Recent culinary school grads Avishar Barua and Silas Caeton had their eyes on high-pressure, low-pay jobs on the line at a big-name restaurant like Alinea in Chicago when Josh Dalton persuaded them to stay in Ohio and help open Veritas.

Recent culinary school grads Avishar Barua and Silas Caeton had their eyes on high-pressure, low-pay jobs on the line at a big-name restaurant like Alinea in Chicago when Josh Dalton persuaded them to stay in Ohio and help open Veritas.

Dalton had grandiose visions for the restaurant space two doors down from his 1808 American Bistro in Delaware-a modern cooking concept where the three chefs could play around with kitchen gadgets and molecular gastronomy.

"We'd been hammering it out at restaurants where the customer decides, 'I want this temperature, this side, substitute this for that,' and you have no input at all," Barua says. "This was finally a chance to express ourselves, to make a statement."

Before launching Veritas, they studied modern cooking tomes like "Ideas in Food," ate at the restaurants of their culinary idols, built their arsenal of high-tech tools and then experimented in the kitchen until they managed to recreate everything they admired.

Since then they've been honing their own signature style, inspired by their diverse backgrounds. Barua's family is Bengali, so he's played with samosas and a butter-poached walleye dish that mimics chicken tikka masala, while Caeton grew up loving Mexican food (his contributions have ranged from carnitas with mole to carne asada with plantains).

Barua and Caeton spend 70 hours a week at each other's side in the windowless closet-sized kitchen at Veritas, then use their off time to take road trips to Chicago and New York, where they're working their way through a must-visit list of restaurants.

The goal in the short term is to help relocate Veritas from sleepy Delaware to Downtown Columbus, where the chefs believe customers are ready for a true Chicago- or New York-style restaurant.

"Somebody needs to go down there and take a risk, do something bigger," Caeton says. "Expectations in Columbus are at a certain level. So you've got to raise the expectations. And I think if you do that, the other chefs will respond with, 'We have to do something different as well. We have to elevate what we're doing.'"

Eventually, though, they both see themselves working the line at one of those big-name spots before opening their own restaurants, possibly back in Columbus. They'd like to see other Columbus restaurants evolve, too.

"We think any kitchen down there is capable of doing what we do. We picked up the books and learned it and we're under 30," Barua says. "If we can figure it out, you can figure it out."