Foodie: The David Tallent Show

A Bloomington chef of note passes on the importance of slowing down.

Six-time James Beard–nominated chef David Tallent didn’t always think slow was the way to go. “I started cooking because I loved the rush and the push of doing service,” says Tallent. It wasn’t until he attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, that he started to appreciate the parts of cooking that require patience—from classical French techniques to waiting for his favorite ingredients to arrive in season.

While staying at the helm of his flagship Restaurant Tallent (208 N. Walnut St., Bloomington, 812-330-9801,, which celebrates its ninth year this November, Tallent will also act as the consulting executive chef at the new Topo’s 403 (403 N. Walnut St., Bloomington, 812-340-7453,, developing the menu for the first year and overseeing the day-to-day chef. Tallent believes it’s a top toque’s paramount responsibility to pass on his practices, like ordering meat in its most primal state so it yields the best cuts possible. “It doesn’t carry on if we don’t teach it,” he says. 

David Tallent’s Favorite Things

1. The Batali at Goose the Market. “I have one every time I go.”
2. Case pocket knives. “I always have one on me. I learned that from my dad.”
3. Lake Monroe. “We take our golden retrievers, Annabelle and Leo, swimming.”
4. Kentucky bourbon. “Especially Pappy Van Winkle.”


This article appeared in the August 2012 issue.