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Untangled Vine

An attempt to sort through all things wine. Specifically of, and about, but not limited to: Food and Wine in Toledo, Ohio. Plus the day to day musings of a Wine Distributor...
 

Estrogen-fueled Epicurean Excellence (in Toledo)

Tucked away in the corners of Downtown Toledo and Levi’s Commons, a mini revolution is under way. Kitchens headed up by creative, passionate chefs is nothing new in Toledo. But to have two of the most interesting and dynamic menus crafted and executed by young women is a fresh approach. Erika Rapp of Diva, and Maggie Chipman of Red River have taken separate paths, but have converged at a time when Toledo seems to be at the brink of a restaurant renaissance. They help to lead the charge to give Toledo an epicurean facelift, and to take advantage of a nationwide shift towards locally owned and operated restaurants. I sat down with both Erika and Maggie separately, but the commonality of their hopes and goals is striking.

What is your Training?

Erika Rapp: Maumee Bay State Park, Culinary Institute of America in New York. Interned at The 4 Season’s in Chicago, Sous Chef-Iris Restaurant, Dallas, TX a 4-star Contemporary American Restaurant


Maggie Chipman: Villa Roma- 4 star Italian in Upstate New York, Abruzzio’s, upscale intimate Italian in Seattle. Self educated- Chef/Owner of Alex Hamilton’s in Downtown Toledo.

Describe your cuisines…
ER- Eclectic Regional. Each dish tends to have a different international influence.
MC-A combination of eclectic French sauces, Southwest Spices with a little Chinese thrown in. A fusion of all regions, emphasis on experimenting with sauces. Proud of our beautiful cuts of Prime Beef, and the menu really highlights the steaks.

Who or what have been your biggest influences professionally?
ER-Thomas Keller of The French Laundry Cookbook. He taught me to show respect for theingredients, to show the respect for the life that the meat used to have.
MC-Craig Commons Common Grill It taught me to maximize flavors in simple dishes. ¬

What separates you and your restaurant from the competition?
ER- I want my cuisine to always be based on classic techniques and styles while bringing an edge and spirit of adventure to the menu. I am excited about being the ability to change the menu seasonally along with fresh and seasonal produce.
MC-Flavor, flavor, flavor. Everything is fresh, no reheating of any ingredients. We have some unique and interesting flavor touches, very different. In the future, we want to become known for our wine program, and as the restaurant wine authority.

What have you noticed as unique challenges in Toledo?
ER-It has been challenging finding the very best ingredients. Although, now I feel like I found the right sources for the best produce. The other challenge has been the chain restaurant mentality.
MC- (laughing) Customers can’t seem to get past the idea of not serving bread immediately. Getting customers to find us back in the corner. We’re the only non-chain in Levi’s Commons.

Why Toledo?
ER-It’s my hometown, I love the seasons, my family, and the people of Toledo. In a word, it’s cozy.
MC-Hometown, feels right, family is very important.

Downtown Toledo is…
ER- …challenging…(pauses) but on the verge of something great!

Perrysburg is…
MC- …Growing quickly, it symbolizes new growth, new opportunities, a chance to be extraordinary.

Diva
329 N Huron St,
Toledo, OH
(419) 324-0000

Red River Restaurant
Town Center at Levis Commons
Perrysburg, OH
(419) 874-8711
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