April 08, 2015
On April 26, 2015, 13 chefs from around the Short North Arts District are going to get their art on. The chefs recently toured the District’s galleries to admire the art, which they will be using as inspiration for their dishes at the Ninth Annual Short North Gala, presented by Borror Properties. This year, the Gala talent includes several newcomers that includes chefs from both recently-opened restaurants and long-time favorites, as well as an exciting new taste experience – mixologists. Get in on the collaboration and celebrate the Short North Arts District at this year’s Gala with good food, good drinks, and good art. Click here for more information.
Executive Chef at The Pearl Restaurant, Tavern & Oyster Bar
Gala dish: Appetizer
With its Broadway-inspired marquis lights lighting up High Street, The Pearl has quickly become one of Columbus’ dining destinations, despite celebrating it’s opening only two years ago. Head chef Matt Paisley ascribes this to the root of his endeavors at The Pearl, that the “concept of our restaurant is that we have no concept. We just want to put out kick-ass food and make sure that everyone is staying immersed in cuisine.”
An oyster bar, meets tavern, meets fine dining room, The Pearl is a healthy mix of different approaches to food. Paisley, raised in the kitchen since he was little, has toured up and down the east coast both as a student and working chef, with notable stops in upstate New York and Orlando. The menu and the space of The Pearl reflect this background. Filled with trinkets from home and a litany of found gems, The Pearl could easily pass for an eclectic living room. Chuckling, porcelain pigs look down from the bar surrounded by old books and apothecary jars. Soft, leather club chairs invite you into the small sitting area, with high-heeled thigh lamps giving off a cozy glow. Southern comfort food gets a chic northern twist on the menus with the raw bar reigning supreme.
On The Pearl’s place in the Short North Arts District, Paisley believes “cuisine is art. Flavors, colors, sauces, textures; we use a lot of the same buzzwords people associate with works of art on a daily basis, and that’s the job for us. Both are a super creative field and everything comes from a place of love. Ultimately what shows on a plate needs to be artistic and beautiful; as I’m sure you’ve heard before, you eat with your eyes first before you eat with your mouth.”
In his preparation for the Gala this year, Paisley says it’s right in his wheelhouse. During his experience at Orlando, large events for tourists and Disney execs was just part of part of the job. Here though, there’s definitely something different to it. Paisley admits, “I am very blessed. The community here, there’s this buzz, this positive energy that comes out of everywhere, everyone you pass.”
While wishing to keep his exact dish a bit of a secret before the big night, the chef challenges that “no one will be able to think my presentation is from anywhere else than The Pearl. They’ll know where something this good is coming from.”
Bartender at MOUTON
Gala drink: Cocktail
For a newcomer to the Short North Arts District, a prime spot to start wetting your whistle would be MOUTON. The only problem is, it will be pretty hard to do so anywhere else afterward. Inspired by the classic cocktails of the Jazz era, MOUTON takes pride in the process, with every glass getting a little celebrity.
Helping elevate cocktails to craft, MOUTON’s Logan Demmy blends art with spirits for this year’s Short North Gala. Using pieces from Lindsay Gallery as inspiration, currently studies in contrasts and geometry, Demmy “was struck most by the use of line. It reminded me of the Nazca lines, which is where I went with the beverage.” Taking inspiration from traditional aromatics of Peru, Demmy plans on unveiling a layered cocktail, hitting high notes with scented tequilas and imperial IPAs.
Breaking away from the typical, busy weekend bar schedule, Demmy is primed for an event like the Gala. “We stay more under the radar than most of the businesses on High Street; we don’t like to advertise. But the Gala is a big deal. It’s an important part of being in the community and we’re excited to be there for it.”
– Tyler Wilson