We’re taking the show on the road! Our Culinary Crossroads team heads to Fort Wayne later this month for another On the Road dinner. As we’ve done in Evansville and in the New Albany/Jeffersonville area, our Fort Wayne dinner will bring together talented chefs to create a one-of-a-kind evening celebrating great food, great talent and great causes.
These collaborative chef dinners feature multi-course meals that never fail to wow our guests and support a variety of local causes chosen by the chefs. The dinners also bring together local food fans and supporters of Indiana’s culinary community while spotlighting businesses, farms, wineries, distilleries and breweries. We hope to see you at one of our events around the state!
We’re also exploring the state through this twice monthly On the Road newsletter. You’re reading our third issue, and we’re excited to be highlighting events, restaurants, chefs and food artisans across Indiana. Please help us spread the word and forward this to a friend!
You’ll also see some big changes to CulinaryCrossroads.org as well. We’ll be posting more articles and info on the website to keep you in the know about the vibrant food scenes in cities around the state, destination restaurants worth the drive, food sport competitions and other great foodie events. Be sure to check out our newsletter calendar, where we include events in Northern, Central and Southern Indiana – and a few restaurant suggestions as well.
We hope you’ll follow us on social media and come along for the ride – it’s going to be a tasty adventure!
Marcus Daniel is the executive chef at Joseph Decuis, a fine-dining restaurant in Roanoke, Ind. The restaurant features Wagyu beef raised on the restaurant’s nearby farm along with Mangalitsa pigs, heritage chickens and turkeys, and a wide array of vegetables. Chef Daniel, a Fort Wayne native, graduated from Ivy Tech’s culinary program and worked locally before heading to Los Angeles and New York City. He joined Joseph Decuis in 2016, returning to the area from New York City’s Michelin-starred Breslin Bar & Dining Room and John Dory Oyster Bar, where he refined his culinary skills under the tutelage of James Beard award-winning chef April Bloomfield. Chef Daniel will be cooking for the Culinary Crossroad On the Road dinner at Fort Wayne’s new Union Street Market in the Electric Works development on Feb. 21.
What’s your food philosophy?
I like cooking food that I want to eat. Seasonal as much as possible. Working with the wagyu [at Joseph Decuis] is nice. It’s a beautiful ingredient. I’m able to explore the whole cow, the whole nose to tail.
Did you always want to be a chef?
My mom told me I had to go to college, so I went to Ivy Tech, and I enrolled in the culinary department. Once I got into it, I started to like it. You’re moving, you’re sweating, you’re getting yelled at. It reminded me of some sort of sport.
Do you yell in the kitchen?
We have an open kitchen, so I can’t yell obscenities across the room, but I can speak very sternly in someone’s ear.
With the announcement that Noma will be closing in Copenhagen, we’re hearing a lot about the end of fine dining? Any thoughts?
Noma’s closing, but every three Michelin-starred restaurant in New York is bumping their prices, and it doesn’t seem like its affecting them. Is “fine dining” just the service of it? Or is fine dining the food of it? You can serve beautiful food on picnic tables.
Do you enjoy working with other chefs at collaborative dinners?
In 2019 [pre-pandemic], we were cooking with people that came from, say, Italy, from Louisiana, from Africa and other regions in the world. They would come [to the restaurant] with their recipes, they showed me how to do it, we executed it, and they spoke about it. It was eye opening to see how many foods are out there. And there’s always a street food. There’s always meat on a stick. There’s always those types of foods everywhere. That’s something we all share in common.
What do you cook at home?
During these winter months, it’s more stews, heartier food. The people I cook for at home are my wife and kids, and sometimes the kids don’t want what I want to eat, so I’m not really cooking for myself.
What’s always in your fridge?
Hot sauce for me to put on everything. It’s going on pizza, it’s going on eggs. Sandwiches too.
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.