The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 88 of 132

AT LATE HARVEST KITCHEN IN INDIANAPOLIS, HOSPITALITY IS MORE THAN JUST A WORD Straight from the Heartland I by Bridget Albert / photos by Harold Lee Miller ndiana is known as the Crossroads of America, and Indianapolis is located right in the center. The Heartland is full of agriculture and embodies the warm spirit of the Midwest. Hospitality is not rehearsed in this state—people are born with it. The bar program at Late Harvest Kitchen, located in Indianapolis, is run by Jason Foust. On my fi rst visit, Jason invited me behind his bar to explore and shared with me his love for cocktails, his town and for his guests. Bridget Albert: What makes hospitality in Indianapolis different from the rest of the country? Jason Foust: There is a reason they call it "Midwest hospitality," and Indianapolis is the heart of it. One constant you will fi nd in people behind the bar is the old-school mentality for service. They like a good conversation—telling stories and mak- ing people smile. Smiling, by the way, is another feature of the Midwest. It's a simple thing, but often overlooked, especially in high volume establish- ments. We love what we do, and we take it seri- ously, which shows. You will fi nd the chef/owner at Late Harvest Kitchen, Ryan Nelson, engaging guests in the dining room, answering phones, and even seating guests, which is a good example of the level of service we strive for as a team. Jason Foust behind the bar at Late Harvest Kitchen. 88 / the tasting panel / september 2012 BA: What is your favorite part of the guest/bar- tender interaction? Jason: A genuine relationship. I like good conver- sation, no matter what the subject may be. We are doing new things every day, whether in the kitchen or behind the bar, and people like to hear about those things as much as I like to talk about them. They see me picking fresh herbs in the garden, or fl aming rosemary, or a whole fi sh on a plate across the dining room, and they ask questions because

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