Ilene Ross of 513{eats} talks good bourbon and good food with Abby Sheaffer

Ilene Ross of 513{eats} talks good bourbon and good food with Abby Sheaffer
(Image credit: Gina Weathersby of Gina Weathersby Photography)

As part of Food & Wine Week on Chicago Literati I took the opportunity to interview the amazing Ilene Ross of 513{eats} magazine. Ross writes, edits and manages 513{eats} with photographer (and good friend) Gina Weathersby and Nora Martini. Each month they collaborate on exquisite issues that showcase unique culinary trends with the help of their friends in the food industry. Read my interview with Ross below to discover what goes into the tantalizing publication that is 513{eats}. Interview after the jump. 

 

Tell our readers a little more about 513{eats} and how it came to be.

  513{eats} began in late 2012 when my good friend Gina Weathersby-at that time a lifestyle photographer-decided to get into the food photography business. Instead of putting together a traditional portfolio to showcase her work she came up with the idea of crafting an online local food magazine. Because of my connections in the food world, she asked me to help produce, write, and edit it, and another friend, Nora Martini to help style it. People had no idea that it wasn’t meant to be a “real” magazine, and well, as the phrase goes, “if you build it, they will come.” So we grew the project beyond the initial issue and it became this local juggernaut. Our mission statement is as follows, “Simply put, 513{eats} is on a passionate journey to share with you the very best of food related goodness, as well as the authentic lifestyles in the food community that exist in and around our region.  Discover individuals who are carving out a thoroughly delectable world for themselves, their families, and the community by following their hearts and taste buds, always with an eye towards environmental awareness. Come along for the ride and see for yourself what deliciousness there is to be had right in your own backyard.” I’m really proud of that.

(Image credit: Gina Weathersby of Gina Weathersby photography)

(Image credit: Gina Weathersby of Gina Weathersby photography)

 513{eats} is incredibly dialed in on new food trends, how do you manage it?

I’m extremely fortunate to have personal relationships with the chefs, farmers, and food producers in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. It’s a small, tight-knit community, and the symbiosis is unbelievable. Many a story idea has materialized during our time socializing together.

 You write now, but you were a chef. What was the best thing about that?

I have a deep-seated need to feed people. Also, I’m an introvert, so I really, really loved hiding in the kitchen. Since I don’t feed people from a kitchen anymore, I feed them stories about food.

(Image credit: Gina Weathersby of Gina Weathersby Photography)

(Image credit: Gina Weathersby of Gina Weathersby Photography)

 If you were any kind of food, what would you be and why?

Well, naturally, the Oscar Meyer Weiner song just popped into my head.

 What was the best meal you’ve ever had in your life and why?

I’ve had many meals, both simple and 5-star that would rank as memorable, most of them due to the company, but hopefully that one true “best” never comes. Life would be over then, right?

 What is your favorite cocktail and what do you think this says about you?

 I’m really into bourbon right now, especially Angel’s Envy, Larceny, or Blanton’s. I like it neat, two fingers, and I’m especially pleased when I’m relaxing at home, sipping it slowly out of one of my 22k gold embellished Georges Briard tumblers from the 60’s. They have to be hand-washed, which is a pain in the ass, but they’re totally worth it. I think it says that I take great pleasure when things are done right. Especially when you’re spending your hard-earned money on some really good bourbon. That said, I also enjoy sitting around a campfire drinking moonshine out of a Mason jar.

(Image credit: Gina Weathersby of Gina Weathersby Photography)

(Image credit: Gina Weathersby of Gina Weathersby Photography)

 Do other forms of art inspire you in the kitchen?

 Almost everything I see inspires me in the kitchen. I’m a visual learner.

 What is your greatest extravagance?

 Food, shoes, travel, and of course, my children. They always come first.

 Describe your favorite bourbon and your memory with that bourbon.

 Right now it’s Angel’s Envy, a Kentucky whiskey by Lincoln Henderson. It’s relatively new to me-I first tried it last year at The Bourbon Classic in Louisville, Kentucky-so I don’t really have any memories associated with it, but I am looking forward to making some.

 What can we look forward to in 513{eats} this month?

This month we’re featuring Deeper Roots, a local coffee crafter with a mission to improve the communities of small coffee farmers.

 

 

(Image credit Gina Weathersby of Gina Weathersby Photography)

(Image credit Gina Weathersby of Gina Weathersby Photography)

A little more about Ilene Ross... 

Ilene Ross has lived all over the world educating people on cooking and eating well. As a Cincinnati, Ohio based food writer, chef, and caterer, Ilene is passionate about feeding people beautifully crafted and delicious food, and has been featured on local television sharing this love with others. She is the editor of the online magazine, 513{eats} as well as a contributing writer for Cincinnati CityBeat. Ilene lives in the North Avondale neighborhood with her son Carter. Her daughter Cameron lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

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