Business will ask diners to help with cooking
To Anne Boninsegna and Jen Lindsey, cooking is more than completing a meal.
At its best, it's about camaraderie, accomplishment and, of course, eating.
The business partners hope to combine those experiences at Kitchen 231, which is expected to open this spring in German Village.
"Cooking is a very social experience," Boninsegna said. "The reason for the name, as they say, is the best part of the party is in the kitchen."
The venue will take over the former Video Central location at 231 E. Livingston Ave.
The will offer themed cooking events, and participants -- from individuals to small groups -- can join in the cooking process.
Everybody will be assigned a cooking partner and help make a three- or four-course meal.
"Our mission is to empower people to get comfortable in the kitchen," Lindsey said.
"It's a little less cooking class and a little more cooking experience," Boninsegna said. "The great part is you don't have to clean up."
Each event will take about three hours.
"It's definitely a planned night out," she said.
Kitchen 231 also will be available for events in which Boninsegna and Lindsey will do all of the cooking. Boninsegna is a self-trained cook who catered her way through a sociology degree at West Virginia University and Lindsey is in the culinary program at Columbus State Community College.
Boninsegna, who lives in German Village, said she used to drive by the 3,500-square-foot storefront daily.
"I could swear that building said something to me: 'Something great needs to happen in here,'" she said.
So the two friends, who worked at the Franklin Park Conservatory together, collaborated on a business plan: a participatory dining and event space that's unique to Columbus.
The skill level of participants isn't important, Boninsegna said.
"It doesn't matter what your background is," she said. "It's really the kind of a barrier-free zone."
The plan is to be open for dinner six nights a week, with prepared brunch on Sundays.