The Culinary Crossroads 2022 Spring Dinner Series kicked off its four-week run on April 19 with a menu inspired by the flavors of Spain and Portugal. The “global culinary experience” theme will continue as we spotlight Italy on April 26, France on May 3 and the Middle East on May 10.
Chefs for week one were Abbi Merriss of Bluebeard and The Brasserie at Kan-Kan, Carlos Salazar of Lil Dumplings Noodle Bar and West Fork Whiskey and Pete Schmutte of Leviathan Bakehouse. Wine pairings are included at all dinners and were selected by sommelier Ashlee Nemeth of Tinker Street.
“Tonight’s kick off was so much fun,” said Culinary Crossroads founder Larry Dickerson. “Being involved with Culinary Crossroads and especially the Spring Dinner Series is so enjoyable. A huge shout out to the chefs, strategic partners and patrons who make it happen!”
Once again, the Spring Dinner Series is hosted by Highland Golf & Country Club, and the presenting sponsor is Ivy Tech Community College. Proceeds go to compensate our chefs, support Culinary Crossroads’ initiatives and create a culinary scholarship at Ivy Tech. For more on the dinner series, as well as our upcoming On the Road collaborative chef dinner in Southern Indiana, follow Culinary Crossroads IN on Facebook and Instagram.
We’re so happy to announce that tickets for our second-annual Spring Dinner Series, presented by Ivy Tech Community College, are now on sale!
The 2022 Spring Dinner Series takes place April 19 – May 10 at Highland Golf & Country Club and features an incredibly talented lineup of some of the Indianapolis area’s top chefs. Each week, two chefs will work together on a multi-course menu with dessert created by one of Indy’s top pastry chefs! A portion of the proceeds from the dinners will go to create a culinary scholarship at Ivy Tech – the perfect combination “great food, great talent, great causes.”
Our 2022 dinner series will feature a Global Exploration theme, and menus will focus on Spain/Portugal, Italy, France and the Middle East. Our chef teams include:
April 19: Spain & Portugal with chefs Abbi Merriss and Carlos Salazar and pastry chef Pete Schmutte.
April 26: Italy with chefs Alan Sternberg and Brad Gate and pastry chef Tanya Smith.
May 3: France with chefs Steve Oakley and Esteban Rosas with pastry chef Cindy Hawkins.
May 10: Middle East with chefs Jonathan Brooks and Erin Kem with pastry chef Youssef Boudarine.
What a great lineup!
Last year, more than 500 guests joined us including First Lady Janet Holcomb, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, and Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann who each shared kind words about the dinners and the Culinary Crossroads dinner series initiative. Nearly two dozen partners and underwriters participated and helped make our dinner series a success.
Tickets are available in pairs for $350; or you can purchase a table for six for $1,000. In addition to helping to create a culinary scholarship, portions of the revenue are used to compensate participating chefs, cover food costs and provide support for future Culinary Crossroads initiatives. And we’ve got more great dinners coming up – stay tuned!
We’ve been busy here at Culinary Crossroads with our efforts to spotlight Indiana’s culinary culture and shine a spotlight on chefs and restaurants throughout the state. After last year’s successful Spring Dinner Series, we decided to take the show on the road!
“The On the Road dinner series is very important to us,,” said Culinary Crossroads founder Larry Dickerson. “So often statewide programs end up being Indy centric. We were committed to the fact that this is a statewide initiative.”
Our first On the Road dinner took place in Evansville in October and brought together three of that city’s top chef ambassadors for a collaborative dinner.
The dinner took place at Copper House with chef/owner Charissa Perkins along with chef Jeremiah Galey of Amy’s on Franklin, and chef Lake Russell of Schymik’s Kitchen. The chefs created an incredible menu and worked together to serve up a memorable evening.
Along with beer from Sun King, Huber Winery and Starlight Distillery provided wine pairings and a signature cocktail for the evening.
Our next On the Road Dinner will take place in May at Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards in Starlight, Ind., near New Albany. Look for ticket info soon!
And look for other On the Road dinners to take place in 2022. Fort Wayne is on our short list as are South Bend, Lafayette and Terre Haute.
It’s almost spring and all of us here at Culinary Crossroads are gearing up for a busy and delicious 2022! But before we get started on what’s cooking in 2022, we thought we’d look back at 2021. What a year, right?
Despite the ongoing challenges of a pandemic, in 2021 we continued our work of spotlighting the people, places, products and services of the Indiana culinary community. We worked hard to reconnect local food fans with chefs and restaurants, especially important after so much time spent at home with our sourdough starters and carry-out dinners.
With that goal in mind, we launched our Spring Dinner Series in April 2021, a six-week series at Highland Golf & Country Club in Indianapolis with Ivy Tech Community College as our presenting sponsor. Each week, different chef teams created multi-course menus for 90 diners. All told, we worked with more than a dozen chefs and multiple sponsors to present six creative menus – plus perfect wine pairings and delightful signature cocktails. Those dinners, which featured some of Indy’s culinary icons and rising stars, provided a welcome way to safely reconnect.
“Coming out of 2020, we knew it was important for us to highlight our culinary ambassadors,” said Culinary Crossroads founder Larry Dickerson. “Those individuals had worked very hard to survive. We also want people to realize that when we reach out to the chefs, they are the talent, and we choose to compensate our chefs. And we feel that that should become the standard when other organizations utilize them for their fundraising efforts.”
The Spring Dinner Series finale in mid-May also allowed Culinary Crossroads to honor chef Greg Hardesty, one of Indy’s most respected culinary ambassadors. That final dinner brought so many of our local chefs together to celebrate his work with family, friends and colleagues. His death six weeks later made us all realize how much we value those connections.
The series also lead to another connection for Culinary Crossroads, when Paramount Schools of Excellence CEO Tommy Reddicks reached out about working with us on another dinner series. In honor of his late wife Kelly Wensing, a tireless supporter of Indy’s culinary community, we worked with Tommy to create our Sunday Supper Club dinner series with Paramount Schools of Excellence.
“One of the things that has been so exciting about the whole Culinary Crossroads initiative has been the cross pollination that has taken place,” said Larry. “The Supper Club is a case in point. Tommy saw that that we were building this around great food, great talent and great causes. And that resonated.”
The monthly Supper Club series launched last August and features six-course dinners held at the school’s Cottage Home campus. Thanks to the not-for-profit Kelly’s Fund that helps support it, the dinner series will continue through the summer of 2022 and beyond, with proceeds from ticket sales going straight to the chefs, and with a portion set aside to create an Ivy Tech culinary scholarship. Collaborations such as our Supper Club series exemplify our Culinary Crossroads theme of “great food, great talent and great causes.”
Later in the year, we launched our On the Road series with a collaborative chef dinner in Evansville, Ind. The October event brought together three of that city’s top chef ambassadors for a multi-course dinner, and we’ll be continuing the On the Road series around the state.
“The On the Road dinner series is very important to us,” Larry said. “From day one we were committed to the idea that this is a statewide initiative, and 2021 provided time for us to do our homework. The fact that we were able to pull off our initial On the Road Dinner in Evansville gave us a playbook that we think will make for some even more successful dinners around the state.”
We hope you’ll come along for the ride in 2022, whether in Indy or on the road, and help us shine that spotlight on great food, great talent and great causes!