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Yes, Chef

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dishing about dishes has perhaps never been more exhilarating than in today’s eclectic dining terrain. metroMAGAZINE checked in with three of omaha’s most prominent foodie voices– and with one who is an emerging culinary artist– to take the pulse of an increasingly compelling restaurant landscape. enjoy these profiles and then be sure to check out related stories in this issue on the hospitality hall of fame and too many cooks.
 


 

 

PERHAPS THE most important gauge in measuring success in the “farm to table” movement is a literal one, the odometer of the vehicle that delivers the raw materials that end up on your plate.
 

At chef CLAYTON CHAPMAN’S GREY PLUME, “fresh” is measured in a mere three ticks of the gauge when produce makes its way from the nearest supplier, an urban farm smack dab in the middle of densely populated Benson.
 

Correction. Read 30 feet versus three miles.
 

A mezzanine-level growing operation for micro-greens is technically the most local of the chef’s locally sourced products.
 

A passionate commitment to hyper-local growers, ranchers and producers coupled with an Earth-friendly design and sustainable operations led to TIME MAGAZINE coverage when Grey Plume was dubbed “the greenest restaurant in America” by the GREEN RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION in naming the establishment as the first ever to attain its 4 Star SustainaBuild Certified Restaurant recognition.
 

But those aren’t even the most compelling aspects of this food story that isn’t really a food story at all. All of this happened before Chapman turned 25.
 

Hyperbole can be a dangerous thing, but there’s no denying that Clayton Chapman is the reigning wunderkind of Omaha’s culinary world. He may hate the label, but numbers don’t lie. Add a decade to his driver’s license and he’d still vie for the title.
 

“Sometimes I can’t believe it’s real,” the chef said.
 

“I’m in awe of the simple fact that we’re almost 11 months in to this thing. The first four months were a sleep-deprived blur, but now I think we’ve found our rhythm.”
 

Chapman is quick to point out that the “we” above is a big, almost transcendent “we.” He credits his partner and mentor, Chicago restaurateur MICHAEL HOWE. He sings the praises of his staff, family and his network of providers and partners, all of whom contribute to “sustainable economies where dollars are literally grown here and later spent here.”
 

All this from one who has yet to reach 26.
 

 

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