Pottery Perfection: Dishes at Till

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Magdiale Wolmark didn't have a choice in the matter of dishes at Till Dynamic Fare. "I'm going to make your plates," master potter Jenny Floch told the chef-owner shortly after Till opened.

Wolmark met Floch through their shared interest in the biodynamic movement (essentially a holistic view of agricultural processes) and realized the two share common values. He opened Till in 2012 using Floch's coffee mugs (with their signature thumb rests on the top of the handle) and hand-crafted water pitchers. "In a sense," Wolmark says, "she became a partner. Her work is an expression of who we are."

Floch, who dines frequently at Till, quickly became unsatisfied with Wolmark's commercial plates. "I kind of brought her out of retirement," Wolmark says of the retired Clintonville potter whose work has been shown in galleries throughout the country. When she showed up months later with 10 plates, he realized the challenge. "Jenny," he told her, "this is a restaurant. We need, like, 50 plates." Wolmark now orders his plates months in advance and receives five at a time, as well as a few surprises, like salad plates, bowls and other necessities Floch decides the restaurant needs.

Working with handcrafted pottery is a challenge, but Wolmark and his staff are unfazed by the heavy dishes, which require an elevated level of attention in the kitchen. "They don't stack up, because every plate is not the same," he says, adding, "Every apple is not the same. And every turnip is not the same."