Monday, October 17, 2011

Rue Dumaine - C'est Magnifique!

As a committed life long learner, I enjoy taking and moderating, classes at UDLLI (University of Dayton Lifelong Learning Institute). One of my favorites this session has been the Dining in Dayton Sampler. Each class features speakers from one or two local restaurants who share their restaurants' history, menu options, and specialties.

Anne Kearney, Chef and Owner of Rue Dumaine

Today's presenters were Anne Kearney and Tom Sand of Rue Dumaine in Centerville, Ohio. Anne was charming, inspiring, modest, and... brought delicious food to share. Tom, her husband and fellow owner, added insight as to the business and beverage (They have great wines and innovative cocktails!) side of the restaurant as well as some wry humor. This American Bistro has many French influences and they thoughtfully include a small glossary of French terms on the reverse of the menu.

Anne's "Food of Love" began at fourteen as she took over making the family dinner when her mother began to work outside the home. She experimented with family favorite recipes and had even catered a wedding before she graduated from high school. After a year of college, she began to pursue her true passion at the Greater Cincinnati Culinary Arts Academy. I especially love this part of her story. Too often our culture dictates that you must have a college degree to be successful. It is one of my hopes that we again begin to value the artisans who prepare our food, repair our cars and plumbing, build our homes, create stories, plant gardens, and follow their passion in a myriad of other ways that do not require a college degree. I loved college but do not think it is the only way to prepare for a life of passion and worth.

Some of the seventy participants in the Dining in Dayton session

From Cincinnati, Anne moved to New Orleans where she was sous chef at Peristyle and both cooked and helped develop recipes at Emmeril's. She later purchased Peristyle, where in 2002 she received the James Beard "Best Chef Southeast award. It is our fortune that Anne and Tom returned to the Dayton area to be near both their families. In 2007, they opened Rue Dumaine.

Their passion for food, ambiance, and innovation is evident. As Anne prepared a fall salad and a gluten-free dessert, a slide show behind her added a visual feast of the plated meals, glassware, hanging meats, fresh vegetables, and even one of the farms that make Rue Dumaine special.  

Slide features Michael Malone of Hungry Toad Organic Farm

Tom remarked on the richness of the Dayton area with regard to restaurants, excellent markets, and availability of local and organic meat and produce. Post cancer, I have deliberately sought restaurants that use local, organic foods. Rue Dumaine's weekly menu lists the local farmers and artisans they have as suppliers for that week. Each dish is prepared when ordered so substitutions can be made to accommodate customer needs or preferences.

It is a lovely thing to spend a few hours listening to two people share their passion for both their restaurant and for Dayton. It is always energizing and inspiring to be in the company of folks following their dream. 

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