Culinary Collective Embarks on Midwest Tour

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Some of the most innovative chefs from the Midwest and beyond are touring the region this month. CRUX, an underground, nomadic, culinary collective of over 30 chefs, restauranteurs, and bartenders will host four pop-up dinners in partnership with SAUCED Night Market.

The tour is helmed by former Chicago bad boy chef, Brandon Balzley and his wife and co-chef, Laura Higgins-Balzley. Now chefs at The Buffalo Jump in Cape Cod, the Balzleys will be serving up their passion for native ingredients and Rust Belt cooking techniques during the CRUX series.

The last time we caught up with Balzley, we were devouring smoked trout with our bare hands that he braised with a torch moments before we fell upon the flaky fins. CRUX’s Winter in the Rust Belt last January was a meal to be remembered.

“This time, we are gathering groups of chefs in each city to work with our core collective. We decided to tackle the Rust Belt again, because these cities have had some great additions to their culinary scenes since our January tour,” Balzley said in a press release.

“They are underground house parties catered by some of the region’s best chefs.”

The tour kicks off in Chicago on September 11 before hitting Indianapolis, Columbus, and Detroit. Kyle Paton of The Black Lodge and Grown Kitchen & Cafe in Ontario and Jonathan Brooks of Indianapolis’ Milktooth will join the Baltzleys for service hosted by Kevin Cuddihee at TWO (1132 W. Grand Ave.). Fermented grasshopper features among the exciting five-course menu items.

Each dinner will begin with a cocktail hour featuring Virtue Cider, Rockmill Beer, or Middle West Spirits followed by a five-course dinner and coffee service by Sparrow Coffee. A cash or credit bar will be open following cocktail hour. Tickets cost $85 and are available online.

“These events will be larger, louder, and more exciting for guests and chefs. These aren’t quiet, formal dinner parties. They are underground house parties catered by some of the region’s best chefs.”

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Credit: Nick Murway

CRUX: A Culinary Tour

  • Chicago – September 11 at TWO
  • Indianapolis – September 13 at Milktooth
  • Columbus – September 15 at The Table
  • Detroit – September 18 at Grey Ghost

Purchase tickets online.

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