March 27, 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.
Owner & Chef at The Table
Gala dish: Appetizer
A mainstay among foodies in the Short North Arts District, Sangeeta Lakhani believes that when it comes to food and art, the Short North Arts District provides a space to facilitate a great working relationship.
Making her debut in the District at Bodega and then stepping out of the box with The Table, Lakhani has already made a refreshing splash in the local dining scene. Explaining the motto behind The Table, “fork responsibly”, Lakhani details the drive behind her endeavor.
“We are a farm-to-table restaurant,” she said. “We try to source as much as we can from local farmers. When we can’t and need to look outside the area for products we make sure we are taking from sustainable sources. We have our own pastry chef for baked goods, our own charcuterer, everything here is made from scratch, down to the mustard.” The menu speaks well to this heartfelt, home kitchen approach, with house-cured gravlax on homemade rye putting a smile on the breakfast menu and squash and wild mushroom fondue offering an elegant close to dinner. The bones of the space itself speak to these ethics as well. Of the tables, flooring, flatware and china, “everything is recycled and repurposed in the space, except for the glassware.” (Restaurants go through A LOT of glassware.)
The Table’s message fits well into the District. Taking the real time to find products that mean something, pairing dishes together that elevate them above their separate parts is a process not unlike creating a piece of artwork. “I love being here in the Short North,” Lakhani said. “Being surrounded by so much art comfortably, not having to travel to a museum to see so much creativity but just walking around your neighborhood is truly amazing. I wish there were more Short Norths in the city.”
For the upcoming Gala, Lakhani is excited to apply this idea to her assignment for the event – pairing a course with a particular piece of art featured in one of the Short North Arts District’s numerous galleries. “Events like this are an opportunity for chefs to play around and have fun. We’re going to do something completely new, nothing off of our menu,” she said. “We’re stepping out of the box with this.”
Executive Chef at Hubbard Grille
Gala dish: Appetizer
Now a well-known local landmark, Hubbard Grille’s neon red sign lights up High Street every night and deserves every ounce of attention it receives. Executive chef Jordan Zacharias and the Hubbard team will be preparing an appetizer for this year’s Short North Gala and plan on bringing their unique perspective on cuisine to one of the District’s most special nights.
Jordan’s goal in steering the Hubbard reflects his own relationship with food. Classically trained in French cuisine, he returns to his roots at Hubbard, doing so in a range of really refreshing ways. The most refreshing is his complete commitment to freshness.
While lots of restaurants feature a weekly beer and burger night (Hubbard’s is on Monday), hardly any of them do so without a walk-in cooler in the building. Hubbard does. Deliveries from a handful of carefully picked local distributors come daily, dropping off the raw materials for what Zacharias deems “the sexiest food on High Street.” Everything in the kitchen at Hubbard is made in-house, at most, every three days. That means (with the exception of bread and ice-cream) anything that rests on a plate at Hubbard was delivered from the farm or the butcher less than a week ago.
Shopping local isn’t the only way he’s trying to stay ahead of the curve, with vegetarian, vegan, and paleo diets well represented on Hubbard’s menu. “Anything from a really well-conceived sandwich, entrees, specialties on the weekends, I’m trying to stay at the forefront of what’s going on with food. We try and source as much locally as we can. We cure our own salmon, we cut our own lamb chops, we cure our own pork. All the food is approachable and I keep one thought in mind when I’m addressing food; that it’s something they know, something they’ve heard of, something they’ve probably never had.”
Sitting in a simple, black chef’s coat without a name or title on the breast, Zacharias believes that the food is the face of the business, not him, which is one of the reasons the Gala is so exciting for him. “It’s simple,” he says. “Events like this let me see how much people enjoy my food. I’m working in the kitchen all night and miss out on seeing how people react when they get that first look at a plate, take a first bite. That’s what it’s all about for me.”
– Tyler Wilson