(Editor’s Note: Stock & Barrel and (614) Magazine devote plenty of ink to the people with their name at the top of the menu. This is the second in a recurring series of the integral employees in the culinary trenches—the guys and gals behind the guy or gal)
It seems like hundreds of new restaurants have opened their doors in Columbus the past few years, meaning that some of the classic stars of the city’s culinary scene have increased competition. Many of those newcomers hope to emulate much of what has been delivered at the corner of Whittier and Jaeger in German Village.
While High Street has seen an overflow of seen-and-be-seen places popping up in the city’s new culinary explosion, it’s still considered prime seating at Barcelona’s first-come, first-serve, quad-like patio, where patrons can have a quick drink, or feast on the restaurant’s famous paella, the crown jewel of Scott Heimlich’s vision: fusing metropolitan chic with Old World dining.
But it’s not just a summertime joint. This winter, you can slink into the corner of the substantial bar for one of the best tapas happy hours in the city, surrounded by the cozy dining room, which has 100 years of history in its original exposed brick and tin ceilings.
In the past two years, Executive Chef Jacob Hough has expanded Barcelona’s communal dining attitude, hosting cooking classes in which he opens the menu to patrons—not afraid to teach them how to make that paella right in their own kitchens.
Barcelona is about sharing tastes—and credit—which is why Stock & Barrel is going Behind the Line to meet the team that carries that vision to reality each and every day:
David Underwood, 25
Experience Five years, spanning many different concepts, including Eddie George’s Bar and Grill, Heinen’s Fine Food, Darista Dips, and Sidecar Global Catering
Underwood is the understudy of the group but by no means a rookie. His diverse experience both on the line and in the catering/commercial arena make him a flexible asset at Barcelona, where he trains new staff, assists with inventory and ordering, and also makes inventive sauces and creates daily specials.
“David is quiet but extremely dynamic,” Hough said. “He can switch stations flawlessly and produce food beautifully.”
Todd Elder, 25
Education Psychology Neuroscience at OSU
Experience Six years, with many restaurants linked to the Barcelona family, including Hae Paul’s, Sí Señor!, and Sidecar Global Catering.
Elder is on board for menu development, cost, and inventory, but he also keeps the kitchen flowing as chief expediter—the crucial steward between the front and back of the house. That doesn’t keep him from also being creative.
“Todd has a passion for food that is always sparking his curiosity of pairing new flavors and trying cutting-edge techniques,” Hough said.
Stephanie Kincaid, 32
Education Columbus Culinary Institute
Experience 10 years producing pastries for several locations around the city, most notably for the Barcelona family of companies and Shaw’s Inn.
Savory food soaks up a lot of the Barcelona ink, which is a shame considering the world-class and world-inspired desserts that spin from the hands of Kincaid. In addition to concepting dishes and baking bread for lunch and dinner service, house-made desserts like Tarta De Queso and Tres Leches Cake are worth saving room for. Such sweetness goes well with Kincaid, according to Hough.
“Stephanie is definitely the mom of the kitchen,” he said. “She is always sweet and constantly continues to push limits on traditional desserts and techniques.”
Jaime Perez, 28
Culinary Arts, Columbus State
Experience 13 years around Columbus, including Sí Señor! and Sidebar 122
Perez’s daily duties consist of overseeing and maintaining training standards, concepting daily specials, as well as menu development and equipment maintenance. He also adds balance to any culinary team with his level-headedness and1 innovation.“Jaime is laidback, even when the heat is on. He brings to the kitchen a distinct Peruvian flare that drives his culinary creativity,” Hough said.
Patrick Marker, 36
Education Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and Sciences
Experience 20 years along the eastern seaboard, including Charley’s Crab Hilton, Hennery’s Market in Charleston, and Cypress Club at Hilton Head South Carolina
The ability to make great cuisine is often directly proportional to the quality and efficiency of your materials—which is why Marker is invaluable. He is involved in lunch menu development and ordering, in which he specializes in cost management, going so far as to constantly refine research on new dining trends and portioning. “Patrick’s ability to control food cost and labor are unparalleled. If your numbers are out of control—he’s your man.”
Photos by Megan Leigh Barnard