September 30, 2016
7 award winning chefs = 1 magical night
The TURN Festival Feast is an evening of cuisine, conversation and camaraderie while savoring the unique culinary styles of award-winning chefs. This one-night-only, earth to table experience features Chris Benedyk,
Neal Brown, Cindy Hawkins, Eli Laidlaw, Regina Mehallick, Carlos Salazar and Alan Sternberg.
Chris Benedyk, Love Handle
Chris and Ally Benedyk are already on a rough streak of breaking hearts. Their restaurant was a huge hit in Milwaukee long before they began renovations on their 10th and Rural sandwich shop in Indiana, and city residents and food editors of many local publications mourned its Wisconsin closing. But, the mourning turned to cheering in Indianapolis. Chris's restaurant and food mirror each other as well. He starts off with a simple smoker out back and offers whatever he can churn out between that and a contact griddle. A review in the Journal-Sentinel about his sandwich called the “Wachs” listed the following: "Chunks of bologna flecked with black truffle that had been fried and topped with Taleggio, the Italian washed-rind cheese, melting and gooey and funky, and pink, pickled radishes for sharpness and crunch to cut like a knife through that abundant umami and richness. Man, that was a great sandwich."
Eli Laidlaw, Plat 99
After growing up in Maine, Indianapolis has been home to Laidlaw since he moved to the city after high school. He attended The Chef’s Academy before working at the Hilton and Omni Hotel brands, as well as the South Broad Ripple restaurant, Recess. Chef Laidlaw first joined the staff at The Alexander Hotel in 2013 working mostly with large-scale banquets and events. After being at Recess and Nourish he returned return as sous chef for Plat 99.Laidlaw and his team are sourcing the majority of their ingredients locally.
Neal Brown, Pizzalogy & Libertine
Neal was 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. 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.
Regina Mehallick, R Bistro & R2GO
Regina opened RBistro in May 2001 with a strong emphasis on local ingredients that welcomed a dining audience hungry for her rustic yet contemporary dishes. Anchoring the east end of the city's Massachusetts Avenue arts district, R bistro showcased her diverse culinary experiences. It didn't take Indianapolis long to discover R bistro. The restaurant was reviewed by a multitude of publications, from neighborhood newsletters to The New York Times. In 2008,
Regina received the Cultural Vision Award, represented Slow Food Indy in Turin, Italy at the Terra Madre world meeting and published her cookbook, Regina’s Seasoning Table. In recent years, she she established R2GO in 2014,and closed RBistro after 15 successful years, Just as she did at the restaurant, Regina uses local produce, meats, cheeses and specialty items – both to support Indiana businesses and cut down on our carbon foot print.
Cindy Hawkins, Circle City Sweets
Chef Cindy Hawkins grew up in a baking family, baking alongside her grandmother, mother and sisters. In 2006, she launched Circle City Sweets and in 2008 moved to Chicago to attend the prestigious French Pastry School. In 2010 she opened her retail location at the Indianapolis City Market and continues to participate in many local farmers’ markets. Chef Hawkins also teaches in the baking and pastry department at Ivy Tech Community College. Find Chef Cindy Hawkins at CircleCitySweets.com or @CircleCitySweets.
Carlos Salazar, Rook
From a young age, Chef Carlos Salazar showed a passion for food. His dad, whom Carlos refers to as “the real chef of the family”, passed along a passion for the food from home – The Philippines. At 10 years old, Carlos and his family moved to the United States. After high school, he attended The Chef’s Academy and quickly got work in one of Indy’s most popular restaurants, Oakleys Bistro. After stints at Tulip Noir and Pizzology, he returned to Oakleys Bistro as Sous Chef – cooking under owner Steve Oakley before moving on to his own kitchen at Rook. His love of Asian cuisine combined with helping run one of Indy’s top restaurants, and the time spent with his family gives Chef Carlos a unique style and vision. “I want to redefine Asian street food and elevate it to a dining experience that is creative and modern,”
Alan Sternberg, Cerulean
Raised on a steady diet of potpies, casseroles, and “traditional American whatever,” Alan Sternberg has worked in kitchens since his first job as a dishwasher at age 17. He went on to earn a renegade reputation at Muncie’s Restaurant 2 Oh! 4, where he insisted on making the pasta by hand; he then served as chef de cuisine at The Local Eatery & Pub and as sous chef at Mesh on Mass before taking over Cerulean’s head-toque position in 2014. There, he does what he loves most: experiments with clean flavors and modern presentation.