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Kalamazoo employees share their Labor Day plans and top grilling tips.

How Kalamazoo Celebrates Labor Day

Morgan Bergren, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet | 08/22/2017 | Grilling, Food and Drink, Tips

It’s easy to see how Labor Day became such a popular grilling holiday. A late-summer long weekend, with a bounty of local produce available – what could be finer than spending the day cooking outside with friends and family? Naturally, all of us at Kalamazoo will use any excuse to cook outdoors, no matter the season. As we look forward to Labor Day and consider the true nature of the holiday, we celebrate our own all-American workforce.Read on to find out how a few Kalamazoo employees plan to celebrate Labor Day this year, along with their best grilling tips for your own celebration!

Gina Armetta, Regional Sales Director

Gina Armetta, Kalamazoo's Regional Sales Director

What’s your role at Kalamazoo?

I guess you could say I’m a “Jack of All Trades”. From managing our dealer network, to designing kitchens, and discussing the best way to grill a ribeye with a client - it is never a dull day, and I love it that way.

What plans do you have for Labor Day?

My husband and I usually entertain a crowd on holidays, but this Labor Day we’ve decided to tone it down and host just a few close family members and friends for a nice dinner. Great food and wine is the name of the game this year!

What’s on your Labor Day menu?

Because our gathering will be a bit more intimate, we can get a little fancy! We will be doing a rotisserie prime rib using the Smoke-Roasted Rack of Lamb with Garlic Rosemary Rub recipe from Kalamazoo, with the obvious substitution of beef instead of lamb. Tried and tested on both the Hybrid Fire and Gaucho grills, and I am in love with this recipe. I have not yet decided on side dishes, but I do have a fondness for Kalamazoo Culinary Expert Polly Ho’s BBQ carrots topped with a little gremolata. Maybe I’ll add Roquefort mac and cheese to round out the menu, we shall see.

Any tips for successful Labor Day cookouts?

When I am preparing for a cookout, I try to do as much as possible the night before - whether that is simply cutting and chopping, squeezing citrus for cocktails, or actually baking a dessert so it is ready to go – advance prep work really helps me to not feel rushed the day of the party. For example, this Labor Day I can get the herb rub on the prime rib the evening before, so all I have to do is get in on the rotisserie the day of. Also, having main dishes that will rest while you finish preparing sides really helps!

Polly Ho, Master of Culinary Experiences

Polly Ho, Kalamazoo's Master of Culinary Experiences

What’s your role at Kalamazoo?

I do product orientations for our new clients and show them the ins and outs of their new KOG equipment. It’s a top to bottom walkthrough discussing how to start the product, clean and maintain it, and everyone’s favorite part… talking about what they can cook and how to do it.

What plans do you have for Labor Day?

I’m going to a couple get-togethers. One is a dinner party with an Italian theme and the other is a barbecue at a local beach.

What’s on your Labor Day menu?

One of my favorite pizzas that we make is the Oh My! Meatball Pizza. The meatballs are inspired by Chef Anne Burrell, but our roasted garlic tomato sauce is what makes this pizza mouth-wateringly delicious. I always thought this would make a great spaghetti and meatball dish, so that’s what I plan on doing instead of pizza.  You don’t need the pizza oven to make the sauce; I’ve made it on the stovetop and it turns out great.

For the barbecue at the beach, I plan on making a version of our Kalamazoo Sliders using direct and indirect heat. When I grill burgers, I like to keep an indirect zone available as my ICE (in case of emergency) zone. The burgers and onions will grill over direct heat and I’ll toast the buns on the indirect side or on the warming rack.

Any tips for successful Labor Day cookouts?

In my experience, the best tip I can give is to not rush the cooking. Your guests are going to be socializing and snacking on other things, so don’t worry too much! Have fun cooking, take your time, and everything will turn out great.

Josh Markou, Director of Finance & Admin

Josh Markou, Kalamazoo's Director of Finance & Admin

What’s your role at Kalamazoo?

I wear multiple hats at KOG so I am either crunching numbers, leading our HR processes and policies or managing administrative responsibilities.

What plans do you have for Labor Day?

I’m planning to spend time with family at a cottage on Lake Michigan.

What’s on your Labor Day menu?

I have two young kids, so most of my grilling this summer has been to get tasty food on the plate quickly. I’ll grill a variety of meats and veggies at the same time and prepare both by simply drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper. The meats are usually good to go right off the grill after 5 minutes rest. For the veggies, we either eat them right after grilled or I’ll add them to a grain, i.e. bulgar or farro, or starch, i.e. orzo, and mix in my favorite dressing, like the lemon pepper vinaigrette in the Grilled Bread and Green Bean Salad with Kalamata Olives.  

Any tips for successful Labor Day cookouts?

The best tips I’ve found to ensure a successful meal are:

  1. Allow enough time for your grill to get really hot, at least 10-15 minutes for gas and 15-20 minutes for charcoal.

  2. Always set up an indirect zone to finish off meats after searing or to move things in case you have flare-ups.

  3. Stay by the grill while cooking. Set out all the tools, serving plates, and beverages you need ahead of time so you can monitor the food.

  4. Cook what you know you and your guests want to eat.

  5. Have fun!

Bobby Mayo, Client & Technical Services Manager

Bobby Mayo, Kalamazoo's Client & Technical Services Manager

What’s your role at Kalamazoo?

I manage our client services team, ensuring our customers are satisfied and enjoying their Kalamazoo products. I also support all of manufacturing on facilities and technical issues, helping everyone become successful in their day-to-day jobs.   

What plans do you have for Labor Day?

Visiting with my family and showing them Southwest Michigan (where I live).

What’s on your Labor Day menu?

I will be grilling New York strip steaks, asparagus, peppers and corn on the cob using a wood and charcoal fire and both direct and indirect grilling techniques.

Any tips for successful Labor Day cookouts?

Stay diligent and attentive while cooking and remain patient. Spend the day with loved ones and you cannot really go wrong.



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