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How to Meet a Culinary Rock Star

I recently met Jose Salazar for the first time. If Cincinnati had a Mount Rushmore of Famous Chefs, Jose would be included. Since arriving in Cincinnati in 2008 to take the executive chef job at The Palace, he has become a bit of a celebrity and now owns his own restaurant called Salazar OTR.


I met Jose through Kelly Trush, the newest addition to the Cincinnati Food Tours team. Kelly co-owns Cooking with Caitlin and is a bit of a rock star herself in the culinary circles of Cincinnati. She shares my passion for food and adventure and jumped at the chance to host some Over-the-Rhine walking tours. I was tagging along with Kelly as she led a recent Taste the World in OTR tour and was fortunate to meet Jose through the eyes of a tour participant.

Jose was so welcoming! We felt as if we were dropping by his home for a bite to eat. The little fried oyster sandwich with kimchi, radish sprouts, and garlic mayo was amazing! Sitting at the bar and interacting with Jose and his staff made the experience all that much better. After just a few minutes, we all felt like friends. You’ve heard of six degrees of separation, the theory that everyone is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. I’m convinced that in Cincinnati it’s more like two or three degrees of separation—plus one delicious bite of something good to eat!

Updated Feb., 2022: Since we met, Jose Salazar has gone on to open two more Cincinnati restaurants—Mita’s in 2015 and Goose and Elder in 2019. Kelly Trush co-owns Station Family + BBQ in the Wyoming neighborhood where she leads our Wyoming Walk: Food + History Tour.

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