A thorough sampling of classic American dishes – with all 50 states represented – will return to Columbus for a second time.
Flavored Nation, which made its debut last year, is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, and Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High St.
One-day tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door. ThisWeek Community News readers can save $5 a ticket by entering promo code “week” when purchasing tickets online.
Iconic dishes that best represent each state – Texas brisket, New York pastrami and Michigan Coney dogs, to name a few – will be available, said Jared Bobkin, culinary director of GateHouse Live, the presenting sponsor and division of GateHouse Media, the parent company of ThisWeek.
One-day admission includes 10 food samples and six drink samples, with additional sample tickets available at the event. Tickets for children ages 12 and younger are $15 and include five food samples.
Bobkin said the event drew 5,000 people last year, and more are expected for this event.
“We love the city of Columbus,” he said. “When we were touring the city, we knew we were doing a second one.
“We were really well received. We had a great time. We had a wonderful turnout.”
The Columbus culinary team will prepare a buckeye, the same item that was featured last year, Bobkin said.
“We tossed around a few ideas, and when it came down to it, the buckeye is such a staple,” he said. “It’s not going to be a traditional buckeye, though.”
Avishar Barua, a chef for Service Bar at Middle West Spirits, made a next-level buckeye last year, using liquid nitrogen, vegan peanut ice cream and chocolate shortbread.
He was out of buckeyes before the event closed last year.
Also new this year, Cameron Mitchell of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants is lending his help and expertise to Flavored Nation.
Jay Ingram, corporate chef for Cameron Mitchell Premier Events, is helping coordinate a team of chefs who will create a Georgia peach crumble bar, a Kentucky hot brown sandwich and a buckeye tart – chocolate filled with peanut butter mousse and chocolate ganache on top.
“The buckeye tart itself is a rich kind of creamy dessert,” Ingram said. “It’s a spin on your classic Ohio buckeye.”
Indeed, chefs were asked to reinvent classic dishes, Bobkin said.
Mississippi redfish, normally deep-fried, will be served as ceviche, he said.
“Even though we have barbecue across the country, we wanted to showcase it from different places this year,” he said.
North Carolina-style pork and Missouri burnt ends will join Texas brisket at Flavored Nation, he said.
Bobkin said the space’s layout has been redesigned for more seating and to better accommodate foot traffic. The stage has been moved near the entrance of the event, and the “Libation Lounge” has been expanded.
On a related note, Cameron Mitchell will sign a copy of his book, “Yes Is the Answer. What Is the Question?: How Faith in People and a Culture of Hospitality Built a Modern American Restaurant Company,” from noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 25. Patrons can save $5 when they purchase the book at Flavored Nation.
Special pricing includes Sunday admission, plus two additional food samples, two additional drink samples and an autographed copy of the book for $65.