Hot Plate: Duff Goldman’s New Show, New Chef at Johnny’s, Busy Wednesday

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Cellar Sessions. Photo courtesy of Wit & Wisdom
Cellar Sessions. Photo courtesy of Wit & Wisdom

Yes, it’s supposed to snow this weekend, but don’t let that get you down. The city has had good news this week, with the announcement that Chef Cindy Wolf has been named a James Beard Award finalist (for the fifth time!), and restaurants all over Baltimore are being optimistic – within the past week or so, Harbor East spots like Azumi and Wit & Wisdom have opened their patios. It’s time to dine outside.

Here’s what’s happening in and around Baltimore the first week of spring:

New Faces in the Kitchen

At Johnny’s in Roland Park, Chef David Garcia Reyes has joined the team as both chef and co-owner, the Baltimore Sun reports. Reyes has plenty of experience. He spent the last six years in the kitchen at Johnny’s sister restaurant Charleston, where he was chef de cuisine.

William Wilt has been named the executive chef at the Rusty Scupper. Wilt is a native of Dayton, Maryland, with a degree from Baltimore International Culinary College and years of experience all over the region, most recently at Fiori’s.

Up in Bel Air, Chef Bryan Boessel has taken over the kitchen at the creative spot One Eleven Main. Boessel is a Bel Air local and was formerly the executive chef at Iron Bridge Wine Company. The restaurant recently  launched their early spring menu, with dishes like grilled octopus nicoise and wild rockfish served with hoppin’ john cornbread.

Old Favorites

Baltimore’s kitchens might be getting new blood, but we’re about to welcome an old favorite back to our TV screens. Charm City Cakes chef and TV star Duff Goldman will host a new series, Cake Masters, that premiers on April 11. The show will go behind the scenes of Charm City Cakes, as Duff and his team create seriously over-the-top confections for “A-list” clients.


Have you been to Colette yet? The small French restaurant, tucked in part of the old Chesapeake Restaurant space by the train station, is truly charming, with some fabulous food (if you go and they’re available, do not miss the goat cheese beignets). The restaurant opened last month and this weekend, they’re taking things up a notch, with the introduction of Sunday brunch.

Alcohol Explorers

Interested in some new wine knowledge? Wit & Wisdom’s Cellar Sessions series Volume VI will take place tomorrow, March 19. The topic – Blind Tasting 101 – is a big one. Tickets include light appetizers designed to complement the wines, plus instruction in how sommeliers use their senses to identify wines during blind tastings.

On Sunday, the Baltimore Museum of Industry hosts the Maryland Spirits Showcase, featuring spirit tastings, small bites and music by blues-rock artist Jason Ager. Get to know the old guard and the new faces in the Maryland spirit world – and taste some great products along the way.

First Birthday

Fun Federal Hill spot The Local Fry celebrates one year in business this Sunday, March 20, with a party featuring gifts from some of their very own neighbors. (Their actual birthday was back in January.) Starting at 12 p.m., Bookmakers Cocktail Club will provide complimentary punch. And a B. Doughnut pop-up shop will begin at 3 p.m.

 Grand & Generous

On Monday, March 21, The Grand Baltimore will play host to the Baltimore chapter of the National Association of Catering and Events, for Four Chefs and a Pairing, benefitting Moveable Feast, the Baltimore chapter of NACE’s education programs and the Foundation of ACE.

The event features demonstrations and fantastic food from four local pastry standouts, plus Chef Jason Hisley of La Cakerie.

 Hump Day

This Wednesday night, Baltimore’s restaurants are on fire (figuratively), with a variety of fun, interesting activities.

Hersh’s might be well-known for its creative cocktails, but on Wednesday, March 23, the restaurant will be all about the vino. A four-course wine dinner featuring pinot noirs and chardonnays from Santa Barbara’s Sanford Winery and Vineyards will include seasonal dish pairings plus a talk from Sanford winemaker Steve Fennell.

At Le Garage, get to know the Italian craft beer scene with several specialty Italian beers on tap, accompanied by a one-night only menu featuring interesting, casual Italian food designed to pair with the beers, like a spicy mortadella hot dog. (A a la carte menu of Le Garage’s regular fare will also be available.)

On the other side of Falls Road, the Baltimore Bartender’s Guild, The Charmery and Blue Pit BBQ will team up for A Charming Union: a mash up of ice cream, BBQ and booze, benefiting Youth Empowered Society. The event will take place at Blue Pit BBQ – stop by for a “delicious, boozy treat” that is the brainchild of The Charmery’s David Alima, Blue Pit’s Dave Newman and stellar mixology trio Doug Atwell, Ryan Sparks and Brendan Dorr.

And also on Wednesday, Corner Restaurant and Charcuterie Bar is hosting a Farm to Table Wild Feast featuring the wines of Australian Matt Fowles alongside a five-course wild game dinner. Dishes like hamachi crudo, a charcuterie plate and pan-roasted Australian kangaroo will show off the strength of wild game can be on the plate. 

Farm Funding

On Thursday, March 24, Waterfront Kitchen will host the third installment of its Farm Dinner Series, which puts the spotlight on ingredients provided by local farms. The five-course meal (with optional wine pairings) will feature Whistle Pig Hollow Farm’s pork and lamb in dishes like lamb belly porchetta and brioche bread pudding with house-cured candied bacon.

 Planning Ahead

Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:

Wednesday, March 30: Dinner of the Senses wine dinner at Cunningham’s

Thursday, March 31: Pig Risk, Pig Reward Whole Hog Wine Dinner at La Cuchara

Thursday, April 7: Pane e Vino first anniversary party

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