Q&A with Josh House of the Golden Lamb
Amish free-range chicken, rich skillet gravy, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and steamed green beans and carrots.
Photography by Brian Ambs
The Golden Lamb is a restaurant steeped in history and tradition. Since 1803, it has been a gathering place for the community, a place of hospitality, casual sophistication and fine flavors where the past and present vibrantly collide. Executive chef Josh House embraces the Golden Lamb’s history. But he's adding something of his own to the restaurant as well.
LEAD Cincinnati: What's it like working at The Golden Lamb?
Josh House: The Golden Lamb has a long-standing history and tradition – not only in the community, but in the region – and has stood the test of time. It’s a pillar within the community and has been for over 200 years. I want to be a part of such a great tradition, and I think part of my responsibility is to continue the tradition of great food and hospitality. If we do this, we’ll continue to drive the restaurant toward success for years to come.
LC: What are two or three characteristics of the restaurant that would jump out to a customer?
JS: Diners are often surprised that in addition to our traditional offerings, we offer newer, seasonal menu items. Diners are very kind to let us know their service and our hospitality are top notch. Many people come to The Golden Lamb knowing that it’s been around for a long time, but the combination of tradition and modern dining served in a beautiful, historic setting is something you can’t really get anywhere else.
LC: What are the two best-selling menu items?
JS: By far, our best-selling items are two traditional favorites that have been on our menu for generations – our Golden Lamb Fried Chicken and the Free-Range Roasted Turkey Breast.
LC: What are two menu items that best reflect you as a chef?
JS: Our Golden Lamb Fried Chicken is a great reflection of me as a chef because it is a simple, delicious dish that must be executed properly to be exceptional. The New York Style Rueben is another dish I love that uses great ingredients and must be executed properly to create a bite that really stands out.
LC: In what ways do The Golden Lamb’s menu and atmosphere honor its past?
JS: We work hard to honor the traditions that have been created here over the last 200 years, but we also strive to stay current in food and spirit. Our entire culinary and management team is dedicated to finding the best ingredients in this region and using them as inspiration for our menus, and that really gets to the heart of the history of this place. We’ve been a pillar of the community and relying on and supporting our community for over 200 years.
We also work hard to keep ourselves current. The Golden Lamb really has an atmosphere and menu that reflect a casual sophistication. We’ve had generations to cultivate an appreciation for good taste in food and hospitality, and we do it well. We’re dedicated to creating dishes that mix classic techniques and ingredients in fresh, new and delicious ways; hopefully those dishes join the list of classic dishes for generations to come.
LC: Where do your ingredients come from? How much do they influence what you put on the menu?
JS: We source ingredients from all around Warren County and Southwest Ohio. Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana produce some of the greatest ingredients in the whole country and we look to the best ingredients when creating new menu items and improving on what we do daily. A chef is only as good as the ingredients they are committed to using.
LC: If you could cook any dish, what would it be? If you could eat any dish, what would it be?
JS: If I could cook any dish it would be my Great Grandmother's Apple Crisp. It’s one of the strongest food memories I have and something my Mom used to make for us growing up.
To me there is nothing more enjoyable than the perfect cheeseburger with crispy, well-seasoned French fries. It goes back to that idea that things can be simple, but choosing the right ingredients and preparing correctly make all the difference.
LC: What is your favorite bite of food in the city?
JS: Two of my favorite bites are the pulled pork sandwich from Eli's BBQ, followed closely by a burger from Terry's Turf Club.
LC: Where did your passion for food come from? What keeps you passionate after years in the kitchen?
JS: My passion for food comes from working in kitchens since I was young and falling in love with the restaurant business and the sense of family you have with the people you work with day in and day out. I love cooking and leading a team to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Cooking is not only my profession but also my hobby. It is a fascinating business and I spend hours studying and learning more each and every day. No two days are the same and you are only as good as the last meal you cook. Taking beautiful raw ingredients and turning them into something that provides another person satisfaction is very rewarding. Combine cooking great food with exceptional hospitality and you have the opportunity to greatly impact someone's life, even if it is only short-lived, by providing them with an amazing experience. I strive to do each that every day I come to work, and I know the team we have here is committed to doing the same.
I stay passionate because I am a complete food nerd who follows chefs and dining the way I used to follow sports as a child. I look up to and aspire to provide the dining experiences that the great chefs of today and generations past have done and are doing today. I want to be the best chef I can possibly be and anything less than that is unacceptable to me. That doesn't have anything to do with fame or awards but rather an internal push to make myself better every day and go to bed knowing I am a better chef today than I was yesterday. If I continue to do that, I know I will have done my best to become the best chef I can be and when it is all said and done I will be proud of myself.
The Golden Lamb is located at 27 S Broadway Street, Lebanon, OH 45036. You can reach them at 513.932.5065 or visit their website at www.goldenlamb.com.