Author: Jaye Beeler

GR|MAG is the definitive resource on the people, food & drink, culture, arts & entertainment, lifestyle and news of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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Chef de cuisine Stephan VanHeulen brings palpable passion to the penthouse kitchen at Cygnus 27. Photo by Michael Buck

Chef Profile: ‘Going the Extra Mile’

Two hours before dinner service commences, Cygnus 27 chef de cuisine Stephan VanHeulen has deftly inspected the kitchen, marveling at the diver scallops — gorgeous, pearly pink and way more substantial than anything you can buy at a supermarket; smelling the exhilarating earthiness of the fluffy hen-of-the-woods, royal trumpet and white beech mushrooms; and tasting the whipped root vegetable purée. But it’s the massive octopus with eight tentacles, a dangerously delicious beast, that stopped him in his tracks.

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Photo by Michael Buck

Bake as the French Do

At French-trained pastry chef Susan VandenBerg’s kitchen table, she might present you with a petite dessert plate of raspberry pistachio tartlet, browned-butter almond cake crowned with Michigan blueberries and sliced almonds, and two delectable versions of buttery shortbread cookies — one lemon-pistachio-sesame, the other rosemary-pecan. The exquisite quartet captivates the senses at once.