It looks like the Slow Food movement is growing pretty fast. Witness the vigorous interest shown in the local chapter's upcoming dinner at Rigsby's - by the time you read this, the $65, five-course wine meal likely will be sold out.

It looks like the Slow Food movement is growing pretty fast. Witness the vigorous interest shown in the local chapter's upcoming dinner at Rigsby's - by the time you read this, the $65, five-course wine meal likely will be sold out.

The roots of the international Slow Food movement grew in Italy with a single citizen's rebuke of the proliferation of fast-food restaurants in the eternal city of Rome. But what began as an Italian's disgust at the prospect of a Roman McDonald's has turned into a multinational stand against all those bad-for-you, bad-for-the-planet fast foods.

Last year Alice Waters - our country's real pioneer in eating European-style (seasonally and locally) - led the largest Slow Food gathering in the States so far when a group of reportedly 50,000 clean-and-fair-food true believers met in San Francisco.

Among that swarm was Columbus' own Colleen Braumoeller. Braumoeller is a Boston transplant and food enthusiast who currently works at the North Market's Greener Grocer vegetable stand.

Shortly after moving to Columbus last year, Braumoeller noticed that our town wasn't represented in the Slow Food USA organization and so she decided to start a local branch (called a "convivium") herself. As noted on the Slow Food Columbus website, the convivium's mission is to "bring people together to enjoy the pleasures of the table ... to defend biodiversity in our food supply, spread taste education and connect producers of excellent food."

The still-growing collection of like-minded real-deal diners has conducted several intriguing and green-leaning events, like locavore farm dinners and an inspired Ohio vs. Michigan state-made wine taste-off held during the week of the big game.

Monday's Sardinian-focused dinner at Rigsby's celebrates the ever-busier local convivium's one-year anniversary, as well as the movement's Italian origin (see box for the great-looking menu).

To join Slow Food Columbus, click to slowfoodusa.org; for info about the local chapter, click to slowfoodcolumbus.org.

Q&A with Colleen Braumoeller

What gave you the idea to start the Columbus Slow Food Convivium?

It crossed my mind when we came here from Boston for a few visits when my husband was considering taking a job here. I was so impressed by the food, wine and spirits on offer; I was shocked there wasn't already a convivium.

About how many members are there?

We have about 100 memberships, most of which are couple memberships--and growing. In addition, we have 450 people on our mailing list. There is so much interest here in central Ohio! Thank goodness, membership is handled at the national level!

How was Rigsby's chosen to host the anniversary dinner?

Kent & Tasi are members, came to our "Shake the Hand That Feeds You" locavore dinner at Flying J Farm last September, we loved having them and they loved being there. After that, Kent contacted me, said he'd like to host a dinner in honor of Slow Food. Rigsby's cuisine has been inspired by the same things that drive us at Slow Food -- he said to me that Slow Food is what he's done his whole life. So our Anniversary Dinner seemed like the perfect occasion.

Who came up with the menu, Slow Food or Chef Rigsby, or a collaboration?

We cannot take credit for the menu at all.... Kent partnered with the wine maker a bit, so it should be authentic. In fact, the dessert is being handmade by one of the Italian guests. It is a Sardinian specialty called a "seada"-I have no idea what that is, and that's okay. I want to be surprised!

What is the significance of Sardinian food? How does the food at the dinner reflect the movement's ideals?

Frankly, the fact that Kent's cooks Italian cuisine is a happy coincidence due to Slow Food's roots. It was started back in the late eighties by Carlo Petrini, a leftist journalist, along with some friends who were throwing penne pasta in protest at the McDonald's being built at the Spanish steps in Rome. I just love that image of them chanting, "We don't want fast food, we want slow food!" The menu reflects Slow Food's ideals in that there are local products, regional specialties and quality wines along with a Taste Education component as the wine maker will be present. The meal will be shared slowly with like-minded friends, old and new, with much conviviality!