The Kitchen chef wants to promote a welcoming atmosphere

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Jen Lindsey is now a contributor to Food & Wine.

Jen Lindsey says she's hardly fancy but definitely likes to get creative.

Half of the creative force at the Kitchen in German Village, Lindsey wants to promote a welcoming atmosphere, in spirit and on the plate.

That means nothing too complicated.

"I like to cook like your grandmother cooks," said Lindsey, now a contributing chef to Food & Wine.

It's been six months since Lindsey and Anne Boninsegna opened the Kitchen, a participatory dining venue at 231 E. Livingston Ave.

Wednesday through Sunday, people can join with others to make meals from start to finish. The place also caters meals to large groups who rent the space.

"It's fun because I think people are ready to go on that journey with you," said Lindsey, who trained at the Columbus State Community College hospitality program.

Boninsegna helps plan the courses and Lindsey assists patrons in making the meals. Naturally, that means relatively short cooking times, so there's nothing overly fussy, Lindsey said.

"I have to make it simple because it has to be approachable," she said.

But on Taco Tuesdays, watch out -- Lindsey's on a roll.

That's when anyone can dine at the Kitchen without a reservation. Lindsey likes traditional fillings, such as carnitas, but also gets inventive. Recent themes included "steakhouse" and "Chinese take-out" tacos.

Lindsey said "we reinvent the wheel almost every week."

"I need to be inspired by something new all the time," she said.