Izzy and Mark chat with Chef and Proprietor Anne Kearney of Bar Dumaine. We chat about how she began her career and became an award winning chef.

“Food of Love,” Chef Anne Kearney’s motto, says it all, keeping the chef and her staff ever

mindful of their mission to create culinary excellence in every dish that is placed before a


For Chef Kearney, the words are close to her heart. Her passion for culinary perfection and the

“sense of place” she feels in the kitchen, will always be the cornerstones of her dedication to

her chosen career.

After graduating from Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio, Kearney followed her dream,

entering the Greater Cincinnati Culinary Art Academy. After finishing her studies in 1988,

Anne worked in Cincinnati for Jim Tarbell at Grammer’s. Kearney then went on to New

Orleans to work under the late chef John Neal at the acclaimed Bistro at the Maison de Ville

Hotel. When Chef Neal left to open Peristyle in late 1991, he took Kearney along as his Sous

Chef. Kearney credits Neal for her tutelage in classic French cooking techniques, but also for

perfecting her own palate and prompting her discovery of new tastes and the depths of flavor.

“His passion for his work was so real, it was almost tangible,” says Kearney. “I will always hold

with me the image of John hovering over a tiny pot that held what would become a perfect

pink pea risotto. He would stir and taste, stir and taste until it was absolutely perfect.”

In 1992, Kearney took leave of Peristyle for a three-year tenure with superstar chef Emeril

Lagasse. Kearney spent most of the first two years sweating it out on the Emeril’s restaurant

cook line, working at the frenetic pace only an institution of that caliber could command. Then

she moved behind the scenes to advance her restaurant knowledge, researching and

formulating recipes for Lagasse’s television program Essence of Emeril, in addition to

developing and testing recipes for his cookbook “Louisiana: Real and Rustic.” However, her

passion for hands-on food preparation remained, and she sought an opportunity to return to

work in the kitchen.

“My favorite station was the food bar,” Kearney recalls. “There I understood who I was cooking

for.  I stood directly in front of the guests while preparing their meals. It really put me in touch

with guest orientation and that aspect of the business.”

Kearney is also mindful of the “front of the house” lessons she gleaned from Lagasse: “Chef

Emeril is a consummate businessman who not only offered me challenging opportunities as a

cook, but also introduced me to a whole new perspective of the restaurant industry beyond


Kearney purchased Peristyle shortly after the April 1995 death of John Neal. Though she made

the menu her own immediately upon taking over the helm, she remains ever mindful of

incorporating Chef Neal’s legacies whenever possible: from cuisine (“Respect for the food and

proper preparation from start to finish was expected. Nothing marginal was accepted.”) to the

dining experience itself (“We seated 62 people by design. It was our intent to create an

intimate dining experience. This is important to the staff and even more important to our

guests. I was able to experiment with recipes, work with the cooks on the line, and visit the


Kearney is one of five chefs honored in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 with a James Beard

Foundation “Southeast Regional Best Chef” nomination. Chef Kearney was awarded the title of

“Best Chef Southeast” in 2002.

In 1998, Kearney married Thomas Sand, Jr. He became not only her life partner but her

business partner as well. Together they share a vision for the future that guides them through

the day-to- day decisions they make. “We enjoy what we are doing,” Kearney remarks. “As a

child, my father encouraged me to follow my heart when it came to choosing a career. It was

wise counsel.”

Kearney discovered her interest in food through her family while growing up in Dayton.

Kearney’s mother always had a garden and cooked what it provided. Her grandfather owned a

lodge and would entertain a different cabin each night with one of his special meals—while

Anne watched, helped where she could, and absorbed it all.

In 2004, with Anne’s father suffering from Alzheimer’s, the couple returned to Dayton to be

near both of their families. Moving “down the food chain” a bit, they established Two Small

Tomatoes, an all-natural garden on the Kearney family farm. Here they explored the whole

cycle of “seed to harvest.” Beginning with tomatoes, the plan was to provide the freshest

produce available for their next restaurant.

The new restaurant she and Tom envisioned was born as Rue Dumaine in 2007. Located in the

South Dayton suburb of Washington Township, Rue Dumaine offers an unforgettable

experience in casual fine dining. The ambiance includes subtle southern accents brought up

from New Orleans, such as wrought iron railings and ceiling fans over the patio. They have

developed a local following and instituted special events for their most loyal diners. Years of

studies, cooking on the line, assisting stellar chefs, and Anne’s private trials, have matured

Chef Anne’s cuisine into an Americanized version of classically-styled French Provençal fare.

Ultimately, however, wherever she is cooking, the cuisine reflects her motto: “Food of Love.”

In early 2017 we flipped the restaurant to a more casual, “Come as you are” restaurant, BAR

DUMAINE. Great food- French-influenced American fare ~ the good stuff done right, good

music, 12 drafts, 2 wines, countless cocktails. 7 days a week opening at 11am. Offering you

daily take-out menu, Tuesday wine tastings, Wednesday Taste of Louisiana specails, Thursday

B.Y.O.V ~ Bring Your Own Vinyl, Sunday Brunch offerings that will have you coming back for


Many of Anne’s awards and accomplishments are below. Thanks you for your interest.


James Beard – Rising Star Chef, Peristyle, New Orleans, Nominee, 1997

Food & Wine Magazine – Best New Chefs, 1998

Wine Spectator Magazine – Rising Stars, March 1998

James Beard – Best Chef: South, Peristyle, New Orleans, Nominee, 1999

James Beard – Best Chef: South, Peristyle, New Orleans, Nominee, 2000

James Beard – Best Chef: South, Peristyle, New Orleans, WINNER, 2002

James Beard – Best New Restaurant: Great Lakes, Rue Dumaine, Dayton,

Semi-finalist, 2008

James Beard – Best Chef: Great Lakes, Anne Kearney, Rue Dumaine, Dayton,

Nominee, 2012

James Beard – Best Chef: Great Lakes, Anne Kearney, Rue Dumaine, Dayton,

Semi-finalist, 2013

James Beard – Best Chef: Great Lakes, Anne Kearney, Rue Dumaine, Dayton,

Semi-finalist, 2014

James Beard – Best Chef: Great Lakes, Anne Kearney, Rue Dumaine, Dayton,

Semi-finalist, 2015