Glass is a versatile building material that provides many aesthetic options, enhanced security and excellent performance. Glass can also cook food, as Gathered Glassblowing Studio, a Toledo, Ohio-based custom glass art shop, revealed during an eight-course fundraiser dinner at the Brim House, located in the Renaissance Toledo Downtown Hotel.
Kyle Sword of NSG Pilkington attended the event and said the meal was cooked entirely with glass and glass-blowing equipment. Eight chefs prepared, cooked and served the meals for up to 30 people.
The unique experience included flatbread baked in an annealing oven, oysters Rockefeller cooled with a glass orb and torch, heirloom carrots cooked in a glass ladle, tuna seared and fired with glass, lamb chops with chimichurri sauce fired by glass, seared pork belly heated under a hot glass bowl, tomahawk steak and volcano fired chocolate ganache lava cake warmed under a glass bowl.
Adam Goldberg of Gathered Glassblowing Studio says most of the meats were sous vide before the dinner. This was done to ensure they were cooked properly beforehand. He adds the glass was used as a finisher to add a nice char and smokiness.
“Cooking with glass has always been fun for glass blowers,” says Goldberg. “There’s nothing novel about the idea. It’s just always fun pouring glass on the table to heat a kettle for coffee or throwing popcorn kernels in a glass bubble to pop the corn.”
Goldberg says the glass-cooked dinner premise started around four years ago when the Renaissance opened. The hotel wanted to stage a glass-themed celebration to commemorate the opening, as Toledo is considered the glass capital of the world.
Gathered officials thought bringing a glass-blowing studio to the rooftop and cooking dinner would be a novel idea. Hotel officials loved it.
“The idea is like dinner and a show,” says Goldberg. “However, I say that dinner is the show. It was a real hit.”
The idea gathered steam throughout the Toledo community. As such, Goldberg and his companions at Gathered have hosted the glass-cooked dinner several times throughout the years.
Goldberg says he considers the most recent dinner to be the most successful. The food was classy, he says, and the glass only added to the event’s excitement.
“Guests are practically in the kitchen,” he says. “All the smoke, the smells and everything. The people at the event are all feeling like part of the game. It’s a special moment.”
Goldberg adds the dinner is one of the best ways for the glassblowing studio to interact with the community.
“It’s nice as artists for us to come up with new and creative ways to cook food that are fun to watch,” he says. “It’s engaging for us, too.”