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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fort Thomas' "Diner En Blanc"

Photo: Diner En Blanc, Cincinnati. 
By Jen Kohl 

Picture this. It is a beautiful summer evening. Rows of white linen covered tables adorned with beautiful, fresh cut flower arrangements delicately placed in vintage jars. A candle lit lined street in front of the Mess Hall in Fort Thomas. Clicking sounds of dishes and silver being set and the scent of a delicious, meticulously planned menu using only the freshest produce from our area’s local farmers.

It’s a sight we have never seen in Fort Thomas, an outdoor restaurant in the heart of town, an elegant event. Guests all arrive dressed in white, ready to be served a feast prepared by local chefs.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Planning "First-Class" 150th Celebration 

Only a year away, organizers hope that Fort Thomas’ first Diner en Blanc, a farm-to-table, field-to-fork dinner will kick off the 150-year anniversary celebration events on July 2, 2017.

“Fort Thomas has just a number of really good chefs,” said Renaissance Manager and  Economic Development Director Debbie Buckley.

“This came out of the Stables project several years ago. We discovered we had four chefs on our committee, and now that Colonel De is here, he has brought some more chefs and because we also have our farmers market, it just seems a perfect marriage with our Sesquicentennial coming. It’s a way of thanking our volunteers and a beautiful way to start off the Sesquicentennial.” 
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The event will be a fundraiser for volunteers and sponsors as well as the public.

Jim Beam will be uncorking a Fort Thomas brand bourbon that night that will also be sold later at participating businesses.

Colonel De Chef Matt Buschle is one of the chefs invited to help prepare the menu and cook for the event.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Hopes To Honor City's Namesake with Statue 

Buschle said he and his Colonel De team are flattered to be invited and are already scheming and planning menus in their heads as well as thinking of others to get involved.

Not a stranger to preparing a plated meal for several people, Buschle is excited for this event that will have upwards of 200 attending.

He added that the real exciting thing is that they have a full year to plan, to look at the growing season and see who is doing what to expand their base in which they will use.

“Being able to get a hold of those sort of (local) ingredients is not something that a lot people get to do everyday,” said Buschle, “and especially being able to get those kinds of ingredients in that quantity.

“At the same time, we get to teach people about what products are available in the neighborhood, so to speak.

As a cook for most of my life, I hope everybody would get to the point I don’t need to cook for them anymore. I would love to see people be able to cook for themselves to the point they were happy, and there are a lot more people that do now.”

The local food movement, growing in popularity, aims to form relationships between food producers, retailers and food consumers in the same geographic region. It benefits communities by improving local economy, and develops more self-reliant food networks while fresher produce than you get at a store available. It is a great way to learn more from farmers about where the food comes from and how it is grown. Eating local also promotes community interaction as we have seen from our very own successful farmers market.

Stay tuned for more details on the Sesquicentennial, exclusively at

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