Chef Jackson Rouse has been a vocal advocate of good, clean, and fair food in the Cincinnati region for many years. The writer does not feel this article quite does him justice, but time is of the essence pre-event, and we look forward to hearing his story and sharing his energy at Rhinegeist on the 24th!
Opening in 2008 in the historical Rookwood Pottery factory in Mount Adams, The Rookwood is a large-volume restaurant owned by Joseph Creighton, Boss Cox Group. Creighton worked tirelessly to revitalize the great Cincinnati landmark, with the goal of creating “an inviting authentic atmosphere” with “chef-driven comfort food and craft cocktails.” Creighton found his chef in Jackson Rouse, a Cincinnati native who had taken an eye-opening trip to California while he was working at the Iron Horse in Glendale. There he saw for the first time restaurants that identified the sources of their food on their menus, and whose cooking focused on elevating the inherent flavor of those ingredients. It struck a cord in a chef who had grown up in northern Kentucky farmland, farming, hunting and foraging. Rouse moved on to Murphin Ridge Inn where he had the opportunity to truly create meals from farm to table. For five years he was the sole cook at Murphin Ridge, working daily with the farmer of the Inn’s organic gardens and local Amish farmers to create a daily menu.
At the Rookwood, Chef Rouse has beautifully melded his experiences working high-volume restaurants with his love of the creativity that comes with local sourcing. The restaurant sources as much as it can locally from such farms as That Guy’s Family Farm, TS Farms, AT Bittner, Carriage House Farm, and many more. In order to be able to obtain more local food, he has worked with Ohio Valley Food Connection to educate local farmers in the needs of a high volume restaurant so that, over time, not only will he be able to access more great meat and produce, but farmer capacity will also be increased to serve more of the Cincinnati community in general.