Columbus State is Hosting Indie Chefs Week in June

Top Chef alum and Columbus native Avishar Barua played a key role in wooing Indie Chefs Week, a collaborative dining event, to Ohio for the first time.

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
Chefs plating during Indie Chefs Week dinner service

Chef Avishar Barua’s Worthington restaurant, Joya’s Café, isn’t open yet, but the chef is already making good on his promise to change the Columbus dining scene for the better.  

Barua is a big reason why Columbus is set to host Indie Chefs Week, a culinary/networking event featuring more than 24 chefs from all over the U.S. The event will take place June 9-12 at Columbus State Community College’s on-campus restaurant, Degrees (250 Cleveland Ave.). It’s the first time the annual dinner series is making a stop in Ohio. 

After the former Service Bar executive chef attended an Indie Chefs Week in Richmond, he helped convince the organization that runs the event, Indie Chefs Community, to bring the multiday collaborative culinary experience to his hometown. ICC was founded by Grover Smith nine years ago with a mission “to build stronger and more equitable chef communities in markets across the U.S.” This year, Indie Chefs will showcase a 10-city, nationwide dinner series dubbed the “Road to COMMUNE.” Columbus will mark the third stop on the tour. 

“I wanted Indie Chefs Week to come to Columbus, because I got to experience the event in Richmond last year and saw the positive energy and camaraderie that it brought amongst a diverse group of talented chefs from all over the country,” Barua said Thursday via email to Columbus Monthly. “I made a lot of great connections and met a lot of humble folks that reminded me of the chefs I know in Columbus and thought it would be a great opportunity to continue the culinary dialogue. Columbus has always felt like a great city to host others and what better time than now?” 

Indie Chefs Week will consist of three separate diner-facing events for 90 guests. (Other activities are for chefs only, such as visits to local restaurants and markets to help them network and better understand the local dining scene.) Preliminary Dinner One takes place Thursday, June 9, featuring a dozen courses by 12 chefs and optional wine pairings. The next night, Preliminary Dinner Two, follows the same format with a dozen courses by 12 other chefs on Friday, June 10. Then on Sunday, June 12, the week culminates in a 12-course Grand Finale Collaboration Dinner with all 24 chefs working together in pairs. Each dinner will have an interactive component, when chefs will have the opportunity to talk with guests about their dishes, their career and their experience in Columbus. 

Some of the participating chefs include: host chef Avishar Barua (Joya's, Columbus), Matthew Heaggans (Preston's: A Burger Joint and Café Overlook, Columbus), BJ Lieberman (Chapman's Eat Market and Ginger Rabbit Jazz Lounge, Columbus), Sarah Welch (Marrow, Detroit, Michigan), Zackary Weiner (Jollity, Dayton), Ming Pu (Brooklyn and the Butcher, New Albany, Indiana), Ronny Miranda (Sobre Mesa, Oakland, California) and others. 

Tickets to the Columbus events are now available on a first-come, first-served basis at indiechefs.com

Chefs collaborate during Indie Chefs Week