Joe Flores, a professional chef of 13 years, makes his return to the restaurant scene–after a hiatus–under the new role of Peterboro’s Executive Chef. Flores touched down at Peterboro in early May 2017 in place of former chef Brion Wong.

“What I look forward to the most is bringing back what was once long forgotten,” Flores said. “A Chinatown that, at one point in history, had a really big impact not just here but for all ‘American Chinese’ cuisine to come.”

Flores took a break from cooking in the summer of 2016 to focus on his newborn son and before the hiatus, he worked at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor where he got very involved in the butchering program. Flores called his time in the butchering program at Zingerman’s “sort of a personal growth experience.” Before Zingermans, Flores was at Alinea in Chicago with George Azar, the man behind one of GQ’s Best New Restaurants, Detroit’s Flowers of Vietnam.

“Making the decision to quit cooking really left a void in my heart and in my everyday life,” Flores said. “I knew it was just a matter of time before I jumped into a new opportunity.”

Flores also played a part on the opening team of Wright & Co. in Downtown Detroit. He’s known Dave Kwiatkowski and Marc Djozlija, the guys behind the hospitality group Detroit Optimist Society, for quite a few years. Peterboro is one of the Detroit Optimist Society’s restaurants, along with Sugar House, Cafe 78, Bad Luck Bar and Honest John’s.

“What made me want to jump on board with this is because I have a lot of admiration and respect for what Dave and Marc have done over the years, and to be presented with this opportunity is truly exciting and a new opportunity to get back on the grind,” Flores said.

Out of Flores’ 13 years as a chef, 10 of them have been spent involved in Asian cuisine in some way, shape or form.

“I feel that the discipline I learned from working at a 3-Michelin star and the structure I learned from doing corporate Chinese, almost compliment each other and round out my skill set over all,” Flores said.

The menu at Peterboro will shift a bit under Flores’ leadership, but some of the most popular items are going nowhere.

“My plan is to rotate certain things as the seasons change,” he said. “I do not feel a drastic changing of the menu is necessary.

What’s the new chef’s favorite on the original Peterboro menu, you ask? The Cheeseburger Spring Roll.

“When I first heard about it, I thought to myself, ‘That’s absurd,” but once you try it, you understand why it’s one of our most popular items,” Flores said.

Flores plans to roll out a the new Peterboro menu very soon, he said.

“It’s going to be fun to see what kind of stuff comes out of all this.”

Visit Peterboro at 420 Peterboro St. and visit them on social media here.

Photo credit: Detroit Optimist Society

Erica N Rakowicz/After 5


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