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Nov 29, 2014
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Sneak Peek: Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Chris Bolyard announced in February that he would be leaving his post as chef de cuisine at Sidney Street Cafe to open a butcher shop with his wife, Abbie Bolyard. Some 10 months later, the Bolyard’s are ready to unlock doors to Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions at 2810 Sutton Blvd. The boutique butcher shop opens this Friday, Nov. 28 in Maplewood.

Old-school, artisanal and whole-animal all figure into the Bolyards’ approach to their business. Animals are sourced from smaller family farms in Missouri and Illinois that raise their hogs, cows, lambs and chicken on pasture and without hormones, antibiotics or grain. Chris Bolyard got a taste for whole-hog butchery at Sidney Street and honed those skills further, staging at butcher shops in Chicago, Nashville and New Orleans.

At their new shop, a glass window provides a view to the cut room, where Bolyard will don a scabbard and break down whole animals like cows into sections like the chuck and brisket, rib and plate primal, hanger steak, short loin and sirloin.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute and a member of the Ones to Watch class of 2011, Bolyard will also put his charcuterie skills to work. Among prepared meat products, Bolyard will make sausages like chorizo, andouille, bratwurst, hot dogs, Toulouse (a French sausage of diced pork) and kielbasa. Also behind the deli counter, look for bacon, porchetta di testa and deli meats such as mortadella, pastrami, Bastardo (a bastardized style of salami made with beef and pork), ham and roast beef. Liver cheese, head cheese, pork rillettes and braunschweiger will be among pressed and pulled meat offerings. The shop even offers to-go cups of hot beef, chicken or pork broth, bags of fresh, house-made chicharrónes (pork rinds) and beef jerky.

Not sure what meat to buy? Need a special cut? The Bolyards aim to be a service-oriented, custom butcher shop. “It’s our job to let them know what’s in, what we have,” said Abbie Bolyard, who worked as a maitre d’ and server at Niche for five years before leaving the restaurant in 2013.

As for provisions, Bolyard’s refrigerator is filled with house-prepared kitchen staples like lard and stocks, condiments such as Worcestershire, ketchup and harissa, and fresh eggs from Vesterbrook Farm in Clarksville.

The airy, window-lined space (most recently the Black Cat Theatre lobby) rounds out its inventory with beef tallow soap, hand and lip balm made by Maplewood neighbor Maven, Woodside Urban honey, Missouri charcoal and wood chips and Yellow Tree Farms wooden kitchen utensils and cutting boards. There’s even something for four-legged friends: smoked pig ears and beef trim dog food. (A portion of profits from dog products will benefit Humane Society of Missouri.)

Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

 

 

 

The Scoop: Taco Circus to offer quick-serve tacos in Bevo Mill

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

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The tacos will fly when quick-service restaurant Taco Circus opens in early December. As reported by Ian Froeb of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Taco Circus is a project by Mikey Carrasco and Christian Ethridge, both transplants from Austin, Texas. The long-time friends settled on 4258 Schiller Place in Bevo Mill as the space where they will give St. Louisans a taste of what they ate as kids: tacos.

“When we were growing up, if we had $5 we would go to taco places,” said Ethridge, who left his job as commissary manager for Baileys’ restaurant group this summer to get Taco Circus up and running. Ethridge said he wants Taco Circus to be a legitimate alternative to current fast food choices. The duo chose the restaurant’s name because it suggested “controlled chaos, family-inclusive and light-hearted – and just wanting to convey the message that it’s a fast-food place and not a restaurant with servers.” In fact, it will be just Ethridge and Carrasco cooking, ringing up orders and wiping down the few tables in the 700-square-foot space.

The menu will be limited; look for just a handful of tacos (including a breakfast taco featuring eggs, potatoes, house-made chorizo, breakfast sausage and local bacon), a couple fajitas, side dishes like beans and rice, a salsa bar and perhaps a dessert. With only 15 or 20 seats, Ethridge and Carrasco expect Taco Circus to do more carryout that dine-in business.

Ethridge anticipates opening Taco Circus in early December after brightening the space with a lively paint job, a neon sign and vintage circus posters. “No clowns,” he added. “We’re not to the point of kitsch.”

 

Sneak Peek: The Side Project Cellar

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Cory and Karen King’s side project is about to take center stage. The Side Project Cellar, a 50-seat tasting room at 7373 Marietta Ave., is set to open doors in Maplewood Tuesday, Nov. 11.

Cory King, who is also Perennial Artisan Ales head brewer (and Sauce beer columnist), announced he was launching Side Project Brewing in February 2013. As a gypsy brewer, he leased equipment and space at Perennial Artisan Ales to produce barrel-aged and barrel-fermented beers.

The first Side Project brew, Brett Project #1, was released in September 2013 and immediately garnered the brewery national attention. Now, King and his wife, Karen King, have opened a 50-seat tasting room, featuring 24 draft beers, cellar beers from its temperature- and humidity-controlled cellar, dozens of whiskeys and six wines.

Guests can expect to see numerous Belgian-inspired beers plus dedicated taps for brews by Side Project Brewing, Perennial Artisan Ales and Deschutes. The launch lists also includes beers by Civil Life, Schlafly, Prairie Artisan Ales, Evil Twin, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, de Molen and de Struise.

While Cory King focuses on brewing, Karen King, who has worked as a representative for Goose Island and a market manager Deschutes, will manage the tasting room. The Side Project Cellar will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 3 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.

 

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 -photos by Michelle Volansky

Extra Sauce: Where to Eat at a Blues Game

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Now that baseball season is officially over, St. Louis turns its attention to the boys of winter. Hockey-loving foodies will find an array of food and beverage offerings when the St. Louis Blues are on the ice at Scottrade Center this year.

At concession stands and portable carts scattered through the plaza and mezzanine levels, you can load up on traditional fare like hot dogs, pizza, nachos and even build-your-own mac-n-cheese (section 104). A gluten-free cart peddling hot dogs, nacho, beer and other wheat-free fare is back again, too. But in our hunt for winning dishes, we found a few spots where food service provider Levy Restaurants as really upped its game with choices like stir-fried rice and blackened chicken sandwiches. Best of all, you’ll find these meals at stands accessible to any ticketholder, even one bleeding blue in the nosebleeds.

 

 

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 -photos by Meera Nagarajan

What I Do: Douglas Denney of The Crossing

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

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“Anyone can wait on one table,” said Douglas Denney, 47, a veteran server at The Crossing. “Eight, nine, 10 tables? That’s when it gets difficult.” Here, the native of Edinburgh, Scotland dishes out what he’s learned from more than 30 years spent walking restaurant floors – and why he really hopes you won’t order hot tea.

What was your first restaurant job?
For a summer job, I was a dishwasher – hand-washing, by the way. I went back the second year and was basically what they’d call the barista nowadays. Back then it was “the coffee maker.”

How did you get a job at The Crossing?
I walked in with my resume. I got lucky. It’s not easy to get in here.

What’s the staff turnover rate?
It’s nonexistent.

What type of personality makes for a good server?
Anyone can be a food delivery man. To be a good waiter, you have to have that sense of hospitality. I think some of it’s trainable, but I don’t think it all is.

Who is your favorite type of customer?
My regulars. When you look on the reservation book at night and see “Mrs. Smith requests Douglas,” it’s kind of flattering. When someone takes the time to request a particular waiter, you know you must be doing something right.

Is there a drink order you wince at?
Hot tea! Most restaurants are never set up to serve it because you don’t sell that much of it. You’ve got to get the teapot, warm it up, get the cup ready, lemons, honey or sweetener or whatever it is. So you got all these things you gotta bring in. Inevitably, someone else at the table says, “Oh, that does sound good. I think I’ll have a hot tea, too!” Hot tea – that’s the scourge for all waiters. I drink hot tea at home all the time. I’m Scottish.

Does your Scottish accent benefit you as a server?
It probably makes it easier walking up to people you don’t know if you have an accent because they want to listen to you.

What dining habit really irritates you?
Cell phones. Don’t use your cell phone in a restaurant. When you go out to dinner, interact with the people you’re having dinner with.

How do you feel about reservation no-shows?
If you’re not going to make it, just call and let us know. That way we can open the table for someone else.

Does it bother you when people show up just before the kitchen is closing?
The kitchen’s not closed yet, so it’s no big deal. If our kitchen closes at 10 o’clock and you show up at 10:30 and we’ve still got people eating and we’re still cooking in the kitchen, we’ll feed you. That’s hospitality. That’s what we do.

What should a customer do when they’ve had a poor dining experience?
Tell your waiter if there’s something wrong. If they know what they’re doing, they’ll handle it correctly, seamlessly.

What about when the server is part of the bad experience?
I’ve failed at a table. I had a table that did a grand tasting menu, and I forgot to fire the dessert. I got so overtaken by tables that it just didn’t happen. They paid their bill and called back the next day. We all make mistakes. What we try to do when we make mistakes is fix it. Did I fix that? No. But it’ll never happen again.

What’s the hardest part about keeping customers happy?
I don’t think it’s hard when you enjoy doing what you do. The actual dealing with the guest is not hard. It’s a lot harder physically, especially when you get older, than most people would think. Ten to 12 hours on your feet – that’s the tough part of the job.

What’s your post-shift routine?
A small glass of wine or a beer and go home. Compare that to 20 years ago … I’m too old for that.

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

 

By the Book: Gabrielle Hamilton’s Cod in Saffron Broth with Leeks, Potatoes and Savoy Cabbage

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

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In her memoir Blood, Bones & Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton revealed her voice as a writer: authoritative and without apology. The book became a New York Times best-seller and garnered her a James Beard Foundation award in writing and literature. Hamilton’s voice is just as decisive in her new cookbook, Prune, but this time she might as well be your boss, and you, a line cook in her acclaimed NYC restaurant by the same name.

There is no prologue in this book. No intro, no mushy thank-yous to all those individuals who inspired the book, turned a vision into reality… There is no time for that, people. You’ve got mouths to feed!

Even before I turned on a burner, I felt like I was under fire. Hamilton was judging me, and I was coming up short. The dilemma: selecting a recipe. What dish in this book was quintessential Hamilton? All of them. Which recipes called for ingredients I could easily find? She’s persnickety, you see. If you’re going to make her Deep-fried Shrimp Toasts with Sesame Seeds, you better purchase Pepperidge Farm original white sandwich bread “even if you have to walk to three different grocery stores” because “none of the other supermarket white bread hold their structure in the fryer.”

I settled on Cod in Saffron Broth with Leeks, Potatoes and Savoy Cabbage because Bob’s Seafood could supply me with cod exactly like chef wanted it: filleted, skin-on and butchered to 5 ounces.

 

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This cod dish, like most of the recipes in Prune, is straightforward. Just follow the instructions – exactly. To start, get that pot of water boiling, and be sure to salt it well. Salt is the only seasoning that the potatoes, cabbage and leeks will get, apart from a broth that is ladled upon plating.

 

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Hamilton calls for seasoning the cod with berberé, an Ethiopian spice blend. I didn’t have a jar of prepared berberé, but I did have every spice she calls for. (I wouldn’t dare ask if I get points for having a well-stocked pantry.) If you do, too, it’s well worth the effort to make berberé instead of buying a jar. Toasting spices and seeds until fragrant makes your house smell amazing long after dinner is done. The amount of berberé needed to season the cod is not specified. Rather, Hamilton calls on you to pay attention. “It wants to be bold and have a point of view, but not aggressive or unbalanced.”

 

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The last component is a saffron broth. You need every ingredient: shallots (not onions), saffron (not turmeric), fresh thyme, a cinnamon stick, fish stock. They make a difference and you will notice the minute you taste it. My dinner guests ate every last morsel of this dish. The bowls were so clean I could’ve just put them back in the cupboard.

More than aspire you to cook like a chef, the book makes you want to be a decent cook: to get it right, to keep a clean walk-in cooler (or fridge), to respect ingredients, to use everything. The techniques are not difficult, only exacting. If you can do it like Hamilton, you might survive a night on the line at Prune.

 

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Cod in Saffron Broth with Leeks, Potatoes and Savoy Cabbage
4 servings

2 lbs. cod, filleted, skin on and butchered to 5 ounces
2 Tbsp. Berberé Spice Mixture (recipe follows)
1 cup fish stock (recipe follows)
1 medium shallot, finely diced
3 small pinches saffron
3 to 4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
Clarified butter
2 medium leeks, sliced to ½-inch disks as far up into green as viable, completely free of sand
Generous ½ lb. savoy cabbage, cut into attractive wide ribbons
1 dozen Yukon gold baby potatoes, scrubbed, skin on, sliced into ½-inch disks
1 cinnamon stick
2 thyme branches, long and thin, not the bushy, woody ones

For the vegetables:
• Bring 8 quarts of well-salted water to a boil in a large pot. Have a baker’s rack set inside a sheet pan ready at your station.
• Add potatoes to boiling water and cook until nearly done, keeping in mind they will carry over residual heat while they drain. Gently remove with a spider and lay out on a baker’s rack to cool.
• Repeat with the leeks.
• And then the cabbage.
• When vegetables are cool, pack separately.

For the pickup:
• Bring fish stock, minced shallot, thyme, saffron threads and cinnamon stick to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Let it slightly reduce and come together while you cook the fish.
• Heat moderate ladle of clarified butter in flat-bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat. Weed out the warped and buckled pans before service or they will kill your game all night long.
• Season portioned codfish on both sided with the Berberé spice rub. Take care with your seasoning – it wants to be bold and have a point of view, but not aggressive or unbalanced.
• Sear codfish, skin side down, in the hot pan with clari and take it all the way on the stove top, flipping once. Get good, crisp, golden brown skin, with opaque flesh. You want the natural flake line to start to open, but don’t take it so far that you lose all that milky enzyme as it weeps into the pan.

To finish the broth:
• Look at what you have in your saucepot – further reduce or build back up slightly with more fish stock, depending on what you see. You want fragrant, full-bodied, slightly viscous saffron broth that can still receive a few nuts of cold mounted butter and is still hot and brothy enough to be able to warm through a few ribbons of juicy cabbage, several coins of watery leeks and a few waxy potato slices without totally thinning out into body-less liquid.
• Spoon the finished broth and all the veg into the wide bowl; leave nothing in the pan. Center cod, flesh side up.
• Fish out the cinnamon stick and the thyme branch and make sure they are visible in the bowl, like a garnish.

Berberé Spice Mixture
1 quart plus 1 pint

1/3 cup coriander seeds
1 1/3 cups cumin seeds
¼ cup cloves
2/3 cup cardamom pods
1/3 cup black peppercorns
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. allspice berries
2/3 cup fennel seeds
1 ounce dried chilies de arbol, remove stem, seeds are fine
¼ cup fenugreek
1/3 cup ginger powder
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. turmeric powder
2/3 cup kosher salt

•In a very large sauteuse, dry toast the first 9 above ingredients together until fragrant. Stir and shake during the toasting.
• As soon as you get strong pleasant aroma – don’t allow it to get acrid and burnt – turn out onto a full sheet of parchment to cool.
• When thoroughly cool, lift edges of parchment to neatly funnel seeds into spice grinder, in manageable batches.
• Grind all to fine, mix well with the final 3 ingredients above. Store in pint containers; label and date.

Fish Stock
4 quarts

3 lbs. white fish bones
3 cups white wine
3 bulbs fennel, cut into quarters
3 stalks celery, cleaned up and cut for mirepoix
1 yellow onion, peeled, cut into sixths
1 tsp. salt
Bay leaves
Black peppercorns, a few

• Rinse bones of blood, in salt water if necessary. Remove gills as needed and break spines in two. Rinse again if snapping spines reveals more blood.
• In a stainless steel pot, add bones, lay vegetables on top and add wine. Be sure you have not grabbed a crappy aluminum pot in haste.
• Add cold water to cover by 2 inches
• Add bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of salt and a few black peppercorns.
• Bring to a boil and reduce to a bare simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Let settle and partially cool. Strain through several layers clean, damp cheesecloth set inside a fine mesh chinois. Give it the time it needs to drip clear. If clarifying: Beat egg whites to tight and foamy. (Like shaving cream.) Then pour/spoon into simmering stock to form the raft. Let it go 15 minutes. Spoon off the dirty, scummy raft BEFORE straining. Repeat if necessary.

Reprinted with permission from Random House Publishing

If you could spend one night working the line at at St. Louis restaurant, which would it be and why? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Prune!

The Scoop: Ben Poremba, United Provisions terminate contract for Dining District

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

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{United Provisions raw bar chef Naomi Hamamura, Ben Poremba, executive chef Tudor Seserman, and head of development Shayn Prapaisilp on Aug. 7 just before opening}

 

Restaurateur Ben Poremba is no longer managing operations at United Provisions’ Dining District, the prepared food and restaurant component inside the new grocery store at 6241 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop.

Store owner Suchin Prapaisilp contracted Concepts in Food (an arm of Poremba’s parent company Bengelina Hospitality Group) to manage and operate the prepared food and food service at the coffee shop, sushi, deli counter and Dining District’s dinner service when United Provisions opened in August. Poremba also placed five employees in managerial positions there.

Two months later, the businessmen came to a crossroads. “Although we have a lot of respect for one another, our styles of management, expectations, the way they we do things and run our businesses is very different,” Poremba said. “It just made sense for us to separate.”

The contract officially ends Nov. 1. “Sometimes things don’t pan out,” said Shayn Prapaisilp, head of development for United Provisions. “We have a great respect for one another. With this particular move, it wasn’t working out for both of us. For business reasons, we decided to go our separate ways.”

Poremba’s managerial team, including raw bar chef Naomi Hamamura and executive chef Tudor Seserman, will also leave the Dining District. “(Seserman) will for sure stay with me (at Elaia),” Poremba said. “Hama is sort of up in the air. There’s a lot to figure out.”

Prapaisilp is currently reconcepting the Dining District’s future. “Nothing is decided as of yet. We will be keeping the sushi, but the other elements I can’t comment on,” he said.

Prapaisilp said managers from sister restaurants King and I, Oishi Sushi and Steakhouse in Chesterfield Valley and Oishi Sushi in Creve Coeur will join the team at United Provisions to run Dining District in the immediate future. “We want to make sure there is no interruption on the Dining District side.”

 

Sneak Peek: Old Standard

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Ben Poremba's newest restaurant, Old Standard, specializes in his favorite food: fried chicken. Located at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., Old Standard opens to the public Oct. 20.

 

We’ve been craving fried chicken since restaurateur Ben Poremba announced nearly a year ago that he was opening a chicken shack. The restaurant, Old Standard, is located at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., in Botanical Heights, which is anchored by his other eateries, Elaia, Olio and Chouquette. After much renovation to the historic space (It was once a police horse stable.), and a fried chicken research tour that took him to more than 500 eateries around the country, Poremba will open Old Standard’s doors to the public Oct. 20.

Poremba sources chicken from Miller Poultry in Indiana, which raises hormone- and antibiotic-free poultry on an all-vegetable diet. After brining the bird, it is battered and cooked in a pressure fryer. Diners can get their fried chicken half, whole or a la carte – thigh, half-breast or leg. While fried chicken is a main event at Old Standard, guests can get a taste of the South in snacks and sides, many of which feature crispy vegetables and briny pickles to counter the fattiness of fried chicken. A selection of breads and desserts round out the food offerings.

The bar puts a spotlight on American whiskey and soda. Old Standard carries 50 whiskeys, nearly half of which are bourbons. Whiskey-based cocktails are also available. Beer lovers can choose from 10 canned beers (buckets of beer are served in sturdy Coleman lunch boxes) or opt for Old Standard’s proprietary beer on draft, a Pilsner brewed by Urban Chestnut. Teetotalers (and kids) won’t be disappointed in the drink options. Old Standard stocks two dozen bottled sodas and six house-made ones in flavors like rose water-toasted almond and stone fruit-spice. A trio of house-made lemonades and iced teas featuring blends by the London Tea Room, keep the drink vibe on the Southern map.

Old Standard will be open daily. Initial hours will be Monday through Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to midnight and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with lunch added in six to eight weeks. Here’s what to expect when Old Standard opens doors next Monday:

 

 

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-photos by Meera Nagarajan

The Scoop: Former exec chef at The Nest Chris Vomund joins culinary team at Herbie’s

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

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Herbie’s Vintage 72 is seeing changes to its kitchen crew. Chris Vomund will join the team at the CWE restaurant Oct. 14. He will initially assume the position of chef de cuisine, but Herbie’s owner Aaron Teitelbaum said the goal is for Vomund to become the restaurant’s executive chef, replacing chef Chris Ladley, who left Herbie’s in September. Teitelbaum called Vomund “a solid cook” whose style suits the classical French cuisine at Herbie’s.

Previously, Vomund was executive chef at The Nest in Frontenac. Upon its closure this summer, he took an interim position as sous chef at 1111 Mississippi. His 12 years of restaurant experience also includes working as kitchen manager at Pi in the CWE, helping to open the Pi carryout location in Chesterfield and managing the kitchen at Hard Rock Cafe at Union Station.

“I’m looking forward to taking classical French and maybe incorporating a little of the great farm-fresh stuff we have in the Midwest,” Vomund said of his new position.

As for Ladley, who ran the kitchen at Herbie’s since March 2013, he has joined chef Rick Lewis’ culinary brigade at Quincy Street Bistro. In addition, he is butchering for The Block. “I spend my Wednesdays breaking down lots of pigs and Fridays doing the same thing with beef,” Ladley said. “It’s nice to have a life again and see my fiancee.”

What I Do: John Rempe of Luxco

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

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At local spirits producer Luxco, someone has to formulate the flavors for Pearl vodka and the other 100-plus alcoholic beverages in its portfolio. For the last 16 years, concocting flavors has been the job of John Rempe, Luxco’s director of corporate research and development, otherwise known as “the mad scientist.”

How popular is flavored alcohol?
Ten years ago, you didn’t see anything on the shelf in terms of all the different flavors. Now’s it’s just exploded. The main one I’m focused on now is Pearl. We’ve got 19 different flavors. Other than that, it’s flavored whiskies. There’s cherry, honey. Cocktails are starting to come back, ready to drink – just open and pour.

How many flavors are in your lab?
Several hundred. I’m constantly updating my library of flavors and extracts.

What are typical ingredients that go into flavored vodka?
Your alcohol base, which is your vodka; a sweetener – in Pearl, it’s sucrose, it’s real sugar; natural flavoring extracts – for the most part, we try to use all-natural flavors; and water.

How long does it take to move a flavored product from R&D into production?
It can take me a few days or weeks to develop a product that I think is good, but once I do that, every ingredient that I use in terms of flavoring has to be approved by the federal government. I use those approvals and submit my formula to the government. Once that’s approved, we have to get labels approved. What used to take only a few months now takes a year.

Why did you create vodkas flavored like wedding cake and whipped cream?
Wedding cake and whipped cream were a response to what was happening in the market. Everything was shifting to ultra sweet, confectionary-type flavors.

So the vodka drinker isn’t into savory flavors?
That’s what we’re looking at going forward – basil, cilantro, those herbaceous infusions. Traditionally, the flavored vodka market focused on fruit, then it got to the ultra sweet. Now, it’s turning less sweet, into a more adult-type palate.

What flavor surprised you by how it was received – good or bad?
Pearl Cucumber. I developed it three years before we launched it. When I developed it, it wasn’t received (well) at all. Wait three years, all of a sudden, people are demanding cucumber. Now it’s huge. That’s one of our great flavors in Pearl right now.

How do you feel when a flavor doesn’t go over well?
You have to develop pretty thick skin to do what I’m doing. I’m the one creating it and I think it’s great. I’m pitching it to sales and marketing. I’m sitting in a room, people are tasting it. When I first started doing it, people would spit it out. You can’t let it get to you. “OK, I’ll go and redo it.”

What Pearl flavor are you most proud of?
The cucumber and the plum. When you open the bottle, it smells exactly like the fruit. That’s what I’ve always tried to accomplish: (Be) true to the fruit, not candy-ish. Pomegranate was the first Pearl flavor I developed – that’s my baby. It’s by far and away the most successful flavor.

How satisfying is your job?
It’s a huge amount of satisfaction. Every time I go to the store, even with my kids, I’m like, “We gotta walk down through this aisle.” My kids are like, “Why are we walking down the alcohol aisle again, Dad?” I’m like, “Because I gotta see my stuff.”

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

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