James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour dinner showcases best of Cleveland chefs

What a Night!

Like a conductor who skillfully leads his orchestra, Urban Farmer executive chef Vishu Nath assembled a cadre of local chefs to lead a fine-tuned dining experience to a sold-out crowd in June.

One-hundred and seventy guests filled the main restaurant and private dining rooms at Urban Farmer on June 5 to enjoy the first James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour dinner at the modern downtown steakhouse. It was the only stop in Cleveland this year.

More than a dozen local chefs, including James Beard Award winner Michael Symon, created unique and delicious dishes ranging from crisped spring onion crepes to chicken liver matzo balls to lamb loin.

“It was a great night,’’ Nath said. “So inspiring and fun to see all the creative dishes that came out of the kitchen by some of the top chefs in Ohio.”

Chefs who prepared the nine dinner and dessert dishes also included James Beard Award nominee Karen Small of Flying Fig, Jamie Simpson of the Culinary Vegetable Institute, John D’Amico of Chez Francois in Vermilion and pastry chef Annabella Andricks of the The Dinerbar on Clifton. Urban Famer pastry chef Kara Swortchek and chef Justin Lucas participated as well.

For a full list of chefs, visit: James Beard Dinner: Cleveland

Each guest enjoyed the nine dinner and dessert dishes that were paired with a wine carefully selected by Nath and Urban Farmer general manager Andy Hata. Local varieties included the Reserve Meritage by M Cellars and the Cask Red Blend by Ferrante Winery.

Each dish was personally introduced and described by the chef who created it. Guests received a specially designed menu for the evening, which they got to bring home with them in addition to a salt cellar gift from premier James Beard sponsor U.S. Bank.

Nath was motivated to host the dinner after he and a select group of other local chefs visited the James Beard House last year to prepare a Cleveland-inspired dinner. Several of the chefs who were there with him participated in the Celebrity Chef dinner at Urban Farmer.

“It was great to bring a touch of the renowned James Beard House to Cleveland,’’ Nath said.