"Damn the economy and full speed ahead" seems to be the motto of the fleet of ships that is the Columbus restaurant scene. Because while a few eateries have run aground in these choppy economic waters, there's still no apparent shortage of new and interesting restaurant launches.

"Damn the economy and full speed ahead" seems to be the motto of the fleet of ships that is the Columbus restaurant scene. Because while a few eateries have run aground in these choppy economic waters, there's still no apparent shortage of new and interesting restaurant launches.

And yet most of our established luxury cruisers have managed to stay afloat too. I think this is a strong testament to the strength of cooking done by the innovative and classically trained chefs in our restaurant-rich city.

To get to know some of them better, I recently contacted six cuisine captains from a few of our top establishments and asked them to answer four specific questions plus their choices from a pool of others.

As expected, the answers I got back made for good reading. For example, though the chefs have diverse backgrounds and navigate quite different restaurants, five out of six mentioned morel mushrooms when listing their celebratory springtime foods. And when asked what ingredient they could not do without, three said butter, two mentioned garlic and one enthusiastically exclaimed "bacon!" After scanning those answers, I knew I'd picked a good group.