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Three Inspired Chefs

By Barbara Morrow, Midwest Living editor, updated by Indiana’s Cool North, February 2021

It was hard to decide whether to describe these culinary artists—just a few of the talented chefs working in Northern Indiana’s exceptional eateries—as “inspired” or “inspiring.” Both adjectives fit, really. They are inspired by their passion for food and fresh local bounty. They are inspiring, because each elevates our tastes and helps us feel their connection to the land and the art of food.

1. Nicole Bissonnette, Fish Camp
Her latest concept is the Bartlett’s Fish Camp, located on the waterfront in Michigan City, offering the areas only raw bar.   Seafood and fresh oysters are a focus, but everyone will find something on the menu.  Nicole believes in keeping things simple with fresh flavors and quality ingredients.

2. Justin Venturi, Venturi
The chef at this hip new café in Goshen looks more like a college computer geek than a culinary artist. He even designed the iPhone app that waiters use to flash orders back to the kitchen. Actually, though, he studied art in college, and he and two co-owners created the abstract paintings on the wall. “I feel the connection between food and art,” Justin says. The masterpieces that come from the compact open kitchen include wood-fired pizzas loaded with ingredients so fresh that they almost glow.

3. Caleb France, Cerulean
After growing up in nearby Goshen, Caleb brings an appreciation of local farm traditions and practicality to this converted waterside cottage in Winona Lake. “I try to highlight as many farms as possible and make it realistic for the consumer,” he says. This dedication shows in the menu which reads like a directory of the best producers of fresh ingredients, from duck to goat cheese and lamb.