Todd and Mary Barnum
Entertainment by the T. Michael Branner Conceptet.
Frank Pizzo of City Barbeque prepares a sandwich for Carol Kizer, chairperson Hospitality Management Department, Columbus State Community College. City Barbeque is a unique success story in this Yankee town. When the first of four "joints" opened four years ago in Upper Arlington, a gent told the operators..."you won't last a year...nobody buys barbeque in Columbus." At Taste The Future, the joint served mini buns thick with Texas-style smoked brisket. Owners properly refer to their eateries as a "Chain of Joints."
A Premier Food Showcase
A taste of culinary history: In the late 1980s, Todd Barnum was a member of the Columbus State Community College's Development Foundation Board. As president of Max & Erma's, a national chain of casual restaurants based in Columbus, Barnum was a serious contributor to the school's promising culinary and foodservice programs. He liked the quality of the students.
Barnum thought the program needed exposure. His idea was to spotlight apprentices then going through the three-year hands-on experience they were getting in cooperating restaurant kitchens around the city. This apprentice plan is a simple one. A culinary student attends CSCC classes, but gets the gritty cook line experience by being assigned to work with a chef in a top restaurant, club, upscale retirement community or hotel.
Barnum suggested a one-evening public display of those restaurants, their chefs, and their assigned apprentices - all in whites, all serving their finest appetizers, entrees, desserts in tasting sizes.
Today's Taste showcases have many food venues using the affair to test new menu items.
Originally it was to be a fundraiser modeled after Taste Chicago. Taste the Future has progressed far beyond Taste Chicago. We do not have a state fair food midway - brats and burgers - affair. Taste has taste, quality, and the stuff of fine dining.
Monies raised go into the CSCC general scholarship fund. A portion was to, and does, goes to the culinary program.
Carol Kizer, Chairperson Hospitality Management Department, Barnum and representatives of the local ACF chapter and Columbus State Development Foundation, created the first Taste the Future affair in 1989.
Twenty-seven restaurants, clubs and hotels took part. Net income that first time out was $2,089.
The 2003 Taste the Future had 55 chef displays. When the final numbers are tallied, the income will be in the neighborhood of $510,000.
Thanks to You, Todd Barnum.
By 1999 all the Taste events combined have attracted more corporate investors and has generated nearly $2 million total since the first event. While most of the revenues from the first event have been invested in endowed scholarships, a significant amount of those profits have gone to the culinary program.
This Web site offers a pictorial view of Taste the Future. Possibly you may want to be one of the 1,000 to attend the 2004 Taste. (by Doral Chenoweth)
Jot Down This Date: 14 September 2004