CMH Gourmand

Eat, Drink, Repeat: Culinary Discovery & Misadventure in Central Ohio

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About the Gourmand


CMH Gourmand is authored by Jim Ellison. I am a food lover and writer.

Artwork by Robert Patricy

My Mission:

CMH Gourmand is designed to share my culinary adventures in Columbus (Ohio, the Midwest, and in the old days all over the world). My purpose is to promote eating local. If we can eat local ingredients, great, if not, then how about at least knowing the person on the other side of the counter and in the kitchen. Columbus is an undiscovered culinary capital. Our city has a lot to offer, but to find it, you may have to look around a little bit and eat outside your comfort zone. I’m not talking about comfort as in that extra notch to add to your belt or driving somewhere dangerous – just taking a small risk for a great meal. Many people get locked into eating at a few places over and over again. So consider me a travel agent…for food finds. I am here to take the fear out of your dining. My goal is that you will not find yourself whining that there is nothing (culinary) to do and no where to eat.

Here is my spin on what this blog is about

I have two pet peeves in relation to dining in Columbus. The first, there is no need to be an apologist for Central Ohio dining – we have a great selection considering the size and level of diversity of our city. The second peeve – when someone asks you where you are from – don’t add Ohio, just say Columbus and when your friends come to visit don’t take them to Applebees – this is your city – show it off.

I am a lifelong resident of Columbus – in particular, Clintonville. I started writing professionally about food in 1998, crafting culinary tales for Ohio Magazine, C-Bus Magazine, Citysearch.com, Stock & Barrel and other publications.

Locally, I judge for various food contests including the North Market and the Ohio State Fair. I was a long time contributor for food related information on Columbus Underground. I teamed up with Columbus Underground and Wild Goose Creative for several fun food festivities such as the Pizza Grand Prix, BaconCamp, BeerCamp and the Dagwood Challenge. I was a wine judge for the Columbus Food and Wine Affair.

Nationally, I am a Kansas City Barbeque Society Certified BBQ judge, a Zagat rater, and I contribute to Roodfood.com. I have been referenced in the following books: Everybody Loves Ice Cream by Shannon Jackson Arnold, Midwest Scoops by Michael McGarry, Hamburger America by George Motz and his follow up book: Hamburger America: Completely Revised and Updated Edition: A State-by-State Guide to 150 Great Burger Joints, and The Columbus Food Truck Cookbook. I worked on three food related books to date, all went belly up before publication, but I now know a lot about pizza, regional sandwiches and Columbus Restaurant and Brewery History. I also have a Masters degree in Library and Information Science so in addition to eating to excess, I can research to the extreme as well.

I expanded my social media domain as the co-host of Columbus Foodcast, a (now defunct but fun to listen to) podcast focused on local restaurants and food venues from 2009 to 2010. I was 1/3 of the team behind TacoTrucksColumbus.com as well as a contributor/editor for Street Eats Columbus.

In July of 2011 Andy, Bethia and I teamed with Mike Beaumont (master of all things video and audio) and Johnny DiLoretto (master of all things Johnny) to create Foodcast on WCBE / 90.5. The show aired every Saturday at 2 pm just before the Splendid Table from July 2011 to July 2014.

Once in a blue moon I pop on the local radar: Columbus Dispatch – December 2007; Alive – January 2009; Columbus Dispatch – June 2009, This Week Newspaper – August 2009, Columbus Dispatch – September 2009, Best Columbus Underground Event of 2009: Pizza Grand Prix IV (January 2010), Alive, “Taco Truck Tour” (April 2010), The Metropreneur” (January 2011), Social Media Adapts to Dining Out – Columbus Dispatch” (September 2011), CMH Gourmand and CMH Tobias in Columbus Monthly” (July 2012) and Writing and Food morphed from hobby to Job – This Week Clintonville September 2012″

LocalEats featured blog

If you see a guy that looks like an overweight Alton Brown snapping a photo at a hot new eatery or a hole in the wall diner, it is probably me.


If you need to e-mail me – click here


What is a CMH Gourmand?

CMH GOURMAND charts my culinary adventures in Columbus (OH). I travel in and out of Ohio (17 countries and 48 states to date – although you are most likely to find me in Australia or Athens when I am on the road). I link some of my out of town eating on this blog. CMH is the airport code for Columbus. Gourmand – is defined as “A connoisseur of fine food and drink.”

And to clarify the difference between Gourmand, Gourmet, and Epicure:

A gourmet is a person with discriminating taste in food and wine, as is a gourmand.

Because gourmand can also mean one who enjoys food in great quantities or even “a gluttonous eater,” care should be taken to make clear its intended sense.

An epicure is much the same as a gourmet, but the word may sometimes carry overtones of excessive refinement. This use of epicure is a misrepresentation of Epicurean philosophy, which, while it professed that pleasure was the highest good, was hardly given to excessive concern with food and drink.

(Thanks to Answers.com for that answer).


I was once asked online, with a bit of snark, about my credentials.  So I took the above and some other items and condensed into the list below. In addition to being obese, there is also some legitimate “science” to balance out my art of eating.

2 years of restaurant and supervisory experience in a restaurant
Level 1 Food Safety Training (twice)
Graduate of Hot Dog University in Chicago
Mystery Shopper/Diner for Cameron Mitchell restaurants 2001 – 2002
Professionally writing about restaurants since 1998
CMH Gourmand 2006 to present
Taco Trucks Columbus 2009 to present
Street Eats Columbus 2010 to present
WCBE Foodcast 2011 to 2014
Countless cooking classes and workshops since 1993
2nd place in three Chili competitions
Kansas City BBQ Society Certified BBQ judge since 2005
Judge at Ohio State Fair Food Competitions 2010 to present
Judge at North Market competitions 2008 to 2013
Judge at countless pro and semi pro contests
Coordinator of Pizza Gran Prix 1-6
I eat out a lot
I worked for the Food Fort for two years where I consulted for food trucks, carts, food based businesses, restaurants, etc., as well as created events and opportunities for our members.
I owned and operated a social media and small business consulting company that worked exclusively with food based businesses 2010 to 2015.
I am a keen observer of the good and bad in the service industry and have over 20 years of front line customer service experience
I am co-owner and lead guide for Columbus Brew Adventures (brewery and distillery tours) since 2013.
Mystery Shopper for a “fast casual burger chain” 2015 to present
I am sure I forgot a couple things.

Eat, Drink, Repeat and Enjoy.

9 Responses to “About the Gourmand”

  1. T.J. Kennedy said

    Well Jim, I finally looked at this at home where I can take my time and enjoy. I picked a fine time to really discover your site, given that I have started a combination Abs/Sonoma/Weight watchers/South Beach diet and IC is out. But, hey, it is still winter and by the time I can buy a scoop from Graeters and eat it in the sun, I will have reached my weight goal (maybe) and eat anything I want(anyway — even if I don’t hit the goal).

  2. PhilVille Phil said

    Wow! “I once ate 10 Italian Beef sandwiches, at 10 places in 8 hours, within the Chicago metro area;” That just jumped off my flat-panel, right into my ramen noodles. Bangin’!

  3. Pat Embry said

    Greetings, Jim:
    I hope you all are doing well. I’ve been enjoying your Columbus blog, as well as your work with ColumbusUnderground.com. Quite thorough and informative! To jump into an introduction, I’m Pat Embry, a long-time Nashville-based entertainment editor and writer. (I wanna hear more about your recent Nashville trip.) For the past two years I’ve served as editorial director at Magellan Press, a locally based imprint specializing in dining and travel guides.
    Last spring, Magellan successfully published a comprehensive local dining guidebook called Where the Locals Eat-Nashville. We’re now wrapping up many months of work on a companion national guidebook and extensive companion website, Where the Locals Eat http://www.wherethelocalseat.com, which will spotlight the Top 100 restaurants, including winners in any number dining categories (best diner, best contemporary, best Mexican restaurant, etc.), in each of the top 50 U.S. markets.

    I’d welcome your feedback, pre-publication, on our Top 100 list in Columbus (or anywhere else). Any obvious clunkers? Any place resting on past laurels? Some place that has recently closed? A spot worthy of consideration that we have neglected?

    Pat Embry

  4. thanks for the link and the comment. I’m new to blogging but having fun doing it!

    Here is another local food blog I found – what do you want to eat? http://petitshoo.typepad.com/food/

  5. Sassy said

    So, When will you be covering the new Peruvian Eatery in The Springs? Or are you too much of a C-bus snob? Great new pic by the way. Much more becoming and truly shows the “inner you.”😉

  6. Hi Jim,
    I have been searching around the blog world for blogs on Columbus dining, eating, and restaurant reviews, and found you. I am truly enjoying reading your posts. Although I don’t qualify as a gourmand, I do enjoy a wonderful meal!
    Something I have not found in my search is a blog mentioning families or kids dining out. I know a lot of people cringe at the thought of kids in restaurants, but we all must remember they are the future gourmets! (and how will they develop a love of dining out without some experience!)
    I have started a website devoted to families in Central Ohio who like to eat out. I review restaurants with kids in tow and find out if they accommodate children with things like kids menus, highchairs, crayons, etc. I do very basic food reviews with the emphasis on the type of food that is offered and things like atmosphere and healthy options for the kids.
    Your blog is definitely geared toward the adult dining scene, but I was wondering if your readers who have kids might be interested in finding out about local places to go with their kids. There is also a section of the site that lists places that offer deals on certain days of the week for kids. (Maybe your readers without kids could use that list to AVOID certain restaurants! :) )
    My site is KidsEatOut.com and I would love to have you check it out and let me know what you think and possibly share it with your readers.
    Best wishes and I will continue to enjoy your postings!
    Sincerely,
    Dawn Scheurle

  7. Yano said

    Hi Jim thanks for letting me know about Masseys Pizza by mail. I understand everyone has different tastes and I gotta beli ve part of why I love CMH pizza is caused by growing up on it, but it truly is my favorite food of all time. Wondering if that pizza style in particular pizza like Rubinos and Donatos are truly great pizza or am I biased from growing up on it. I understand your taste may be different than mine but your credentials are impressive and it appears you know what I am saying when I say CMH pizza.How does CMH pizza rank in your giant list of pizza you have tried all over the world. Do you know of any contest not in central Ohio where CMH pizza was entered and if so did it win any ribbons? Really just wondering if it is that good or I am biased?. I did read on here from east coasters that CMH pizza is aweful but with chains like Donatos and Masseys 100’s of thousands of people can’t be wrong. With great pizza like that I sometimes wonder how Dominos and Pizza Hut survive in Columbus. Thanks for your time. Yano

  8. Norman Carmichael said

    Jim,

    It’s been a while since we talked but I enjoy your posts immensely. You led us to Rice Bowl, a very serviceable Chinese restaurant in the vast Chinese restaurant wasteland known at German Village/Southside. It has grown a bit bleah, though, and thought you would like to know about Eastern Wok. It is located in a down-at-the-heels strip mall on South High, all the way down near Lowe’s. Hard to find but worth it. All is freshly prepared. All is very high quality. All is much better than it has to be. The dumplings are the best I have hard here ( I need to explain that I love dumplings and am almost always disappointed by the bland stuffing in almost all of them. Not at Eastern Wok). Never had a bad, or even mediocre offering. Portions are large but most non-specials can be ordered in a small size,which feed one very well. You may wish to try it. By the way, you can eat in but don’t really want to.

    My best,

    Norman Carmichael

    • Norman! Great to hear from one of my favorite chefs! Thanks for the tip. As for Rice Bowl, now that we are north of 70 again, we do not get there much but I always crave their egg rolls with orange sauce – my favorite of all time.

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