A perfectly cut chandelier celebrates your arrival with glittering crystals of light. Cherry wood panels adorn the walls, while sprays of fresh flowers complete the traditional décor. Exquisitely appointed Guest Rooms and Suites welcome you with fine furnishings, luxurious beds and linens, marble bathrooms, and the calm and privacy of a quiet suburban location. Our staff welcomes you with exceptional courtesy, a desire to serve, and genuine hospitality.
Our Rugby Grille offers a sumptuous menu of innovative American-Continental cuisine, accompanied by a selection of the world's finest wines and spirits. The Rugby Grille has been recognized with many culinary awards including, "One of the Top Ten Best Restaurants in the United States," by Zagat's Restaurant Guide.
The Townsend Hotel is a Forbes 4-Star and AAA 4-Diamond hotel, as well as a perennial favorite on the Condé Nast top hotels. A haven for the most discerning travelers, its splendid combination of amenities, service and setting await your pleasure.
Yamauchi developed an innate understanding of the Midwest dining scene. He studied his craft at the Culinary School of Kendall College in Evanston, Ill. and honed his skills in some of Midwest’s finest restaurants, including top positions with Le Francais in Wheeling, Ill., Tribute in Farmington Hills, Forte in Birmingham and Saltwater in Detroit.
Yamauchi blends his classic French culinary training with Asian-inspired flavors to craft innovative and inspired dishes that are all his own. He follows his own senses, as opposed to trends, while in the kitchen. “I cook what I have a taste for at the time,” he said, “It could be of-the-day or of-the-moment. That’s my philosophy.”
Yamauchi brings a clear passion and dedication to excellence to his new role as executive chef of Iridescence, a premiere dining destination located atop Detroit’s elegant MotorCity Casino Hotel. His fresh take on upscale comfort-inspired foods has earned him notoriety among such influential area publications as HOUR Detroit, Crain’s Detroit Business and the Detroit News.
Solidifying his authority in the culinary world, Yamauchi has been featured in such esteemed publications as Bon Appetit and Wine Spectator. He was named among Food & Wine magazine’s Top 10 New Chefs in America. Yamauchi was also a nominee of the James Beard Society’s Rising Chef award. He names chefs like Roland Liccioni and Gabriel Viti as major culinary influences, but admits he’s inspired by all those with whom he’s shared a kitchen.
His plans for Iridescence mark a new beginning at MotorCity Casino Hotel. Yamauchi now leads a culinary team and oversees all dining venues. Those restaurants include The Assembly Line Buffet, MotorCity Pit Stop, Flames and the Signature Lounge.
Yamauchi describes his home life as rather Brady Bunch; he has three children, two step-children and three dogs.
Nash said she’s always had a love of cooking. “I used to watch Julia Child a lot,” she admitted, “and I’d play around in the kitchen.” As a high school student at Villa Maria Academy, though, she wasn’t encouraged to pursue the culinary arts. “You didn’t tell the nuns you wanted to be a chef.” Nash explained. Instead, she attended the University of Delaware, with intentions of teaching math. She left a year and a half later and never looked back.
Nash earned her associate’s degree in culinary at the Academy of Culinary Arts in New Jersey, where she and maintained a 4.0 grade point average. She continued her studies at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and later mastered advanced techniques related to color, sugar, shape and design at the Notter School of Confectionary Art in Florida.
She didn’t initially intend to pursue pastry as a specialty. As a member of the American Culinary Federation’s National Team USA, she competed across the globe in culinary showcases. When her team needed a pastry chef to participate in a competition, she agreed to make desserts. That’s when Tom Vaccaro noted her exceptional talent and offered her a job as a pastry cook at Trump Plaza Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City.
Nash came to Detroit after serving as executive pastry chef at Westchester Country Club in New York. She was excited to return to a familiar casino-hotel environment. “I was raised in a casino,” Nash said. “That’s where I was trained.”
It’s the variety of clientele and work that drew her back. She enjoys the opportunity to cater to high volume, VIP, fine dining and other venues all at the same time. When crafting a dessert menu for Iridescence, Nash focuses on simplicity and flavors that reflect the season.
She knew the moment she set foot inside of MotorCity Casino-Hotel she belonged there. “I was kind of in awe,” she said. “You just get a feeling about it.”
When she dines out around her hometown of Detroit, Nash always checks the dessert menu first. She may even dare try everything on it.
Chef Schmidt garnered national acclaim when he opened Rattlesnake Club restaurants in Denver and in Detroit, which celebrates more than 20 years as an award-winning Midwest dining destination. He has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his successful 30-year career, including the prestigious James Beard Award for “Great American Chef” (1987) and “Best Chef Midwest,” (1993) Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence,” and inclusion in Cooks Magazine's “Who’s Who” and Gourmet Magazine’s “ America’s Top Tables” and “ America’s Best Restaurants.”Chef Schmidt is the 2012 winner of the coveted Chef’s Collaborative Pioneer Award, and in 2013 he and Morgan’s won the “Alfresco Dining” award from FSR/Free-Standing Restaurant Magazine.
A pioneer in America’s culinary movement towards sustainable cooking and farm-to-table dining, Schmidt founded Chefs Collaborative in 1991, the nation’s leading nonprofit chefs organization devoted to fostering a sustainable food system, and was one of the original board members of The James Beard Foundation. He was also a founding board member of Share Our Strength ® in Denver, the national organization dedicated to making sure that no child in America grows up hungry, and he still serves as an advisor. Schmidt organized the first “Taste of the Nation” benefit for Share Our Strength in 1987, and it has become the largest national food-related fundraiser. The has also donated his time to Citymeals-on-Wheels, participating in fundraising events such as Wolfgang Puck’s annual American Wine & Food Festival in Los Angeles.
Jimmy Schmidt has authored and co-authored several cookbooks, including Cooking for All Seasons, Jimmy Schmidt’s Cooking Class, Heart Healthy Cooking for All Seasons, which he wrote with cardiologist Dr. Marvin Moser of Yale University and chefs Alice Waters and Larry Forgione; and Jimmy Schmidt’s Cooking Class II. Schmidt also wrote a weekly cooking column for Detroit News/Gannett Wire Services that appeared in 200 newspapers across the country.
A native Midwesterner, Schmidt studied electrical engineering at the University of Illinois. While studying abroad in southern France, he decided to stay on to pursue a career in the culinary arts and wine, earning a culinary degree from Luberon College and the French Institut Technique du Vin diploma from Maison du Vin in Avignon. He then returned stateside to Boston, where he continued his culinary education under Madeleine Kamman and graduated magna cum laude and first in class with a Professional Chef’s diploma from Modern Gourmet, Inc.
After serving as senior chef at Chez La Mère Madeleine in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, he moved to Detroit in 1977 to become executive chef and executive general manager of the London Chop House. During his tenure there, he was placed on the country’s culinary map as one of the first chefs to win Cook’s magazine’s 50 Leaders in American Food and Wine Awards (which was later renamed the James Beard Awards). He then moved to Denver in 1985 to open his first Rattlesnake Club, for which he was nominated for the James Beard “Best Chef Southwest” and “Best New Restaurant” Awards. In 2002, he opened another Rattlesnake at the Trump Spotlight 29 Casino in Palm Springs.
When he is not minding the stoves at Morgan’s, Jimmy Schmidt devotes his time to the science of nutritional product development. The holder of numerous patents, he pioneered protein and fiber bonding to create great-tasting nutritious foods and launched Jimmy Juice in 2012. He also founded Farm X Chef – The Ultimate Food Journal and Marketplace in 2013. He has served as the director of sports nutrition for GM/Corvette Racing and coordinated catering services for the “24 Hours of Le Mans” race in France since 1999.
“We had a soft opening last night with very limited seating,” he said today. Reservations are likely to continue to be limited in the restaurant’s early days. The main dining room seats 82.
The menu is not online; Marais does not have a website and Gilbert said he does not plan to create one soon. However, he said, guests can expect very seasonal dishes made with “wonderful local products ” and “the influence of my French techniques.” Gilbert was executive chef at Forest Grill in Birmingham until he and his wife, restaurant general manager Monica Gilbert, left last November to begin work on Marais. Before joining Forest Grill, David Gilbert was executive chef at the Rugby Grille at Birmingham’s Townsend Hotel and previously worked for several years at Michelin-starred restaurants in France and Spain.
Marais’ a la carte menu includes dishes such as trio of lamb and trio of veal, prepared with multiple cooking techniques, he said. Also featured is a $115 per person tasting menu with six courses plus an amuse and mignardises. The tasting, which amounts to eight courses, “is really the best value.”
One distinctive feature of the restaurant is the champagne cart that arrives at guests’ tables to offer a choice of champagne aperitifs. “We want to put an emphasis on champagne, because we’re bypassing it in everyday dining. ...Really, who doesn’t want to start the meal with a glass of champagne?” he asked, adding that every table on opening night ordered it. Champagne also figures prominently in Marais’ craft cocktails, he said.
The extensive wine list — hand-picked by general manager and sommelier Monica Gilbert — includes both Old and New World bottles and ranges in price from $30 to $2,000 a bottle.
The Gilberts kept Marais’ interior design and even its façade under wraps before opening. But David Gilbert has described it as timeless and without gimmicks or themes. “The goal is for you to say, ‘What a beautiful place, but I don’t know why.’ ”
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.
Chef Alcid joined The Townsend Hotel team in April 2013. He recently led brigades for nearly 10 years in the kitchens of various high-profile eateries throughout Chicago, including Hubbard Inn, La Tache and Bin 36.
A native of Flint, Michigan, Chef Alcid received his formal culinary education at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago.