It was while he was earning a music degree from Miami University of Ohio that L’Antibes Executive Chef and Proprietor Matt Litzinger first found his culinary calling. “During college I worked at a restaurant named Kona Bistro,” he said. “Eventually I became the chef and realized how much I enjoyed the kitchen environment and restaurant culture. Soon after I attended the Culinary Institute of America to further my education.”

After completing his culinary training in Hyde Park, New York, Litzinger traveled extensively to develop his cooking style. “My most memorable cooking experience might be my stay in Manila, Philippines,” he said. “I visited there with a colleague and learned how to prepare Filipino cuisine with the cooks of the house.”

Upon returning to Columbus, Litzinger purchased L’Antibes in 2007 from the previous chef and owner, Dale Gussett, who had named the restaurant after a port city in southeastern France. Since then, Litzinger has worked to evolve L’Antibes “to appeal to a wide audience in Columbus, and especially the Short North,” he said. “We built a patio in front of the restaurant that serves a bistro menu. Locals can visit our patio and enjoy a casual price friendly menu time and time again.”

Litzinger feels the community has helped to influence the menu, which focuses on French cuisine with an American twist, by providing “honest and knowledgeable feedback on a nightly basis,” he said. Some customer favorites include the sweetbreads and the avocado salad with shaved fennel and white truffle essence. “The guests always know they can count on those items when they walk into the restaurant,” Litzinger said.

As spring approaches, Litzinger strives to provide the highest quality food possible, including local fare. “I search in earnest for local ingredients as they are available,” he said. “However, I’m looking for the best quality ingredients, regardless of their geographical location. Quality is always the most important factor in planning a menu throughout the seasons.”

Litzinger also feels quality service is part of what helps make L’Antibes the fine dining experience it is today. “My favorite aspect of L’Antibes,” he said, “are the staff of the kitchen and the front of the house. They are the heart of the business and without them L’Antibes wouldn’t be the same experience.”

For more information about the Short North Gala, click here. Buy tickets here or to reserve a table, call (614) 299.8050.

Michelle Gibson