master chef
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(*) Hartmut Handke. the world's winningest competition chef...
(**) The chef's banquet table; the chef's classroom...

Handke, The Book:

Handke's Cuisine, a world class restaurant in Columbus,
Sold after 17 years; New owners retain name, culinary crew

18 August 2008
Editor's Note: Few restaurant reviewers can claim to have covered near perfection in every aspect in a single restaurant. In my travel, food and restaurant writing career spanning more than 40 years, I can make such a claim. Handke's Cuisine in my city's Brewery District, is the perfect restaurant by my exacting standards.

It was created and owned by Hartmut Handke for 17 years and two months. His restaurant made the prestigious list of the Top 10 Fine Dining venues published by The Columbus Dispatch the first year of business. It has been a repeater every year since.

In July 2008 Lorie Buxton and husband Tim Phalen bought Handke's Cuisine. In their wisest move, the name and culinary crew will remain.

But the real story of Handke's Cuisine is in the man behind the name. I wrote or reviewed Hartmut Handke in at least three of his culinary settings - Athletic Club of Columbus, The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., and finally, his signature restaurant. During those tours, Chef Handke won culinary honors from the world's major trade publications and competitions as well as those issued by legitimate restaurant rating services. With all this in mind, I am re-publishing the bio and related information from his original website. Additionally, this website's extended pages will show off the images of a masterful career that promises to continue beyond his kitchen into the realm of teaching. Hartmut Handke, 68, has not left the kitchen. He merely stepped away from the hot stove. I intend to keep you informed.

--- Doral Chenoweth, thegrumpygourmet@wowway.com

=== Bio, from www.chefhandke.com

Chef's Bio
Chef Hartmut Handke, CMC, is one of America's most accomplished chefs with over 40 years of culinary experience and many national and international culinary awards and professional honors to his credit. He has worked in world-class kitchens in Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, Canada and the United States. His award-winning global cuisine reflects his diverse influences and his mastery of the highest culinary standards.

Chef Handke has competed in over 50 national and international culinary competitions and salons. He has won 38 gold medals, more than any other chef in America. He was a member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Culinary Team USA 1984 and 1988, both of which won gold medals in the cold food and pastry competitions. In 1995, he won the Auguste Escoffier USA Grand Prix and went on to represent the United States in the Grand Prix Culinaire International Auguste Escoffier in Nice, France, winning the dessert competition and placing second overall. Chef Handke served as team manager in 1998 for the ACF Culinary Team USA, which won gold medals in both cold and hot food at the Culinary World Cup at Expogast in Luxembourg. In May 2000, Chef Handke won the final competition at the Bocuse d'Or USA Concours and the honor of representing the United States in Lyon, France, in 2003. In the competition, Chef Handke won the very first Gold Medal ever for the United States!

Chef Handke's peers have also recognized his contributions and achievements. He is the only chef to receive all three of ACF's most prestigious professional awards. In 1992 he received "ACF Culinarian of the Year Award" and "ACF Chef Professionalism Award". A year later he was awarded ACF's "National Chef of the Year Award." In 1989, Chef Handke was recognized as "Ambassador" by the Culinary Institute of America.

In addition to his experiences outside America, Chef Handke has worked in fine-dining establishments in the United States for over 25 years. He served as executive chef of the Athletic Club of Columbus, Columbus, Ohio, for nearly nine years and as executive chef of The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., from 1986 to 1991. Since then, he has been chef-proprietor of Handke's Cuisine in Columbus, Ohio. In 2001, 2002, 2003 and now 2004 the Zagat Survey ranked Handke's Cuisine the top restaurant in both Columbus and the state of Ohio, and his crme brle dessert the best in the country.

Chef Handke is one of only 75 chefs in the country who has achieved certified master chef (CMC), the certification given by ACF to recognize the highest achievement in the culinary profession. He was the thirteenth chef to receive the CMC designation after passing the grueling 10-day, 130-hour examination.

Chef Handke devotes his personal time to the professional development of talented, young culinarians through teaching, coaching and training.

An ACF-sanctioned culinary judge, Chef Handke has judged numerous culinary competitions during his career, most recently at the 2000 "International Culinary Olympics" in Erfurt, Germany, and the culinary competition held during the World Association of Cooks' Societies Congress in Melbourne, Australia.

While maintaining active memberships in professional trade associations, Chef Handke is also involved in local charities and community organizations.

In addition to owning and operating Handke's Cuisine, he is a professional culinary consultant. He served for five years on the menu design team for United Airlines Worldwide and has consulted for Kellogg's, Caribbean Hotel Association, Donatos Pizza, Huntington Bankshares and OSO Sweet Onions.

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E-mail: thegrumpygourmet@wowway.com