Anne Kearney

This chef is my culinary hero. Not just because I loved Peristyle, the French-Creole restaurant in New Orleans that she used to own, until 2004. And not just because of her awards from the James Beard Foundation and other organizations. She's my hero because she returned to her roots in Ohio, her native state. When she left New Orleans and came back to her family's farm in the small town of Lebanon she started raising organic produce, taught at the Midwest Culinary Institute in Cincinnati, and got diners interested in Ohio's local and artisanal food products. In 2007 she opened Rue Dumaine, a bistro in Washington Township, a suburb of Dayton. Her food feels more classically French now, and I love everything on the menu: the pan-seared sea scallops with roasted fingerling potatoes; the crisp herbes de Provence frogs' legs; the cabernet-braised beef short ribs with remoulade slaw. It's a hidden gem where Anne continues to make magic. —Greg Holtkamp, Braintree, Massachusetts

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