Juchemich named Chef of the Year

MARQUETTE — The American Culinary Federation-Upper Michigan Culinarians presented Eric Juchemich with the 2018 Chef of the Year honors at its annual dinner held Sunday evening in Marquette.

Juchemich, who holds the position of butcher/store manager at Gris Gris in Marquette, was recognized for his professionalism and work within the Upper Michigan Chapter of the ACF, according to a press release from the organization.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers, since I am not a traditional cook anymore,” the Negaunee native said in the release.

The awards dinner was held at Chez Nous in the Jacobetti Complex on Northern Michigan University’s campus. A seven-course meal was delivered by 2017 Chef of the Year Christopher Sturzl, of Atlantic Mine.

Nichole Durley-Rust, chef de cuisine at Lagniappe Cajun Creole Eatery in Marquette, and 2015 Chef of the Year honoree, along with Christopher Kibit, professor in NMU’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Program, were the other finalists for this year’s award.

This is the third time Juchemich, a 1991 Negaunee High School graduate, has been the recipient of the honor, winning in 2001 and 2013. He makes the special blueberry brats that the chapter sells each July at Marquette’s Blueberry Festival. Juchemich also participates every year in the chapter’s preparation of the OSF Foundation “Heart of Gold” dinner in Delta County.

“The local chapter has some really talented and dedicated professionals,” Juchemich said. “I really enjoy my association with the members and consider many of them as good friends.”

The Upper Michigan Culinarian Chapter, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the ACF, has members who work in restaurants and professional food service throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern lower Michigan.