Joseph Decuis Restaurant
191 North Main Street
Roanoke, IN 46783
July 12, 2012
$175 inclusive tax and tip
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HOST VENUE Joseph Decuis Restaurant
Located in Roanoke, a charming, historic rural community in northeast Indiana (15 minutes from Ft. Wayne, 1.5 hours north of Indianapolis and 3 hours east of Chicago), Joseph Decuis is the showcase for local farm raised food, and is a gourmet experience to remember.
The menu features seasonal dishes with ingredients raised on our farm (and other like minded local farms), creatively and artfully prepared by our Chefs. The heart of the restaurant is housed in an old bank building (the vaults are now wine cellars) where you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to a simpler way of life where time around the table meant something. You’ll enjoy a top-quality meal in quiet, comfortable surroundings with outstanding hospitality.
GUEST CELEBRITY CHEF Tom Sheridan
RESTAURANT LaSalle Grille, South Bend IN
Chef Tom Sheridan comes by his culinary talents honestly. He honed his skills at his parents’ now-defunct Chauncey’s Restaurant in South Bend before jetting off to Vincennes University for a degree in culinary arts.
“That experience really gave me a leg up on other students,” Sheridan says.
The 38-year-old has worked for owner Mark McDonnell’s LaSalle Grill in South Bend for the past 10 years, eight of them as head chef. The highlight of the restaurant, Sheridan says, is its open hardwood grill that uses a mixture of 10 different woods. It produces moist, flavorful steaks, seafood and lamb.
“We developed our Caribbean-spiced hardwood-grilled mahi mahi wrapped in banana leaf when we were planning a menu for a Caribbean-themed dinner,” he says. “Mahi mahi is a firm, steak-like fish, not unlike swordfish, that comes in red but cooks up white.”
Hawaiian fish like mahi mahi have less fat content than some Atlantic varieties, so proper grilling techniques can make or break the dish, Sheridan says. “We encase it in a banana leaf, and it stays perfectly moist and delicious. It’s like cooking en croute (in crust) or en papillote (in paper). We serve it with steamed jasmine rice, and a mango-papaya-rum relish. It makes a beautiful presentation.” And a glorious meal.
GUEST CELEBRITY CHEFS David & Krissy Tallent
RESTAURANT Tallent, Bloomington IN
Locally-grown David and Kristen Tallent met while working in a Bloomington restaurant 10 years ago and have hardly left the kitchen since. In 2000, they both went to New York to study at the Culinary Institute of America. During their studies and following, they both worked in some of the finest restaurants in New York and Atlanta. While attending C.I.A., David became acquainted with the Slow Food Movement and found inspiration in its principle of using local, seasonal and organic ingredients.
Embracing these ideals, David decided to move back to Bloomington and, with the help of local farmers, start a restaurant with a unique Indiana cuisine. Shortly after marrying, David and Kristen began renovating the property on West Kirkwood and opened Restaurant Tallent on November 7th, 2003. After several years, Restaurant Tallent moved to its new downtown location, and re-opened in January of 2007.
As Chef, David oversees the day-to-day kitchen operations and develops the savory menu items. Kristen, the restaurant's pastry chef, develops the dessert menu and wine list, and serves as General Manager.
The menu at Restaurant Tallent changes several times throughout the year and primarily reflects what is available in the Southern Indiana region during that season. Both David and Kristen Tallent design the menu with regionally produced cheeses, fruits, vegetables and meats as the raw material. To ensure that the highest quality meat and produce is available for seasonal menu items, Restaurant Tallent works closely with local farmers and artisan food producers. Their combination of Old World culinary methods and mid-Western produce and meats results in a distinctly Indiana cuisine.
David Tallent was born and raised around Bloomington, Indiana. A former Indiana University student, David worked his way through school in local kitchens until leaving for New York in 2000 to study at the Culinary Institute of America.
While studying at CIA, he worked with several chefs in New York, including Chef Jason Hicks at the French Brasserie Le Goulue on Madison Avenue in New York City and Benjamin Mauk at Cripple Creek in Rhinebeck, NY. After completing his culinary studies, David moved to Atlanta, Georgia and worked as a sous chef under Joe Ahn at Soho in Vinings.
GUEST CELEBRITY CHEF Greg Hardesty
RESTAURANT Recess and Room Four, Indianapolis IN
Greg Hardesty is the chef-‐owner of Recess restaurant in Indianapolis. His enjoyment of food began at his family’s dining table where meals and time together were savored. However, cooking took on an increased importance when he was in college and Hardesty graduated from Indiana University in 1991 and then began working at the Glass Chimney in Carmel, Ind. There he received a solid foundation in continental cuisine that is still evident in his cooking today. Seeking to expand his cooking knowledge, he moved to Los Angeles in 1995 and began work for Chef Joachim Splichal and his expanding Patina/Pinot restaurant group. Greg moved up to become a sous chef and helped open Splichal’s third Pinot restaurant in Hollywood. During this time he was introduced to the light and simple flavors of Splichal’s cuisine, and the importance of fresh, seasonal ingredients. His next career move was to Drew Nieporent’s Rubicon in San Francisco. As a sous chef there he learned the importance of a well-‐paired wine with expertly executed food.
In 1999, Hardesty returned to Indianapolis and opened H2O Sushi Bar, where he created food using classical sushi techniques from a contemporary California-‐French perspective. He opened his second restaurant Elements in 2003 which featured modern American food that married many of the influences of the Mediterranean with the simplicity and clean lines of Japanese cuisine. Elements was named ”Restaurant of the Year” by Indianapolis Monthly that same year. Hardesty sold H2O Sushi in 2004 to concentrate on Elements and his two young daughters.
Despite the success of Elements, Hardesty was still not experiencing the culinary freedom he desired in the kitchen. He decided to sell the restaurant and concentrated on developing a format that would allow him to focus all his energy and efforts on the food and service – a restaurant where there were no culinary boundaries. Recess, which opened in 2010, offers a format where Hardesty is free to offer his interpretations on any cuisine he chooses. His menu is a playground for him and a flavorful ”break” for his customers. Hardesty and his culinary team create a new four-‐course pre-‐fixe menu daily that is inspired by the season’s freshest local and regional ingredients.
GUEST CELEBRITY CHEF Neal Brown
RESTAURANT The Libertine, Indianapolis IN
Neal Brown has become well known as one of the top chefs in Indianapolis. In 2007, Chef Brown’s restaurant L’explorateur, was voted “Best New Restaurant” by Indianapolis Monthly. He was also voted “Best Chef” by the same publication that same year. Neal has been awarded Indianapolis Business Journal’s prestigious “Forty under 40” award, designating him as one of forty of the years most innovative and influential businessmen in Indiana for 2007.
Neal sits on the advisory boards of The Chefs Academy, The Indiana Humanities Council, The Indianapolis Museum of Art and is the Co-Founder of The Dig In Foundation. The foundations beneficiary, A Taste of Indiana, is a local-centric food festival held annually that focuses on the health and economic benefits of supporting Indiana agriculture and restaurants. Neal is an active member of Slow Food USA’s Indiana Chapter and was selected as a delegate to represent Indianapolis at the bi-annual Terre Madre, a congregation that considers global food crises, food policy and global food biodiversity, in Torino Italy, in 2008. Neal is committed to preserving sustainable agricultural practices, and educating on the importance of good, early childhood dietary habits.
Currently, Neal is growing his newest restaurant venture Pizzology, which opened in Nov. of 2009 and was quickly awarded Best New Restaurant by the editors of Nuvo, and “Top 10 Restaurant” by Indianapolis Monthly, as well as The Libertine Liquor Bar, a cocktail-centric bar and restaurant that utilizes local and seasonal Modern American fare.
Neal is married to Certified Sommelier Lindy Brown, his most trusted advisor, and the source of his inspiration. They have two children, Isabelle and Greyson.
HOST CELEBRITY CHEF Aaron Butts
RESTAURANT Joseph Decuis Restaurant
Chef Aaron did not attend formal culinary school. He started cooking in high school, and was excelling so fast he didn’t want to slow down to go to school. As part of the learning process he has done internships at restaurants, such as Fat Duck and Charlie Trotter’s. In addition to internship, he has learned much through reading. He also has earned certification as a sommelier, which has helped him with wine pairings and cooking.
Working at Joseph Decuis, he has learned the importance of working with fresh local foods. At their farm, they raise Wagyu cattle, chickens, herbs, and vegetables. In addition, they supplement with produce, meats, and dairy items from other local and similarly minded farms. These other farms tend to be small farms, many of whom are producing heritage breeds. Working with these local farms, they serve items only when they’re in season locally. As Chef Aaron stated, “Indiana tomatoes are amazing, but when they’re gone, we don’t have them any more. We don’t buy them from California or Mexico to keep them on the menu.”
Located in Indiana and having standards such as that, it may seem difficult to provide produce to their diners in the winter. Chef Aaron did note, “We do have to source, some things can’t be grown locally. Our citrus comes from Florida. Arugula salad is grown north of Indianapolis, hydroponically, which keeps us in greens year round.” In addition, this restaurant has formed a relationship with a local Amish family that should help solve the problem. The family has built a greenhouse and will be growing items, such as collard greens and kale, for the restaurant’s use.
Discussing what he likes best on the menu, Chef Aaron indicated that the Wagyu beef was a favorite ingredient for cooking. The farm has been raising these cattle for seven years, and within that time it’s changed what the chefs can do with the beef. Instead of working with only the “good cuts”, such as filet, the chefs use all parts of the cow. As he explained, “We can elevate mundane cuts. When we are left with rounds, rump roasts, flank steak, and a ton of other cuts, we use cuts like that in a way that is up to our standard, which is always fun.” In fact, next year they may try to butcher their own cattle to maximize the amount of cuts that they get.
Moving from food to customers, we discussed why Joseph Decuis has so many loyal patrons. Chef Aaron attributed it to two factors, “The quality of food and quality of service. It is leaps and bounds above local restaurants.” He continued, “People come to us for the honesty of our food. Some people view it as a trend, but it is something we live by. It is not trendy. They know the eggs in the pasta are from 6 miles up the road. The chicken is fresh, never frozen. They know where the food is coming from.”
Working at Joseph Decuis with truly farm fresh ingredients and dedicated staff, Chef Aaron may be another one of the reasons why their patrons are so loyal.