| Guests may recognize chef Jonathon Sawyer from the TV shows “Iron Chef America,” “Dinner Impossible,” “Unique Eats” and “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Sawyer’s personality is almost as big as his career, which has continued to grow since being named Best New Chef in 2010. A former protegee of another notable Cleveland chef, Michael Symon, Sawyer is now operating several restaurants in Cleveland of his own, including his flagship The Greenhouse Tavern, a French and seasonally inspired gastro-pub, and Noodlecat, a mashup noodle house focusing on local ingredients, sustainability and premium ramen.
The concept of guest chefs is an exciting one for Sawyer, who is already known for working with guest chefs at his own pop-up restaurant concept. Brick & Mortar Popups, Cleveland’s first pop-up restaurant group, has become tremendously popular in the region. In the past, the group has inducted illustrious guest chefs like Lee Anne Wong, Jeff Michaud and Jason Roberts. “I think people look at pop-ups in different ways,” he says. “Ours is someone else making food produced in an entirely different space.”
Sawyer explains that guest chefs provide a great experience all around—for the kitchen staff, who gets to meet and work with some of the best chefs from around the country; for the diners, who get to try an entirely new style of food; and for his own restaurant, which is often heavily influenced by those visiting chefs. These experiences and benefits are sure to be reflected at Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE, too. With plans to be in the Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE kitchen for approximately 40 days this winter, Sawyer is expected to greatly influence the restaurant’s operations as well as the execution of its menu. He will also be the first chef to offer up selections for a children’s menu at the restaurant. The father of two refuses to “cook down” to children; instead, he’s created items that are inventive, fun and flavorful, such as hummus pizza, barbecue chicken and the beef sandwich, named by his son and built with steamed buns, miso and beef. He’ll also offer a build-your-own taco dish for children, inspired by his own “Sawyer Family Taco Night.