Huge congratulations to chefs GERARD CRAFT and KEVIN NASHAN, who have both been chosen as finalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Midwest. Craft and Nashan, along with KEVIN WILLMANN of Farmhaus, BEN POREMBA of Elaia & Olio and JOSH GALLIANO of The Libertine were all named semifinalists for the award last month. Winners will be revealed at a gala in NYC in May. We'd like to thank all of the folks who represented St. Louis this year--well done!
There’s no question LN readers are in-the-know, so who better to ask about the things that make St. Louis stand out and stand proud? Here, we present the very best, as selected by our readers, in the 2014 Ladue News Platinum List!
It's time once again for the James Beard Foundation Awards. The annual ‘Oscars’ of the culinary world recently announced its list of semi-finalists, and St. Louis is represented in a big way. Chefs GERARD CRAFT (Niche); KEVIN WILLMANN (Farmhaus); KEVIN NASHAN (Sidney Street Cafe); JOSH GALLIANO (The Libertine); and BEN POREMBA (Elaia) all are in the running for the title of Best Chef: Midwest. Chef RICK LEWIS of Quincy Street Bistro has been tapped as a contender for Rising Star Chef of the Year, and Taste in the CWE has been nominated for Outstanding Bar Program. Finalists for the awards will be announced on March 18, in Chicago, and the winners will be revealed in NYC in May. Congrats to all, good luck and thanks for representing St. Louis' culinary scene so well!
Congratulations to the folks at Sidney Street Cafe, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this month. To commemorate the milestone, chef KEVIN NASHAN and his kitchen staff will be partnering with 10 chefs from St. Louis and beyond for a one-of-a-kind dining experience early next year. The roster of chefs is a veritable culinary who's who, and includes GERARD CRAFT of Niche Restaurant Group, KEVIN WILLMANN of Farmhaus and JOSH GALLIANO of The Libertine. The event will be held at Sidney Street Cafe on Jan. 20, with passed apps and cocktails being served beginning at 6:30 p.m. and dinner kicking off at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $195 per person. For the full chef roster and to purchase tickets, go online at brownpapertickets.com.
Another production year in the fields is winding down at Claverach Farm, but there’s a lot to look forward to in 2014 and beyond. For many years, Claverach Farm has had a presence at area farmers markets and as a produce supplier to a few of St. Louis’ popular restaurants, including Sidney Street Cafe, Stellina, Oceano Bistro and Farmhaus, just to name a few. But in more recent years, operations on the Eureka farm have grown and expanded, with great promise for the future.
On July 15, chef KEVIN NASHAN will be hosting a benefit dinner at his Sidney Street Cafe to benefit Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign, a national initiative to end childhood hunger. The dinner will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. and features an impressive line-up of local and regional chefs, including GERARD CRAFT of Craft Restaurants Ltd.; KEVIN WILLMANN of Farmhaus; Top Chef winner STEPHANIE IZARD of Chicago's Girl & Goat; JASON VINCENT of Nightwood in Chicago; and MICHAEL PALEY from Metropole in Cincinnati. Tickets are $150 and are available online at ce.strength.org.
St. Louis restaurants were well represented on the Opinionated About Dining's Top 25 Midwest Restaurants list that was recently released. Niche took the No. 2 slot; Sidney Street Cafe was No. 8; Stone Soup Cottage was No. 11; Brasserie by Niche came in at No. 12; Farmhaus garnered No. 13; and Tony's landed at No. 20; and Harvest rounded out the list at 22. Well done!
St. Louis' food culture will be recognized on the national stage this summer, thanks to Cochon 555, a premier culinary event that will bring together some of the area's very best chefs to see just what they can create with the pig.
ANDREW JANSEN/ JOURNAL The Scotch Egg at Farmhaus is made with farm fresh eggs, and a made in-house chorizo sausage sitting on a lime crema with house made cr?me fraiche. The grilled tomatillo sauce is made with local tomatillos.
Restaurateur FRANK SCHMITZ, of BARcelona, Bocci Bar and Coastal Bistro & Bar fame, is set to open a new garden cafe in Clayton’s Shaw Park this summer. The concept is still being developed, but we’ve been told by Clayton city officials that the cafe will hopefully be open in mid-June and will be located outside in the Century Garden area of the park, with seating for approximately 40. No word yet on specific menu items, but we’ll keep you posted.
Market Grill in Soulard, which retooled last year and brought chef JONATHAN OLSON on to helm the kitchen, will be closing its doors effective Saturday, June 9. Olson tells us the restaurant just wasn’t able to make things work financially. He says he’ll be taking some time off this summer, then start contemplating his next move. We wish him and the rest of the staff all the best.
Perennial Artisan Ales has created Brew for the Crew, a Munich lager brewed exclusively for Farmhaus Restaurant. To celebrate the release of the beer, the brewery and the eatery are teaming up to celebrate with the Brew For The Crew BBQ. The event will be held at the brewery, 8125 Michigan Ave., on June 9, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., with the BBQ courtesy of Farmhaus. There’s no cost to get in, and food and beer will be available for purchase.
Turkish restaurant Aya Sofia will be hosting a wine dinner, featuring five courses from chef MEHMET YIDIZ paired with wines courtesy of sommelier JILL ABOUSSIE of Trademark Wines. The dinner will be held on Wednesday, June 13, at 6:30 pm. Call 645-9919 for reservations.
The historic Soulard Farmers Market will be holding a series of cooking tutorials this summer, dubbed Food 101: The New Chef Demonstration Series. These free classes will be held on select Saturdays through June from 10 a.m. until noon and will feature technique demos and recipes. More info at soulardmarketstl.com.
Mount Pleasant Estates will be hosting its second Uncorked...From The Barrel To The Bottle class on Saturday, July 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. Guests will get to taste the same young wines out of French oak barrels that the Mount Pleasant team tastes before bottling, as well as sample gourmet hors d’oeuvres. The tasting is limited to 20 guests. More info is available at mountpleasant.com.
Congratulations to TJ VYTLACIL of Blood & Sand, TED KILGORE of Taste and JOEL CLARK of Sanctuaria. All three eminent St. Louis mixologists will have original cocktail recipes featured in Gaz Regan’s 101 Best Cocktails 2012, to be released later this year.
There have been some changes afoot at Bixby’s of late. Executive chef TODD LOUGH has left the restaurant to accept a position at a resort in Florida, and sous chef CALLAGHAN CARTER, who has been at Bixby’s since it opened, has stepped in to helm the kitchen. The restaurant also recently debuted its new spring menu, which includes dishes such as seared beef tenderloin, grilled shrimp lasagna and black forest ham and asparagus crostini.
Oenophiles have another first-class place to pursue their love of the grape. The upper level of The Crossing in Clayton has been transformed into a wine bar. Owner JIM FIALA says the new space will focus for now on Mediterranean reds and Italian whites, as well as small plates and other adult beverages.
Online restaurant site Opinionated About Dining (opinionatedaboutdining.com) featured six St. Louis restaurants in its Top 25 Midwest list recently: Niche, Sidney Street Cafe, Brasserie by Niche, Tony’s, Taste by Niche and Farmhaus. Congrats!
Local purveyors Stringbean Coffee and Kakao Chocolate are teaming up to create some new chocolate and coffee confections. We’re told one of these will be a white chocolate bark topped with Stringbean’s Redeye Roast beans. The treats will be available at Kakao, which will also be offering bags of the premium coffee soon. The Maplewood Kakao location will be offering Stringbean Coffee for samples during the third annual Maplewood Coffee Crawl tomorrow from 9 a.m. to noon.
Jilly’s Cupcakes was recently touted in USA Today as one of the 10 best places for cupcakes in the country. Well done!
GEORGE RANDALL, owner of the three Randall’s Wine & Spirits stores in the St. Louis area, is planning to open store No. 4 in West County sometime this year. He’s currently negotiating for a location at 141 and Manchester Road, and tells us he has several other possibilities in the area if this space doesn’t work out. Plans for the new store include a tasting bar, among other amenities.
In other local spirits news, Square One Brewery & Distillery’s J.J. Neukomm Malt Whiskey recently won a bronze medal in the Smoked Whiskey category at the American Distilling Institute’s Judging of American Artisan Spirits. And MATT SEITER, bar manager at Sanctuaria, has been invited to share his expertise in the area of cocktails on tap by leading a seminar on the subject at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail held in New Orleans, one of the premiere cocktail events of the year.
ERIC SCHLOSSER, author of the bestselling tome, Fast Food Nation, will be the guest of honor at an April 24 dinner held at Farmhaus. The five-course meal will be created by chef JOSH GALLIANO, of the recently shuttered Monarch. Proceeds from the event will benefit Slow Food St. Louis’ Small Farm Micro Biodiversity Grant, and reservations are limited to 45 guests. For tickets, go to brownpapertickets.com/event/235999.
Five Star Burgers, the latest project from chef STEVE GONTRAM, will be opening this summer at 8125 Maryland Ave. in Clayton, in the same strip that includes Almond’s and Half and Half. Look for a menu chock-full of beef burgers, with turkey, lamb, bison and veggie versions as well. Gontram tells us all of his products will be all-natural and hormone-free. If all goes according to plan, the eatery should be open by July 4.
Chef BRIAN HALE, late of the Chase Park Plaza, is the new director of culinary operations for Coastal Bistro & Bar, Bocci Bar and BARcelona Tapas, the trio of Clayton restaurants owned by the brother-and-sister team of FRANK SCHMITZ and ELISE SCHMITZ.
Chef CARL HAZEL is leaving his longtime post running the kitchen at The Scottish Arms in the CWE and will be assuming the role of executive chef at Eleven Eleven Mississippi in Lafayette Square early next month.
We’ve been told that chef GRACE DINSMOOR, who recently left Modesto, is now working in the kitchen at Franco in Soulard.
Congratulations to chef GERARD CRAFT of Niche, who has made the cut to become a finalist for the James Beard Awards Best Chef: Midwest. This year’s winners will be announced Monday, May 7. Good luck Chef!
In other culinary award news, ANDREY IVANOV of 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar recently won the TopNewSomm Midwest regional finals sponsored by the Guild of Sommeliers. He’ll compete for the national title in San Fransisco in May. Congrats!
More Easter brunch offerings to report: The Coronado Ballroom at 3701 Lindell Blvd. will be serving a menu that includes more than 100 selections, including a children’s buffet. The brunch will run from 10 a.m until 3 p.m with seatings every half-hour. Call 367-4848 ext. 100 for reservations. The Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis is taking a creative twist on tradition with a Willy Wonka Easter Brunch. Each party will receive a Wonka Bar, and five of those bars will contain a golden ticket, good for one of five prizes, including the grand prize: an overnight stay in one of The Ritz’s club suites. The brunch will take place from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 719-1433 for reservations.
Once again, St. Louis has been recognized nationally for its culinary prowess. Chefs KEVIN NASHAN of Sidney Street Cafe; GERARD CRAFT of Niche; KEVIN WILLMANN of Farmhaus and JOSH GALLIANO of Monarch all have been named semi-finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category of the 2012 James Beard Awards. And chef WES JOHNSON’s Salt in the CWE, which opened just last spring, is a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant. Good luck to all!
◆ Chef BRIAN HARDESTY, who took over the kitchen at Nosh a few
weeks ago, has announced he’s dropping the Nosh name in favor of
Root. The name is reflective of the new culinary direction Hardesty
is pursuing: original takes on classic American cuisine that span
the years from the founding of the country until roughly the Great
Depression era. Hardesty says to expect lots of game, roasted meat
and whole fish preparations. The restaurant (co-located with
Starr’s in Richmond Heights) is closed during the transformation,
and is scheduled to open for business on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
◆Chef JOHN GRIFFITHS of Truffles is bringing together a
veritable who’s-who of local culinary talent for a great cause.
Just Like Mom Used To Make will be held Nov. 2 at Truffles, and
feature GERARD CRAFT and ADAM ALTNETHER of Taste By Niche; JOSH
GALLIANO of Monarch; WES JOHNSON of Salt; BEN POREMBA of Salume
Beddu; and KEVIN WILLMANN of Farmhaus. The chefs will be creating a
six-course meal of foods inspired by their childhoods, paired with
wines by Truffles’ wine director ALEKSANDER JOVANOVIC. Proceeds
benefit the ALS Association and Hope Happens. For more info, or to
purchase tickets, call 567-9100.
◆Following up on the recent release of their new cookbook, Stone
Soup Cottage: A Vignette of Seasonal Recipes, CARL and NANCY
MCCONNELL will be hosting a series of cooking classes at their
Cottleville, Mo., eatery of the same name. The classes will be held
weekly during November and December, and focus on demonstrating a
three-course tasting menu and wine pairing. The cost is $45 per
person and class size is limited to 20, and like the cookbook, some
of the proceeds from the classes will go to the Boys and Girls
Clubs of St. Charles County. View the full class schedule at
>STEVEN CARAVELLI, executive chef at Araka in Clayton,
has moved on. According to Caravelli, the split was a friendly one,
and he’s currently searching for his next kitchen gig. Sous chef
MICHAEL BURNAU has stepped up to helm the Araka
big congratulations to Niche general
manager BRYAN LIPA, who has accepted a position as
captain at chef Thomas Keller’s world-famous French Laundry in
Yountville, Calif. Lipa, who has been at Niche since 2009, says
experiencing boss GERARD CRAFT’s focus on cuisine
and hospitality has been invaluable. “If it wasn’t for Gerard, this
opportunity wouldn’t have been possible,” Lipa says. He’ll remain
at Niche until May.