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Dish and Design night offers 'Cozy Comfort' with fall decor, cider, doughnuts and dumplings

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Just days away from the autumn equinox, Detroit News Homestyle readers gathered at the Great Lakes Culinary Center Tuesday for an evening celebrating the warmth and comfort of fall. 

Presented by Busch's Fine Food Market, Homestyle's Dish and Design's third installment for the year, "Cozy Comfort," featured short demos from four local businesses, heavy appetizers, giveaways, cider and doughnuts and tons of ideas for cooking, entertaining and decorating for the upcoming season. 

The sold-out event started with a colorful array of cheese, charcuterie, dips and vegetables from the center's chef Reva Constantine-Smith and ended with a savory Georgian beef dumpling from Supergeil's Brendan McCall. 

"I like all the foods and the drinks, that's for sure," said Susan Keith of Royal Oak, who attended with Alicia McEwen of Berkley and Kim Baydoun, also of Royal Oak. While Keith didn't necessarily come for the decor demos, she found the center piece tutorial from Karen Brown of Eastern Market's Savvy Chic to be useful. "The centerpiece designs look pretty easy. Something I could accomplish." 

Brown has owned eclectic boutique Savvy Chic, 2712 Riopelle in Detroit, for 24 years. She demonstrated the use of silk flowers, which can be used inside and out. She said they can also be easily styled, reused and you don't have to worry about the weather or squirrels getting to them. 

"Everyone should have silk arrangements. No more plastic ladies, they have to go," joked Brown. She also exhibited some uses for paper rolls that have different patterns, textures and colors to dress up a table cloth or kitchen island. 

More seasonal design ideas came from Rachel Nelson and Taylor Morgan of Detroit-based interior design strategy studio Concetti. Using mood boards and evoking the five senses, they transformed a sample vignette from summer to fall "vibes."

Nelson and Morgan had several simple and effective ideas for the audience, including picking a few "investment pieces" that could be cheap or expensive, so long as they have personal meaning and are something you want to look at year-round. They suggested swapping out different blankets, dried floral or candles to match your favorite pieces to the season. 

"When you look inward ... the pieces are going to mean something to you, it doesn't matter if they're low end or high end if it's something that means something to you as a person," said Morgan. 

Nelson suggests shopping at local stores like Brown's Savvy Chic, El Dorado in Corktown, City Bird or Urbanum, but noted there are also great finds at places like At Home or Target, too. 

It wouldn't be a fall event with out cider and doughnuts, and Blake's Farm brought the goods. In addition to cinnamon-dusted doughnuts made that day, Blake's Hard Cider sales manager and certified culinarian Kevin DeVries arrived with some fantastic seasonal cocktail ideas. 

Attendees left with detailed instructions on how to make Toasted Lantern, a cinnamon-y cocktail using your choice of bourbon and Blake's Apple Lantern hard cider, and the Caramel Apple Martini using Blake's Caramel Apple Hard Cider and a salty caramel rim on the glass. 

The fall food talk continued with chef McCall from Corktown's Supergeil, a cocktail-forward restaurant that specializes in Turkish döner kebab sandwiches, tinned fish and other globally influenced cuisine. The art-filled destination was named one of The Detroit News' best new restaurants of 2021

As the audience munched on juicy beef dumplings garnished with a cream sauce and pickles, chef McCall talked about his Midwest and Sicilian upbringing, his trip to Berlin with Two James owner and Supergeil partner David Landrum and other worldly travels that influenced the menu at the Michigan Avenue hotspot, which opened about a year ago. 

He shared his recipe for the dumplings and gave a tutorial on how to make the dough, adding that it's a great activity to do with kids and the uncooked dumplings freeze well, making them a quick mid-week dinner for the whole family. 

More: Restaurant Review: Corktown's awesome Supergeil is a place to bring friends

The winter edition of Dish and Design is set for Dec. 6. Digital subscribers to The Detroit News will have an early chance at tickets. Visit to start your subscription.

Twitter: @melodybaetens