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Salty. Crispy. Smoked. Sweet. Do you know where this is going? If you thought bacon, then you would be correct. And that’s what it’s all about at Naked Bacon, a local company that recently has been re-thought of by founder/CEO John Kreilich. “I started the business three years ago as Kreilich Farm, but we rebranded in June in time to launch at Zoofari (at the Saint Louis Zoo),” Kreilich notes. “The recipes that we use go back to my great-grandfather August, who in 1861 lived on a large amount of land in Ste. Genevieve, Mo., and would smoke all their own meats.”
Collaborators Derrick Langeneckert of Alpha Brewing Company, Peter Cohen of Stringbean Coffee and Brian Pelletier of Kakao Chocolate
Stringbean Coffee collaborated with Alpha Brewing Company to create an exclusive ale and Kakao Chocolate to make multiple tasty treats.
The small Fenton-based Stringbean Coffee and the cow-to-cup Windcrest Dairy in Trenton, Ill., are among many local companies turning to collaboration for inspiration, promotion and expansion.
Women’s Philanthropy of Jewish Federation of St. Louis will be hosting a Farm-to-Table Shabbat Dinner on Friday, July 12, at 7 p.m. at Claverach Farm in Eureka. The charge for the dinner is $20 per person. Register by July 11 at jewishinstlouis.org/WomensPhilanthropy. For more information, contact Jessica Litwack at 442-3806 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Women's Philanthropy provides an opportunity for every woman to affirm her Jewish identity, connect with and inspire others to establish themselves as full partners in the local Jewish community.
Many recall the childhood verse, I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Originating from a 1920s song of the same title recorded by a band called Waring’s Pennsylvanians, it certainly has inspired children and adults alike to indulge in the cool, delicious treat.
Brian Pelletier claims he has “the best job in the world,” and few would dispute that. He is the owner, founder and chief chocolatier of Kakao Chocolate. To quote Ira Gershwin, it’s nice work if you can get it—and Pelletier has got it! But working with chocolate wasn’t always his profession. “I was in marketing, communications and public relations—I was a senior VP at Fleishman-Hilllard,” Pelletier recalls. “And as I was approaching the 20-year mark, I was feeling the need to do something dramatically different. I knew that I wanted my own business, and that I wanted to physically make something with my hands. I also wanted to do something with food because I loved to cook, so I opened myself up to the universe to see what would happen.”
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and what better way to revel in the holiday that celebrates love than with the ultimate romantic food and wine pairing: wine and chocolate?
Imagine you’ve reached a career rut—maybe you want to leave it all behind and dive into entrepreneurship, return to school or finally write that book you’re always talking about.
The Art of Chocolate and Wine Robust Wine Bar By Bryan Schraier Guests at The Art of Chocolate and Wine had a delicious time nibbling on samples from local chocolatiers and sipping a variety of wines. The staff at Robust Wine Bar helped guests to pair the chocolates with wines from the portfolios of A. Bommarito Wines, Major Brands, Classique Wines and Chaumette Winery. Among chocolatiers presenting were The Chocolate Affair, Little Dipper Chocolate, Mom’s Originals, Bissinger’s, Kakao Chocolate, Oh Sheila! Chocolates, Café Ciccolato, Companion Bakery and Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Co. A portion of the proceeds went to College Bound St. Louis, to help provide at-risk students with the support they need to succeed in four-year colleges.
Brian Pelletier from Kakao Chocolate
> 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 kitchen.
> PW Pizza, at 2017 Choteau Ave., the latest addition to the stable of PAUL and WENDY HAMILTON (Eleven Eleven Mississippi, Vin De Set, Malt House Cellar and Moulin Events), is now open. The pizzas feature three different crust options, including a gluten-free version. Also, VITO RACANELLI’S Mad Tomato opened officially at 8000 Carondelet Ave. in Clayton, and the new Stadium Bar & Grill opened May 9 at Lumiere Place Casino.
> WES JOHNSON, chef de cuisine at Eclipse Restaurant in the Moonrise Hotel, will be opening a place of his own this spring. Called Salt, the new venture will be at 4356 Lindell Blvd. in the former home of Savor. Look for in-house charcuterie (hence the Salt title) as well as other unique takes on contemporary American cuisine. Eclipse fans, don’t despair: Johnson tells us he’ll be splitting his time between the two restaurants. And apparently not sleeping much!
> MARC DEL PIETRO, chef/owner of Luciano’s Trattoria in Clayton, is bowing a new venture called The Block at 146 W. Lockwood Ave. in Webster Groves. The 2,500 square feet of space will house a butcher shop, restaurant and bar and will have about 75 seats. All of the restaurant’s meat will be butchered and aged in-house. Del Pietro says the name is a play on ‘butcher’s block,’ as well as a reference to being part of the community ‘on the block.’ Look for a February opening.
> It’s been a little more than a month since STEVEN CARAVELLI took over as executive chef at Araka, and he has wasted no time in putting his touch on the bill of fare. In addition to a four-course veggie tasting menu, Caravelli has also developed a five-course chef tasting menu, among other tweaks and changes. Check out the complete new menu at araka.com.
> After three long weeks of renovation, Stellina Pasta Cafe is finally open for business! The restaurant now has about twice as many seats as before. “We were busier than we could possibly be opening night,” says owner JAMEY TOCHTROP. Benton Park’s Sydney Street Cafe also re-opened April 6, after being closed for a week of work that included a kitchen expansion. During the hiatus, chef/owner KEVIN NASHAN and his crew, with some help from neighborhood folks, built a series of raised-bed gardens around the parking lot to supply the restaurant with everything from carrots to herbs.
• Sweet Summer 2009! The St. Louis area has three new treat shops coming our way. First to open is the Kakao Chocolate store, at Shenandoah and Jefferson. Chocolatier BRIAN PELLETIER has scheduled a grand opening for Saturday May 30. SUZY REIS plans a June opening for her third Gelato Di Riso; it’ll be on The Hill at Marconi and Wilson. And in historic Kimmswick, MARY HOSTETTER’s dream project is coming together. She and her daughter, KIM WARNER, are working on candy recipes and sundae creations for Mary’s Sweet Shoppe while renovation of the building next door to The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery proceeds. The tin ceiling was just installed, so Hostetter hopes to open in early June.
Do you know where the tomatoes on your sandwich came from? What about the wheat in the bread? If you’re a ‘locavore,’ chances are you do. The locavore movement, comprised of people who try to buy food from sources as geographically close as possible, has been growing over the past few years. St. Louis is centrally located in an area rich with farmlands, so it’s not surprising that Missouri-raised meat and dairy can be found at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. But did you know that beekeepers in the city number in the hundreds, and they’re producing honey with flavors distinct not just to the region but to the very neighborhood where the hive is situated? Or that chocolate can have as many flavors as wine? We talked to a handful of local food producers to find out about the joys and challenges of food production here in St. Louis.
• Congratulations to Gerard Craft, chef/owner of Niche restaurant! On Monday he was chosen to be one of five finalists in the Best Chef Midwest category for a James Beard Foundation Award. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony May 4 at Lincoln Center in New York, followed by an incredible reception with food prepared by 22 of America’s greatest female chefs. Tickets for the event and the complete list of finalists are available at jbfawards.com.
• EDDIE NEILL opened his newest establishment in Grand Center last week. It’s good timing since it’s before Mrs. Lovett starts hawking her meat pies during November performances of Sweeney Todd at the Fabulous Fox. Wm. Shakespeare’s Gastropub feels like a West End London theater pub with its high wainscoting, pressed tin ceiling, and lots of beers, ales and stouts on draft. With three partners, John, Pat and another John, Neill has taken over the corner of Grand and Washington with a window-lined, ground-level space of 2,500 square feet and a Rathskeller of equal size featuring darts, Skittle (London style bowling) and flat-screen TVs. The menu, developed by Neill, is authentic fare, including savory pies, smoked salmon, and minnow and chips, as well as newer items like Lobster haggis and mustard fried rabbit, all made with ingredients from local farmers and lamb and hog producers.