Benjamin Browning, who joined The Dining Room as evening chef last October from his post at Landmark Grill + Lounge in Chicago, brought to Kendall culinary-arts students and Dining Room guests his dedication to practicing simple Midwestern cuisine deep-rooted in classical technique and utilizing “all the local ingredients the community has to offer.”
For Browning’s spring menu, look for rabbit pot au feu with lavender and whole-grain mustard, and savor the ramps, fiddlehead ferns, fresh asparagus, morel mushrooms and other seasonal foods that hearken the advent of warmer weather.
Through his personal relationships with farmers, Browning understands the care that goes into producing each ingredient that arrives in his kitchen, and is dedicated to preparing dishes with the same attention to detail. “For me, buying local isn’t a trend,” he says, “It’s simply the right way to live and eat.” Browning joined The Dining Room six months after it earned distinction as a Certified Green Restaurant™—currently the only certified-green restaurant operating in any culinary school—by the Boston-based Green Restaurant Association.
“I love it here more and more every day,” Browning says. “It’s really a dream come true, working with all these great chefs and bouncing ideas off of them. The support system here is tremendous.”
His current menu exemplifies some things Browning has gleaned from colleagues and his 14 fourth-year students.
“Students see everything you do,” Browning says. “They’ll pick up any bad habits you have. But I’m learning things from them, as well. They’re out there in the local industry with internships at really great restaurants, and they come back to my kitchen with some innovative techniques.”
The Dining Room, located on the 3rd floor at Kendall College, 900 N. North Branch Street on Chicago’s Goose Island, offers dinner Tuesday through Saturday; lunch, under the direction of Chef Peggy Ryan, is served Monday through Friday.