The Kitchen: Make meals, memories at participatory eatery in German Village

Make meals, memories at participatory eatery in German Village


It was a sweet chore that my family was only too happy to perform. We carried marshmallows, candy corn, licorice whips, and other confections to a food-preparation table, where we constructed edible haunted houses out of gingerbread cutouts and frosting.

Our handicraft was part of a participatory food experience at the Kitchen in Columbus’ German Village neighborhood. The business, which opened in 2013, offers the tools and guidance for guests to tackle intimidating culinary creations in a fun environment. It’s housed in a hip, 1920s-era building with hardwood floors, exposed brick walls and a tin ceiling.

“Our focus is on the social side of getting people together with food. The educational component is sort of accidental,” said Anne Boninsegna, who co-owns the Kitchen with chef Jen Lindsey.

We visited the Kitchen on Halloween. For $20 apiece, we were given all the fixings to create masterful haunted houses during a three-hour workshop. It was a bargain, considering the amount of preparation that went into the craft, including setup and cleanup.

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Chef Lindsey made the icing and the tasty gingerbread cutouts that formed the walls of our houses. She also made energizing, whimsical snacks including apple slices with caramel, veggies with ranch dip and hot dogs wrapped in biscuits that she called “mummy dogs.”

The Kitchen is open most days of the week for public and private events, each priced according to the number of participants and necessary ingredients. The space offers a commercial cooking environment with professional tools and a seasoned chef.

Most Kitchen experiences are adult-oriented, and the place is often booked for corporate business. But several times a year, families take center stage. Family-related events have included candy making on Valentine’s Day and creating a vegetable soup with colorful ingredients to the theme of the children’s book Rainbow Stew, by Cathryn Falwell.

“Just fun stuff that brings parents and kids together,” Boninsegna said.

The owners say that the best memories are formed around a dinner table. Guests can help prepare a meal before they sit down together to enjoy it, narrowing the line between patron and chef.

“We feel it’s great to sit down and have a dinner with somebody,” Boninsegna said. “But if you cook food together first, you get a richer experience than if you just make reservations and go out to dinner.”

Themes have included a gluten-free dinner party and a Harry Potter potluck, when guests, dressed as characters from the books, created dishes that corresponded with their personalities.

So how can you get a taste of the Kitchen without attending a private party? Attend Taco Tuesday, weekly from 5-9 p.m. The event features unique taco themes – from Mexican to Italian to southern BBQ-inspired tacos. The menu is served a la carte and features specialty cocktail selections, beers and wines that pair with the night’s theme. No reservation is needed for this family-friendly dinner.

For more information, visit thekitchencolumbus.com or call 614-225-8940.