Like a culinary ballet, 14 of Cincinnati’s most well-respected chefs came together to chop, sauté, grill, and plate a collaborative meal for 50 as part of the sold-out Eat Local for the Globe on Sept. 13.
From Moroccan tomato soup with Israeli couscous and grilled prawns to rabbit loin and smoked beef short ribs, guests were presented one beautiful dish after another.
The meal at the chef's table was the centerpiece of the annual event, held outdoors at historic Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market. The chefs, including Jean-Robert de Cavel of Jean-Robert’s Table, Jose Salazar of The Palace, and Julie Francis of Nectar, worked in pairs to plan and execute their dishes, all of which featured the rich tastes of local ingredients.
The meal began with Moroccan tomato soup with Israeli couscous and Greek yogurt on a bed of fresh herbs and spices, created by Colonel De Stewart and Renee Schuler, followed by fresh greens with leeks, green tomatoes, pickled sweet red peppers, carrots, French beans, and Blue Jacket airy herb and garlic chevre with horseradish vinaigrette, created by Todd Hudson and Chris Weist.
A quartet of meat dishes followed, including Julie Francis and Owen Maass’ wood-grilled prawns with a Peruvian cold potato and chile purée, roasted corn, poblano peppers, lime, and almonds; Cavel and Josh Campbell’s fennel pollen-crusted skate wing with potato-mushroom-leek terrine, truffle corn nage, and smoked black rice cracklin’; Jose Salazar and Dan Wright’s rabbit loin and croquette with spaetzle, corn, green apples, basil, curried tofu, and rabbit jus; and Todd Kelly and Eli Leisring’s smoked beef short ribs with savoy cabbage "matignon" with parsnip purée and Xeres sauce.
The meal concluded with Chicory coffeecake with pistachio brittle, brown sugar, whipped cream and cinnamon toast, served with a Belgian chocolate, Amarena cherry, and Christian Moerlein Barbarossa Double Dark Lager gelato.
Guests not seated at the chefs table sampled smaller tastings from the market’s vendors, including waffles from Taste of Belgium, pizza topped with farm-fresh tomatoes and asparagus from Bouchard’s, Greek specialties from Areti’s, and bahn mi sandwiches from Pho Lang Thang.
The market, located in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, is a favorite spot for both aspiring foodies and professional chefs who visit year-round for meat, fish, poultry, cheese, flowers, and deli and ethnic foods from more than 20 merchants. In warmer months, the market also hosts outdoor vendors, live music, and special events.
Proceeds from Eat Local for the Globe went toward the Findlay Market Fund, which supports a range of efforts at the market, from recycling and food waste composting to free public events and small business incubation.