This city's culinary scene is doing some amazing things. With James Beard Award nominees, award-winning barbecue, and a fantastic farmers' market, this Iowa city's culinary creators keep climbing to new heights.


A celebrated local chef and his team have been chosen by the James Beard Foundation to cook dinner at the James Beard House in New York City. 

Chef and co-owner of Baru 66 in Windsor Heights, David Baruthio, and his team of highly-skilled culinary artists have been selected to create a multi-course dinner in the same kitchen where James Beard cooked and taught for 25 years. He is the first chef from Iowa to be invited to participate in this event that will take place on Dec. 14.

"The president of the foundation called us directly," Baruthio said. "It was exciting and an honor." The James Beard House invites chefs from all over the world to host over 200 dinners per year.

Baruthio, 42, plans to create a menu of classical good food with a seasonal twist using French technique. And people can watch and listen as the action unfolds behind the scenes — a live-streamed camera feed will show Baruthio throughout the evening on Thursday, Dec. 14. Footage can be viewed by visiting and will also be available on under the James Beard Foundation account.

After his return from New York City, Baruthio will re-create the dinner at Baru 66 from Dec. 19-23. It will include all five courses Baruthio prepared for the James Beard House for $99 per person ($175 with champagne pairing).

This isn't the first time Baruthio has been selected by the James Beard Foundation. In 2011, Baru 66 was named a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant USA and in 2013 Baruthio was named semifinalist for Best Chef Midwest.

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"A lot of people see James Beard as a personal and prestigious thing for themselves, but what is important to say is that there is a great cause attached to it," Baruthio said. "It's not about the fame and all of that. We're raising money to help people get an education." 

The event is a benefit for the James Beard Foundation and chosen chefs donate their time and talent for the education of future chefs through scholarships, workshops and seminars.

Baruthio's flagship restaurant, Baru 66 opened in 2010. His imaginative dishes using well-honed French technique earned him the James Beard Foundation nomination for Best Chef Midwest in 2011. By the time he's age 45, he wants to focus his efforts on earning Baru 66 a coveted Michelin star.

In February, Baruthio opened Saison Kitchen and Pub across the street with business partner, Mike Crownover. Saison's more relaxed and casual menu and atmosphere have become an unexpected surprise in this Windsor Heights neighborhood. One month later, he became U.S. brand ambassador of Champagne Lecomte Père & Fils in France near Épernay.

This March, Baruthio will travel to Macao — a resort city in southern China — to accept the title of Master Chef from the Association des Maîtres Cuisiniers de France, an organization that upholds the tradition of French cuisine. Only French-born chefs can join this elite group. He was nominated to the group by his mentor, Michelin-starred master chef, Hubert Maetz. Baruthio trained under Maetz in his hometown of Strasbourg, France.

Leading up to this event, a book will be released about Baruthio's life. "It will be a journal about life, friends and travel," Baruthio said. More details about the book will be released in the new year.

Baruthio's first restaurant, Eprave Belgium — Auberge de Vieux Moulin in Ardennes, Belgium, won a Bib Gourmand, which Michelin gives to more casual restaurants. At that time, Baruthio was the youngest chef to be awarded the honor in Belgium.

Before moving to Des Moines, Baruthio traveled the world to cook and open restaurants in Switzerland, Nepal, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Martinique, Mongolia and Los Angeles, where he worked at Raffles L'Hermitage in Beverly Hills, now the Viceroy L'Hermitage.

Baru 66

Location: 6587 University Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 277-6627;; Facebook; Twitter; Instagram

Saison Kitchen + Pub

Location: 6611 University Ave., #100, Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Contact: (515) 279-0114;; Facebook; Instagram

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