarantee with great confidence that the food at this Ann Arbor school is a lot better (by a factor of about 500) than what I got in the dorm all those decades ago!

Get baking!
Chef Chakriya Un plating food

Cool Cambodian Cooking Comes to Kerrytown on June 19

NYC’s Kreung Cambodia takes over Miss Kim's kitchen

The Lonely Planet travel guide describes Cambodia this way: “There's a magic about this charming yet confounding kingdom that casts a spell on visitors.” I’ve never been myself, but I want to go. Everyone I know who’s visited says the food is beyond fantastic. Since I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get there this year, the next best thing for me is to come to the special dinner at Miss Kim next Tuesday evening, June 19. For one night, Miss Kim is going Cambodian.

Miss Kim’s Chef Ji Hye Kim connected with Chef Chakriya Un of New York City’s Kreung Cambodia through last year’s Allied Media Conference through writer Stephen Satterfield, our wine consultant at the Roadhouse. While he was in town he’d had a fantastic meal at Miss Kim (which later turned into a full-color, six-page feature in his wonderful Whetstone magazine) and he recommended it to two other attendees—Ora Wise who’s organized a Dream Café at the conference and Kim Chou of NY’s Food Book Fair. While there they sang Chakriya’s praises. As Ji Hye says, “The three of us joked in passing that Chakriya and I should cook together and do a pop up dinner together. And, now, a year later, it's coming true.”

“I talked to Chakriya on the phone for the first time just last week,” Ji Hye told me, “but it's as though our stories mirror each other in a particular immigrant, Asian-woman-chef way. I want this dinner to really reflect her food and experience, have it be a learning experience for us at Miss Kim, too. That's why this is called ‘Kitchen Take Over’ rather than ‘pop-up dinner’.”

Chef Chakriya Un explained further: “Kreung is a project that seeks to address trauma created by the Khmer Rouge, create a space for dialogue with my family and community to share stories about their life experience before, during, and after the Khmer Rouge. It’s a way for us to record history that otherwise would have been lost...I want to reflect on all the beauty within our culture.”

“Chakriya and I share the same appreciation for tradition, history, and using local ingredients, that I think this is going to be easy and fun,” says Ji Hye, who has been sending Chakriya photos from the farmers’ market in preparation. “I’m quite excited!”

You might be, too, after you see the menu, which features Plea, a Cambodian crudo with citrus, herbs, and toasted rice; Preserved-lime-braised chicken with dill weed and quail eggs; Tuk prahok k’tdiss, Cambodian pork dip with coconut milk; chili stuck pot rice; coconut clafoutis with paw paws!!!

Before he passed away, Randy Pausch said that, “When we’re connected to others, we become better people.” Ji Hye’s strong, positive connection to Chakriya Un is making her stronger, and it’s also giving all of us the chance to eat some very special food. Come to this unique dinner, connect cultures, share some caring conversation and experience some amazing Cambodian flavors without going any further than Kerrytown.

Reserve your seat now
A bottle of Marqués de Valdueza olive oil with the Deli in the background.

Marqués de Valdueza Olive Oil

Marvelous oil from western Spain

Sometimes I taste a product that we’ve carried for years after not having eaten it for a while, and I’m blown away by just how good it is! Which is exactly what happened to me the other morning when I had a little taste of this terrific Spanish olive oil.

As a history major I have to admit to being moderately biased toward this oil—you’d be hard pressed to find any product that’s more rooted in family and national history than Marques de Valdueza. The family—formally known as the House of Álvarez de Toledo—has been a fixture in Spanish history for something like 10 centuries. I can’t tell you it’s some romantic rags to riches story—the current Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, who’s pushed so hard to get this excellent olive oil going, is the 9th generation to formally carry the family crest forward. The farm on which the olives are grown has been in the family since the 1624; there are records of oil being produced on the same farm as far back as the days of the Romans.

Fadrique and the family aren’t taking any shortcuts. The trees are grown with great care, with wider row spacing than most of the huge commercial farms that have been planted in the southern part of the country. The olives are pretty much all picked by hand, taken from the tree quite early in the autumn when yields are significantly lower, but the flavor of the oil is much more interesting. Because the milling is done right on the farm, the fruit is harvested and then taken in for pressing and centrifuging within an (impressively quick!) one hour of when it leaves the tree. The newly pressed oil is carefully stored, like great wine, in nitrogen-flush stainless tanks.

The Valdueza oil is made from a unique blend of four different varietals. Hojiblanca and Picual are standard varietals from southern Spain—the former brings a soft, warm, nutty butteriness while the latter offers hints of artichoke, green asparagus, a bit of earthiness, and a touch of black pepper in the finish. Arbequina olives, which arrived in the region only recently, were planted for their good yields, and round soft flavor. Morisca olives, the rarest of the four, are unique to the area, offering a fair bit of pepper and interesting fruit, almost apricot in a way, with a touch of green grass and green tomato in there, too.

As is true of all these high-end, well-made oils, there’s a complexity and an elegance (and a commensurate higher cost) that will likely mean you’ll want to use this oil for finishing—at the table to drizzle on great greens from the market and roasted meat or vegetables. The simplest way to enjoy Valdueza oil might be to pour it on toast—maybe on a hand-cut slice of Farm or Paesano bread from the Bakehouse. It’s really terrific.

Come by the Deli, look for the beautiful light blue label, ask for a taste (or three) and see what you think.


Taste some oil at the Deli
A jar of Raye's Yellow Mustard in front of a Deli brick wall

Raye’s Yellow Mustard from Maine

The primary color of mustard makes its way to Ann Arbor

Given all of the really great goings on in the food world these days, something as seemingly simple as yellow mustard would be easy to miss. But, you won’t be shocked, I suppose, to hear that here at Zingerman’s we’ve tracked down a yellow mustard that’s made by some of the most mustard-passionate people in the country.

The folks at Raye’s in the tiny town of Eastport, Maine, are almost as far north as one could go without actually crossing the border into Canada (the town is actually the easternmost city in the U.S.). Raye’s is the only traditional stone mustard mill left in the U.S., and as Karen Raye says, “It’s probably the only one left in the Western Hemisphere.” The mill was built 109 years ago, at the turn of the century, by her husband’s great-great uncle, J.W. “If he were here today, J.W. would see the mill pretty much as it was working when he built it. We’re still using the original stones” she said, referring to the eight, 2000-pound, quartz wheels that were quarried, carved, and carted over from France in 1900.

The mustard-making process at Raye’s starts with whole mustard seed. By contrast, most other commercial products these days start with already processed mustard powder. Raye’s work is all based on cold stone milling of that mustard seed. As the seed passes through each of the four sets of stones the resulting paste gets ever creamier, which explains why the finished product you and I get out of the Raye’s jar is so smooth. To protect the cold-milled seed, the Raye’s use cold water from their 400-foot well—same idea as mixing the bread dough out at the Bakehouse. Cooler water takes longer but protects the flavor of the seed. (Most all commercial producers today use heat in the production process to speed production and increase yields.) The mustard is then allowed to age for a few weeks before it gets packed up.

You really can taste the difference—just try a spoonful of it next to some standard supermarket offering. Try it on a sandwich at the Deli, or with an order of corn dogs (frequently acknowledged by Roadhouse regulars as one of the hidden culinary gems on the menu). Commercial yellow mustard, to me, consistently tastes remarkably thin and watery compared to the Raye’s, which has a mellow but mouth-filling flavor that I want to describe as “exceptionally yellow.” That is a rather silly thing to say, but it’s what comes to mind. “Yellow mustard” is so much a part of American eating that it’s almost a primary flavor in its own right. And if that’s the case, then the Raye’s product is the paradigm.

Put some "exceptionally yellow" on anything, anywhere

Visioning Seminar at ZingTrain

Two days of learning the “secret” process at the core of success

Next week at ZingTrain I’ll be teaching our 2-day visioning seminar. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do. Why? Because the visioning process we use and teach changed my life. Because I believe that Zingerman’s would not be even remotely what it is (or possibly not even be here) without this process. And being able to share it with others is inspiring and energizing for me and for those who learn the process to put to use in their own organizations.

Socrates once said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.” And that, in a single sentence carried forward from antiquity, sums up a lot of what this very powerful visioning process is about. Rather than staying focused on what we don’t want, visioning teaches us to release our real dreams to the world—to go after a positive future, not fight against present day frustrations. Does it work? Without question.

To be clear, this is not a process of “figuring out” what your future should be. Rather, it’s a way to tap what’s already present inside us—to bring our wants and wishes out into the world where we can work to make them a reality. Shawn Askinosie, whose chocolate and new book Meaningful Work are both remarkable, has used the process he learned here in his own organization in Missouri, and also with the cacao growers and their families in Tanzania and Ecuador. Like pretty much everyone else who puts this process to work, he’s gotten amazing results.

“By using the Zingerman’s visioning process, both the farmers and students in Tanzania have demonstrated awe-inspiring courage which has, in turn, changed me forever,” Shawn told me. “Just by putting pencil to paper and taking one step and then another. It’s a simple process, yet more powerful than anything I've seen.”

I’ve written at length about our visioning work in Parts 1, 3 and 4 of Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading. Because I continue to learn more about it all the time, I'm sure I’ll write more about it in the future as well. It is, without question, integral to the way we work. Everyone in the seminar learns the “hot pen” technique, a way to help our subconscious dreams and desires take center stage, gently moving the many socially imposed expectations that weigh on all of us to the side.

Maria Popova, whose blog Brain Pickings I love with a passion, wrote about the work of physicist Alan Lightman that he emerges, “with that rare miracle of insight at the meeting point of the lucid and the luminous.” Ms. Popova’s lovely statement sums up what happens pretty much every time anyone takes this seminar. By the end of the two days, everyone who attends will leave with a draft vision, a story of their own life, set at a point of their choosing, in the future, a story that brings dreams and daily life together in a remarkably practical yet inspirational way. The process works with business people, leaders, followers, front-line folks, teachers, students, and everyone in between. Whether you’re 18 or 80, the visioning process, I’m confident, will be transformative. Hope to see you there.

The seminar is almost sold out but there are a few seats left. June 18 and 19. Sign up at the ZingTrain website. This is the last session until next fall so if you’ve been toying with taking it, take the leap and come now.

Take the leap!

PS: Winemaker in the House June 19

Speaking of June 19, the Roadhouse is continuing its Winemaker in the House program when Michael Honig will be in the restaurant. We’ll have his fantastic California wines, from Honig vineyards and winery, featured on the menu, special menu pairings to go with them, and Michael will be there in the evening to talk wine and taste with anyone who’s interested!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this enews and you know someone else who might like it, please pass it along. Have questions about Zingerman’s? Write us at
(Your friends can sign up, too!)

Upcoming Events

Friday, June 15

Beer & Cheese Pairing
TIME: 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
LOCATION: Zingerman’s Creamery, 3723 Plaza Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108
PRICE: $45.00

Saturday, June 16

BAKE!-cation Weekend: Pie
TIME: 8:00am to 5:00 pm
LOCATION: BAKE!, 3711 Plaza Dr. Ann Arbor, MI 48108
PRICE: $500.00

Thursday, June 21

Just for Kids: Summer Pasta Demo and Tasting
TIME: 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm
LOCATION: Zingerman's Deli Upstairs Next Door, 418 Detroit St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104
PRICE: $15.00

Friday, June 22

For the Love of Goat Cheese
TIME: 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
LOCATION: Zingerman’s Creamery, 3723 Plaza Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108
PRICE: $40.00

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