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Apr 25, 2014
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The Scoop: A changing of the guard at Dressel’s Public House

Thursday, April 24th, 2014


{Mike Miller}

Dressel’s Public House has a new executive chef. Derek Roe, previously chef de cuisine at the Central West End pub, is now helming the kitchen. Roe replaces chef Mike Miller, who served as the restaurant’s exec chef for the last three years. Miller is also co-owner of prepared foods and catering company, Kitchen Kulture.

“To keep Dressel’s healthy and profitable, yet let it evolve – that’s what we’ve been trying to do – and having talent in the kitchen,” said owner Ben Dressel. “My main mission is to be as local, farm-to-table and consciously sourced as possible.” He said he is confident in Roe’s ability to continue in that vein. “Derek is talented. We see eye-to-eye on where the pub should situate itself. He’ll do a great job.”

Roe’s prior experience includes working as sous chef at Harvest and as a line cook at the now defunct Monarch. Roe came aboard at Dressel’s as sous chef at the same time Miller joined the company.

Dressel said he wished his former executive chef the best. “He has his own business at Kitchen Kulture,” he said. “We think highly of him. He’s an awesome chef.”

Miller was spotlighted in the April 2014 issue of Sauce for his role in elevating Dressel’s gastro pub fare while respecting its 30-year history and adhering to his cooking philosophy. Miller declined to comment about his departure or his future plans.

-photo by Elizabeth Jochum

The List: Moll’s Cup No. 3 at The Good Pie

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.




At its most basic, Moll’s Cup No. 3 is a refreshing highball. Or, perhaps, a boozy fruit cocktail. But to us, it’s the epitome of what it means to be handcrafted. The cocktail gets its inspiration from a Pimm’s Cup, a British tippler that combines gin-based Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur with club soda or ginger ale plus lots and lots of fresh fruit. For his version, bartender Jeffrey Moll Jr. makes his own liqueur by flavoring bourbon with sweet Dubonnet, cinnamon and bitter orange peel; carbonates it with ginger-infused water and a house-made pastis; and bottles the cocktail in individual servings. Why bottle? When you order Moll’s Cup No. 3, Moll needs time for the final step: fashioning all that fruit into an edible work of art.

6665 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.899.9221, thegoodpiestl.com

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

The Scoop: The Pasta House Co., Schlafly team up for new venue at Lambert

Thursday, April 17th, 2014



Two well-known names in the local food and drink scene have teamed up to create a new venue at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The Pasta House Co. and Schlafly have expanded their current presence with a combination restaurant and bar, now open in Terminal 2 near Gate 4E.

The 1,500-square-foot space offers the traditional Pasta House lineup of Italian entrees, as well as appetizers, sandwiches, soups, salads and burgers. In addition, customers will find a selection of Schlafly beer on tap, plus rotating food specials inspired by similar fare offered at its other area restaurants downtown, in Maplewood and at the airport in Concourse C. The new restaurant marks the 16th location for Pasta House and its second at the airport. Both establishments will maintain their current airport locations in addition to the new combined venue.

The restaurant joins another newcomer to Lambert; Mike Shannon’s Grill is slated to open in early summer. The new venue is operated by St. Louis-based OHM Concessions Group, which also operates Dunkin Donuts and Great American Bagel at the airport.

-photo courtesy of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

The Scoop: Chef Gian Nicola Colucci takes the helm at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis

Thursday, April 17th, 2014



{Chef Gian Nicola Colucci}

Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis recently announced the appointment of Gian Nicola Colucci as its new executive chef. Colucci will oversee all the hotel’s culinary operations, including its fine dining Italian restaurant, Cielo Restaurant & Bar.

A native of Turin, Italy, Colucci holds 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Most recently, he worked as executive chef at Resort Danieli in Venice, Italy. Prior to that, he was executive sous chef at Four Seasons Hotel Canary Wharf in London.

Colucci replaces chef Fabrizio Schenardi, who recently departed from the downtown luxury hotel for Florida. As The Scoop reported in December, Schenardi accepted a position at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, slated to open this summer.

“Chef Schenardi was very involved in the local culinary scene and will be greatly missed, but we know that chef Colucci will continue his great work in the community,” said Alper Oztok, general manager at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. “Chef Colucci is a culinary talent that will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to Cielo and the Four Seasons Hotel.”

-photo courtesy of Four Seasons St. Louis

The Scoop: Russo’s Catering rolls out food truck

Monday, April 14th, 2014


Russo’s Catering has joined the fleet of local food trucks. Its mobile eatery, Russo’s Trucktoria, hit the pavement in late March.

The Italian-centric menu for the truck includes offerings such as a chop salad, linguine Bolognese, grilled lemon-herb chicken spiedini, jumbo ravioli and sandwiches like Italian beef and a chicken BLT.

The truck rolls onto the street three to four times a week, according to Trucktoria manager Jeff Robinson. Besides offering lunch to curbside diners, Russo’s Trucktoria will make an appearance at community events, including Food Truck Friday. Follow the truck on Twitter @russoscatering.

The Scoop: Eric Kelly leaves Scape to move to Seattle

Monday, April 14th, 2014


Scape American Bistro’s Eric Kelly has left the Central West End restaurant. After six years as chef and partner at Scape, Kelly is moving to Seattle to work for multi-concept dining operation Restaurants Unlimited. His last day in the Scape kitchens was April 10.

“I’m stepping away from the kitchen and going into operations,” said Kelly, who will join the company’s corporate office. Restaurants Unlimited manages nearly 50 restaurants, primarily located in California, Oregon and Washington. Kelly said the opportunity appeared just two weeks ago when the president of Restaurants Unlimited approached him. The two had previously worked together as employees of Levy Restaurants.

Scape began as a venture between Kelly, Ted Kolpar and his son, Sam Koplar, both of Kolpar Properties. The Koplars purchased Kelly’s share in the business. “It was a very, very difficult decision,” he said. “My experience at Scape, the relationships I built with hundreds and hundreds of great people from St. Louis – it is a difficult separation.” Kelly departs for Seattle May 1.

Taking the helm in Scape’s kitchen is Joe Everett, who transitioned from his role as Scape’s executive sous chef. “Joe is an amazingly talented chef,” Kelly said. “Culinarily, he’s more talented than I am. He’s going to take Scape to another level.”

Everett’s experience includes 10 years working for Levy Restaurants at venues in Florida like Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa before joining the team at Scape last year.

“He was ready for the task,” Ted Koplar said of his new executive chef. “We couldn’t be happier with the way the restaurant is right now. We have exciting plans for summer. We’re opening the courtyard soon. The team that is in place that people are used to is still there and doing a great job.”

-photo by Wesley Law



What I Do: Kore Wilbert

Friday, April 11th, 2014



Kore Wilbert, 29, is a former member of hip-hop group The Royal Illete, has twice competed on the winning team at Taste of St. Louis’ Chef Battle Royale, and from time to time he works the line at Mad Tomato and MX Movies. But as sous chef at DePaul Health Center, the L’École Culinaire graduate is a rising rock star in institutional dining, proving that cooking outside the confines of a restaurant has its perks, especially when you want to be a family man.

What’s it like to cook at a hospital?
It was a whole different world coming from a small restaurant where you feed 250 people a night to thousands of people on a daily basis.

What’s your job?
I’ve got 30 guys under me. I work with the catering staff, and we do production for the cafeteria, as well as patient room service. And we feed the other facility, St. Vincent’s. That’s behavioral health, and we feed the adults, the children, the adolescents. They give me the control to put it all together.

Is the kitchen decked out?
We have everything: flattops, ranges, 60-gallon tilt skillets. We have these really cool machines called Rationals. They are ovens and smokers and steamers. I’d never worked with one before I came here. We have four walk-ins (It took me three weeks to know where everything was.). We have a CVap, an immersion circulator – everything you can think of. And if we don’t have it we can get it, which is something that a small restaurant won’t be able to do.

Why have cutting-edge kitchen equipment at a hospital?
Usually when people are staying here, it’s because they are ill or coming to see a loved one. We want to make sure that the food is something they don’t have to worry about. That it’s something that’s really good, that’s comforting, that can maybe change their mood even just a little bit to make their stay more comfortable.

What are best-sellers at the cafeteria?
We’re never going to get rid of our chicken wings. Rice noodles and beef: All the nursing staff, if it’s that day, they are going to be there. Once a year we do soul food, which is very popular. People will bring their lunch all year, but on that day, they head right down to the cafeteria. It just let’s you know that the hospital does have a sense of community.

I’ve always perceived of hospital food as bland, gray mush.
People definitely think about it like that. But here, we’ve changed a lot of people’s minds. We don’t cut corners; we do everything from scratch. [At the cafeteria,] you’ve got a lot of options. Our “innovation station” showcases different foods from around the world: Japanese, Italian, Indian … it changes every day.

Do you miss working at a restaurant?
I do. Being on the line, putting out really good dishes, turning over an entire dining room – it’s a rush. Cooking on the line here is completely different. If I was working at a restaurant, I’d be working long nights, long hours and my family would be neglected. [There is] little to no personal life. This job gives me the time to do what I want to do. I can spend time with my kids, put them to bed every night. It’s the perfect job for a chef.

Is the mindset that a restaurant is the only place to find a job as a chef?
It is. But that’s not the only option. You can still be a chef. There are plenty of places you can go. If it’s food-related, you can get into it.

Can you still be a chef and in a hip-hop group?
I dance with my kids, but I don’t perform anymore.

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

In This Issue: Trendwatch – Part 2

Thursday, April 10th, 2014


Last Course: Earl Grey
Tea is no longer just for drinking. It’s accenting sweet treats across town, and Earl Grey – that black tea with a touch of citrus – is the blend of choice. You can find this timeless classic in baked goods and pastries at 4 Seasons Bakery (Earl Grey macarons), La Patisserie Chouquette (Earl Grey macaron with Cream Earl Grey caramel ganache and Earl Grey tea biscuits), at Comet Coffee (Earl Grey cookies), the recently relocated London Tea Room (lavender Earl Grey bread) and Winslow’s Home (a rotating special of chocolate cake-bread pudding with Earl Grey anglaise). In the mood for a tea-spiked frozen sundry? Go for Earl Grey-blended gelato at Gelateria Tavolini or Gelateria del Leone – both call it London Fog.

It’s a Southern thang
Pimento cheese, that pâté of the South, rises again. A pimento BLT has been on the menu at SugarFire Smoke House since it opened (And with location No. 2 soon to open in St. Charles, it will double the pleasure.). Pimento cheese also appears at Juniper, where y’all can find it in a pimento grilled cheese sandwich. The spreadable orange stuff is everywhere at Quincy Street Bistro: in smothered potato chips, pimento cheese skins and, of course, its (artery) killer The Hog Burger. Last November, QSB collaborated with Strange Donuts on a hog burger stuffed inside a doughnut and topped with pimento cheese; it still ranks among the most popular of the doughnut shop’s savory late-night Strangers.

No boloney
David Chang thinks bologna is going to be bigger than pork belly. At least in these parts, the old-school sandwich with its underappreciated meat is back and maybe even worth being dubbed “artisanal.” The Southsider at Quincy Street Bistro is no ordinary fried bologna sandwich with house-made, smoked, thick-cut bologna plus cheddar mornay and a farm egg on a Companion brioche. At Annie Gunn’s, diners dug into a hearty lunch of fried bologna with Comté on brioche served with heirloom tomato soup. It’s left the menu, but fear not; it’ll be back come June when tomatoes begin to ripen. And when Michon’s Smokehouse opens downtown on Washington Avenue in May, you can get a smoked bologna sandwich there, too.



The List: The Petite Bar at Bar Les Frères

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.



As if we needed another reason to frequent Bar Les Frères, restaurateur Zoë Robinson handed us one on a silver platter this winter when she turned the storefront adjacent to her petite bar into a space reminiscent of a French hotel lobby. Regal texture is everywhere: a polished wooden dining table surrounded by gilded antique chairs with original needlepoint, a plush velvet settee, and a tall, graceful pier mirror leaning against the wall. Add to that accoutrements like silver candelabras holding court on a sideboard and chartreuse walls adorned with game trophies and paintings. Bar Les Frères brings new meaning to the term “well-appointed” and makes us pine for eras of old.

7637 Wydown Blvd., Clayton, 314.725.8880, barlesfreres.com

-photo by Laura Miller

The Scoop: Pinckney Bend earns double gold medal at San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014



Missouri distillery Pinckney Bend has earned a coveted double gold medal at this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The New Haven-based company was awarded the medal for its American Rested Whiskey. Pinckney Bend is the only Missouri distillery to earn an award at the competition, which took place in late March. Results of the 2014 medal winners were announced today.

“We were kind of blown away,” said Ralph Haynes (pictured), Pinckney Bend Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “As important as getting the double gold is, if you took a look at who we beat, it was some of the biggest names in the business.” Pinckney Bend American Rested Whiskey is aged for one year in 15-gallon No. 3 charred Missouri white oak barrels.

This is the third time in as many years that Pinckney Bend has earned recognition at the reputed spirits competition, now in its fourteenth year. In 2013, its un-aged corn whiskey received a gold medal; in 2012, its gin also took home a gold.

The number of submissions for this year’s competition totaled 1,474 and hailed from 41 states and 64 countries in 89 different classifications. The entries were evaluated by a panel of 39 judges of journalists, distillers, beverage directors, mixologists, restaurateurs, Master Sommeliers, hoteliers, consultants and educators from the beverage community. Complete results of 2014 medal winners are posted here.

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