Whether it’s fun street foods like bao rolls or a fancy little plate with seared mackerel, Grant Vella loves to cook.
“I started cooking in a corporate franchise, met most of my friends there,” says Vella. “I really fell in love, not only with food, but also with serving people and making them happy through food. “
After college, he started some food trucks with friends, before taking the plunge and opening his own restaurant.
“When the pandemic started, a lot of people I worked with called me for help and asked me for help, and I really couldn’t help them… It really got me. gave the extra boost I needed to start mine. place, ”says Vella.
It also allowed him to discover his heritage. Vella is an adopted Korean, whose parents brought him home when he was 3 months old. He never knew much about his Korean heritage and saw it as an opportunity to explore the culture and the food.
“As an adoptee from Korea, you have this question in mind,” Vella explains. “When you’re younger and you’re a kid you don’t lean into these things, you just try to fit in – girls, sports, etc., and as you get older you kinda slow down, and take time to really focus on yourself.
So he opened The Lucky Duck in 2021, naming it after a nickname his mother gave him growing up, his lucky duck.
The small plates to share on his menu are a combination of all his influences.
“Foundation and hospitality are the essence of Korean [culture]. Having a classic training in French cuisine and of course living in Michigan all my life … I brought everything together under one roof, ”explains Vella.
Popular dishes include their bao rolls, which are lightly fried giving them a slightly different texture than traditional bao rolls. Frying gives soft, sweet buns a slightly crispy exterior. They come in three flavors, Korean spicy eggplant, crispy tofu, and pork belly. A great fusion dish is Doenjang Street Corn, which looks like a Korean version of elote. It includes corn mixed with a tasty doenjang mayo with pickled red onions, mozzarella cheese and finished with green onions. If you’re lucky and come on a Friday or Saturday you can try their Dry Aged Duck which is braised in soy sauce and served with marbled potatoes and caramelized onions.
For more information, watch the full video above. If you would like to visit The Lucky Duck, it is located at 38 S Main St, Clawson, MI 48017.
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