A downtown Dayton restaurant is collaborating with local and regional chefs to spotlight culinary talents right here in Ohio.
On Thursday, April 6, Executive Chef Jorge Guzmán of Sueño is hosting “Deeply Rooted: A Chef’s Dinner feat. Chef Jose Salazar” with seatings available from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Guzmán is collaborating with Salazar, who owns Salazar, Mita’s and Goose & Elder in Cincinnati. Salazar is a five-time James Beard-nominated chef with Mita’s listed as a 2023 semifinalist for the James Beard Outstanding Restaurant Award.
Guzmán told Dayton.com he wanted to host a series of chef dinners because he has done several collaborations in Minneapolis and wanted to do more in Ohio.
“We’re trying to bring awareness to the talent in Ohio,” Guzmán said. “There’s a ton of really great chefs in Ohio and it seems like a lot of times these markets get overlooked by bigger markets and nobody focuses on what’s happening in these really amazing, smaller towns and I feel like Dayton is one of those.”
Guzmán, a Mexico native, and Salazar, a native of Columbia, are collaborating on a five-course meal that deep dives into Mexican food traditions. Four wine pairings from Certified Sommelier Lauren Gay will be included in the ticket price.
Guzmán described the cuisine as “punchy” with a really great backbone of flavors. Below is the menu for the dinner:
- First Course: Fregola esquites, tarragon, parmesan, chile, jalapeño
- Second Course: Pulpo, white asparagus, ruby grapefruit, black garlic vinaigrette, pimenton
- Third Course: Barramundi, yuzu butter, trout roe, herbs
- Fourth Course: Spring lamb loin, lamb shoulder, English pea huarache, salsa huitlacoche
- Fifth Course: White chocolate coconut flan with toasted coconut shavings
The two chefs follow each other on Instagram and recently became friends after Salazar ate at Sueño, Guzmán explained.
“Sueño is phenomenal,” Salazar said. “Not only is it just beautiful, but the food, the service, the atmosphere, getting to know Jorge, getting to collaborate with the team, those are the things that I think really the collaborations are all about. It’s again about teamwork. It’s about seeing different perspectives and while we have some similarities in our styles and our cuisines, there’s still definitely a lot that I’ll take away from that experience.”
“What I feel is the most important thing about Deeply Rooted is connecting as chefs together to become a stronger unit as collaborators, as professionals in a smaller market,” Guzmán added. “(It) helps build the market up. We’re not competing against each other. We’re trying to build each other up.”
After cooking for 25 years, Guzmán said he continues to learn when collaborating with other chefs.
“I always feel like the new cook walking into somebody’s kitchen where you sit back and observe what they are doing and try to take in as much as you can,” Guzmán said.
He noted he is especially excited to work with Salazar because he is getting to work with someone as accomplished as himself and someone who is also of Latin descent. Guzmán, a three-time James Beard-nominated chef and finalist, said they don’t get as much credit as Latinos. He said it’s not just about the award – it’s seeing the name in print that inspires others.
Guzmán said the series of collaboration dinners are a way for him to give back to the Dayton area.
“Dayton might be what people consider a small market, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t cool, amazing stuff happening here,” Guzmán said. “The most important thing is bringing light to the city and what we’re trying to do.”
Chris Dimmick, co-owner of Sueño said, “Doing events like this helps us return the favor to Cincinnati and Columbus. Typically, Daytonians travel to Columbus, to Cincinnati. I think the most rewarding thing about these events... is hearing that folks are coming from Columbus and Cincinnati to see what’s going on in Dayton.”
This will be the third dinner in the “Deeply Rooted” series. Dimmick said they plan to host collaboration dinners every six to eight weeks. Tickets are $150 each. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
Sueño is located at 607 E. Third Street.