by Rob Gaston, March 10th, 2016
Under the name of their Franklin restaurant Indigo Duck, Karen and her husband Joseph Hewett were one of the first participants to sign on wholeheartedly for the Taste of Indiana. In fact, Chef Joseph was also one of the early board members until his passing, at which time Karen stepped in to assume his role. Ever since Rook opened in its brand new shiny space, you’ll find Karen’s smiling face as general manager supporting Chef Carlos Salazar and his staff.
Q: When did your passion for local foods begin?
A: When I was 5 and living on a family farm, I would go and eat blueberries fresh off the bush to my hearts content. My mom had a huge garden and I got to help with weeding, harvesting, and canning.
Q: You have been both a vendor and a board member with Dig IN, What don’t most people know about the Taste of Indiana event?
A: How much effort goes into making it look effortless. On the vendor side it is a couple long weeks of planning, lots of prep and little to no sleep the night before. On the board side it is a constant focus on the details of the event as well as education and promotion of local foods all year long, not just that one day.
Q: What have you seen change since your time with Dig IN?
A: Coming from Charleston, SC-which has a huge food scene-Indiana was definitely a little behind when I moved here 9 years ago. Now I feel like Charleston needs to watch out because Indianapolis and our state are catching up in big ways! I love that people are focusing on smaller restaurants that are putting out such a wide variety of cuisine, and not just a generic menu to please all people.
Q: What is the best thing you’ve tasted here in Indiana? The first thing that comes to mind is a leg of lamb from Viking Lamb. I don’t think I had honestly tried lamb before that and it was so tender and flavorful that I didn’t even think about the animal I was eating.