2016 Tastemakers: Bill Glover and James Anderson

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Bill Glover and James Anderson on Anderson's Granville farm

Bill Glover: Executive Chef, Gallerie Bar

Why he's a Tastemaker: Bill Glover is doing extraordinary things at the Gallerie Bar & Bistro, the restaurant in the atrium of the Hilton Downtown. Grilled pacu fish ribs with watermelon radish sliced paper thin. Pork belly crowned by jalapeno ketchup. "We're not your average hotel restaurant by any stretch," he says. But his influence expands far beyond this sleek dining room, and sometimes beyond Columbus. Glover has become a power user and major champion of Ohio's artisan farmers, ranchers and craft brewers. And last year, the self-taught chef got a nod of recognition from the world's culinary mecca when he was invited to cook for 70 movers and shakers at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City-the first Ohio chef to win the honor.

Growing up Ohio: Glover had a classic blue-collar upbringing-first in Pittsburgh and then in North Canton-and was always surrounded by food and family. He honed his executive chef skills at the Ohio State Faculty Club for six years before finally opening his own restaurant, the acclaimed Sage American Bistro. Sage thrived for five years, eventually catching the attention of a Hilton general manager looking for a good chef.

Cattle call: "Bill, there's a cowboy here to see you," the hostess said from the doorway of Glover's office. That was the beginning of the chef's relationship with the RL Valley Ranch in Athens, and the family that raises 300 grass-fed, grain-finished cattle. If you've ever had beef at Gallerie, you know the effort to go local is more than just trendy menu-writing.

The James Beard experience: The invitation to the James Beard dinner, with a theme of "Columbus Calling," beckoned guests to "come see what makes this city an on-the-rise culinary destination." Glover delivered, serving a nine-course menu that showcased Ohio's bounty, including trout from Urbana, fresh ginger from Swainway Urban Farm in Clintonville, pork, rabbit and chicken from James Anderson's farm in Granville (the pigs, incidentally, eat spent grain from Watershed Distillery). Even the lemons came from a lemon tree in Toledo. But showcasing the food wasn't enough. Glover brought Anderson, Travis Owens of Curio at Harvest, Dave Rigo of Watershed, and Colin Vent of Seventh Son Brewing with him to New York. "I wanted to make it about the people I work with and respect," he says.

What's next: Aside from introducing a new menu for spring, Glover will host a James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour collaborative dinner this month. He also hopes to do a dinner with Slow Food Columbus, and bring in the Ohio growers behind the menu. Later this year, Gallerie's interior design may get an update, including enclosing the bar so revelers don't disturb hotel guests.-KP Green

About Bill Glover

Age:39 • Food heroes: Thomas Keller • Guilty pleasure: Bourbon • Recommended reading: "The French Laundry Cookbook." "I make all my young cooks read the foreword." • Go-to drink: Rye bourbon, neat. And an IPA. Together. • Last meal: Mom's Italian cooking • Favorite ingredient: Foie gras, salt. "Both are pretty important."

James Anderson: Owner, Ray Ray's Hog Pit and Anderson Farms

Why he's a Tastemaker: James Anderson practically invented artisanal food-truck culture in Columbus in 2009 when he opened Smackie's, his first mobile barbecue enterprise. After droves of chow hounds caught smoky wind of Anderson's transcendent little cart, he built a truck, renamed his business Ray Ray's Hog Pit (Anderson's middle name is Ray), relocated to the much larger parking lot behind Ace of Cups music club and was roundly celebrated-even by national publications such asEsquire-for serving some of the best barbecue in America. Now Anderson aims to produce "the best pork in the nation" from a farm he recently started near Granville.

Smoke and side-view mirrors: "My dad was a barbecue guy his whole life," says Anderson, explaining his entry into the hardwood-smoking game. "But I never got to cook with my dad before he died." That might help explain why Anderson chases ideals-and why, after opening and closing three restaurants because he couldn't find enough employees who shared his lofty standards, he decided to base his barbecue operation out of a food truck.

Down on the farm: Using moveable electric fences and multiple staging areas, Anderson practices "rotational grazing" by frequently shifting his 100 hogs to forage on the next available grassy sections on the 15 acres of rolling hills in Licking County called Anderson Farms, which the hogs then fertilize with their manure. This eco-friendly grazing routine-plus Anderson's careful selection of non-GMO, supplemental feed (which includes high-protein, spent barley recycled from local breweries)-is a staunch rejection of factory farms. Although "it's not easy, and means working dark-to-dark seven days a week," Anderson says his tactics, along with the specialty breeds he raises, result in fantastic-tasting and healthier-to-eat meat-not the "bland pork with rubbery fat and no depth of flavor" Anderson says consumers must settle for too often.

Pig out: Anderson recently inked a major deal with the A&R Creative Group, so his superior pork will pop up at A&R eateries, such as The Crest Gastropub on Parsons Avenue. Anderson is also working with noted local chef Dan Varga and The Butcher & Grocer (a high-quality, pasture-fed meat-purveyor slated to open early summer in Grandview Heights), so expect some amazing Anderson Farms charcuterie to wow local palates soon.-G.A. Benton

About James Anderson

Age: 38 • Previous gig: Professional photographer • Food heroes: Joel Salatin, Rob Phillips and chef Bill Glover • Guilty pleasure: Whipped lardo • Off-night eats: Hamburgers, venison/pork/beef meatloaf with mashed potatoes, fried chicken, tacos, sausage and kraut, biscuits & honey • Go-to drink: Water during the day, IPA at night • Last meal: Probably chicken wings • Favorite ingredient: Lard