Recipe for Happiness

By+Kelli Stopczynski

Sean Kelley is lucky. He found his calling at an early age and pursued it as his dream. At 33, the owner of Granger’s Temper Grille loves his job and wouldn’t trade the rollercoaster ride of running a restaurant for anything.

“Temper Grille originated from who I was and what I’ve become,” Kelley explained. “I used to be that hot-headed guy who knew everything, and then I lost three close friends in a relatively short amount of time. That made me realize there’s so much more to life and I needed to make the most out of it.”

His love of family, friends (especially his girlfriend Nicole) and food have been the three constants in his life. Kelley began cooking at the age of 8 in his parents’ kitchen in a downriver community south of Detroit. A self-taught chef, he built his vast knowledge of food from his parents and by working at various cafés, casual dining restaurants and private country clubs in southeastern Michigan.

In 2005, he relocated to Indianapolis to work as the Executive Chef for Claddagh Irish Pub and then three years ago, Kelley moved to Mishawaka for a Sous Chef opportunity at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Within six months Kelley was promoted to Executive Chef. Then last May he moved across the street from the high end steak house to open Temper Grille.

“I still get choked up looking at the pictures of our Grand Opening. My whole family was here and it just felt so surreal. It still does,” Kelley noted.  

Temper Grille’s concept is unique to this area because of its tapas style menu—smaller portions meant to be shared.

“When I go out to eat, I want to be wowed,” he said. “I like to munch on smaller plates because it’s just more fun. I wanted to build my concept as if I were dining here every day.”

It’s also the ultimate date spot for grown ups, he added. Liquor laws don’t permit patrons under the age of 21 inside the restaurant or outside on the patio. And you won’t find a large kitchen at Temper Grille because it’s meant to be a very fresh restaurant—food is served immediately after preparation rather than sitting under warmers, waiting for the rest of the order to come up.

One of Kelley’s best kept secrets? His popular Mac & Cheese.  He’s asked almost daily to give up the recipe.

“It’s my moneymaker,” he laughed. “I can’t give that away!”

We did get Chef Sean to share some of his family’s favorites he’ll prepare this holiday season (see below for recipes!).

“I’m not expected to cook for everyone for the holidays, but I just do. I love it. And I won’t eat when it’s all ready. I enjoy watching people eat what I prepare. I’ve always been that way,” he said.

Kelley plans to split the season between his parents’ home and the restaurant. His family always has traditional spreads for both Thanksgiving and Christmas—turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing and all the fixings; but family signatures have a way of re-appearing year after year. His mother’s pumpkin chiffon pie and cheddar crust apple pie are also holiday must-haves for the Kelleys (expect to see at least one of those on the Temper Grille menu this holiday season).

“As we get older, it becomes more and more difficult to get together as a family,” Kelley explained. “My brother is married and lives even further away than I do. But when we go back home and everyone is there, it just makes me so happy.” 

And this year he has every reason to be happy—surrounded by loved ones, marking 2010 as the year he accomplished what he was destined to do and proving no dream is out of reach. 


15 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar, split
2 vanilla beans, cut lengthwise
3 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp pure vanilla

1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup melba sauce
1 oz framboise

Add heavy cream, half of the sugar and vanilla beans to a pot and bring to a boil. In a mixing bowl add egg yolks, vanilla and the rest of the sugar, mix well.

Once hot liquid is ready, take out vanilla beans and scrape them with the back of a knife and add the scrapings back into the hot liquid, mix well.

Slowly add small ladles of hot liquid to the egg yolk mixture & whisk well. Once egg yolks are temped out, add the remainder of hot liquid.

Bring about 2-3 inches of water to boil in a large stock pot.

Place your mixture on the stock pot to create a double boiler, scrape all sides and bottom of bowl as it begins to thicken. Mixture is ready after it firmly coats the back of a spoon.

Once the sweet cream is ready, pour it through a strainer to take out large chunks. Chill and serve with fresh berry compote. 

3 egg yolks
1/2  cup sugar
1 1/4  cup cooked or canned pumpkin
1/2  cup milk
1/2  tsp salt
1/2  tsp ginger
1/2  tsp cinnamon
1/2  tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
3 stiffly beaten egg whites
1/2  cup sugar
1-1 1/2 cup shredded coconut (flaked coconut is best) depending on thickness
1/2  stick butter

Grease pie tin with butter and press coconut into pie tin. Pre- heat oven to 350, 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until thick; add pumpkin, milk, salt and spices; cook in double boiler until thick.

Soften gelatin in cold water; stir into hot mixture. Beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar, fold in to pumpkin mixture.

Pour into cooked coconut shell and chill. Top with your favorite
whipped topping.

2 lbs white northern beans
2 1/2  lbs shredded chicken
2 jalapeño peppers (1 seeded, 1 regular)
1/2 quart onion, diced small
1/4 cup garlic, diced small
1/4 cup chicken base
3 quarts water
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup chili powder
3 Tbsp pepper (2 Tbsp black, 1 Tbsp white)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 quarts of heavy cream
1 bag frozen corn
1/8 cup oil

Add 2 lbs dried beans to large stock pot filled with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer and cover with lid.  Cook beans until fully rehydrated.

In another large stock pot, combine oil, onion, celery, garlic, and corn. Cook on medium-high heat until tender. Add chicken and all dry spices, stir well.

Once chicken is cooked add water, chicken base and heavy cream. Bring to a boil, add beans and simmer for 2 hours on low heat.

Add more spice to achieve the taste you desire.

1 1/2 cups flour
Dash of sea salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 (6 oz) Cracker Barrel Vermont white sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3-5 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp vodka

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
6 cups sliced, peeled apples
2 Tbsp margarine

Heat oven to 425 F. Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheese. Sprinkle with water while mixing lightly with a fork, form into ball.  Divide dough in half. Roll one part to 11” circle on lightly floured surface.  Place in 9” pie plate.

Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add pie filling mixture to a large pot and cook on medium heat until tender. Place mixture in pie shell; dot with margarine.

Roll out remainder of dough to 11” circle; place over apples. Seal edges of crust and flute. Cut slits in top of pastry. Bake at 425 F for 25-35 minutes.


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