Friday, September 24, 2010

Yvonne Gill-Uhlianuk Mt. Bruce Sheep & Wool Festival This Weekend........

Every year I look forward to this fall festival.......

This weekend Sept 25th-26th is the 20th Annual Fall Sheep & Wool Festival @ Mt. Bruce Station in Romeo. Yvonne Uhlianuk is a sheep rancher, producing meat for select tables, and fine wool and woolen goods, at Mt. Bruce Station, her picturesque, rolling property in Romeo. But as Yvonne Gill, a native New Zealander who arrived in Detroit almost three decades ago, she left an enduring mark on the way metro Detroit eats. Cooking fine French food at the old Women’s City Club and the Money Tree downtown, Tweeney’s Café in Birmingham, and Farmer Jack’s gourmet take-out experiment, Yvonne’s to Go, she became known as “the crêpe lady” and “the woman who brought quiche to Detroit.”
I arrived via Canada, came across on the bus through the tunnel. I was married to somebody at the time who was involved in industry, and Detroit was the place you were supposed to go. I came through the tunnel and walked on the streets of Detroit. I had no conception whatsoever of what America was about. I’d never seen television. It was extremely strange. Later on I met wonderful, wonderful people in Detroit. But really, I wasn’t fitting in because I’m a woman. At the London Chop House, [owner] Les Gruber looked at me and said, “We don’t hire women. You can’t pick up the big sauté pans; you’re not strong enough.” It was a meat-and-potatoes town, and really still is. But I had my own— not a vision — it was the only thing I knew. You’re supposed to eat nicely. And why did the health inspector tell me I couldn’t keep my parrot on the bar? It was gorgeous. I thought everyone should have a parrot on the bar. It doesn’t matter what you say about America, it doesn’t matter how loud you think the people are — when I first arrived, I thought “Don’t they ever shut up?” It doesn’t matter that you think they have no taste, that they eat bad food, it doesn’t really matter. Because America is the one country in the world where you can prove yourself and make money.

Even if you are not so much into sheep & wool this festival is well worth checking out! The drive is wonderful and the grounds are absolutely beautiful! I feel like I am in another country when I go out there! Yvonne Gill-Uhlianuk and her husband Peter own and operate this sprawling farm. They have sheep, geese, huge floppy-eared angora bunnies, cows, a wool shop, a giant farmhouse, a green house, an old log cabin, rolling hills and a gorgeous outdoor brick grilling area where they grill up some very yummy fresh lamb chops & sausages along with fresh farm produce. Last year I ate hands down the best tomato salad that I have ever had in my life. Yvonne was one of the first well respected female chef's in the Metro Detroit area. She was born in New Zealand and came to the states in 1964 when she was 21 years old. She trained as a Chef in Europe and ran several restaurants and specialty food shops in the Metro Detroit area before marrying her husband Peter (a former chemist for Du Pont) who had been a local farmer that she purchased herbs from back in her restaurant days. This is also a great place to take the kids, you can freely explore the grounds, take a walk out back and see if you can find the old log cabin take a peek inside at the old loft. They are shearing the sheep out in the barn and have many vendors selling many beautiful things. Hope to see you out there!

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