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Jan 22, 2018
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Gerard Craft named finalist for 2012 James Beard Foundation Award

Monday, March 19th, 2012

The finalists for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards were announced via Twitter this afternoon and Gerard Craft, chef-owner of the Niche family of restaurants, is on the short list in the Best Chef: Midwest category. This is Craft’s third time being named a finalist in this category.

The three other St. Louis chefs who had been named semifinalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category were: Josh Galliano, chef at the recently shuttered Monarch; Kevin Willmann, chef-owner of Farmhaus; and Kevin Nashan, chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe. In addition, Salt, the Central West End restaurant that chef-owner Wes Johnson opened last year, was in the running for Best New Restaurant.

Winners of the chef and restaurant awards will be announced at a gala ceremony held in New York City on Monday, May 7. Good luck, chef!

A pdf containing the full list of nominees is available here.

— Photo by Greg Rannells

Kaldi’s named one of “America’s Best Coffee Bars” by Food & Wine

Friday, March 16th, 2012

A big clink of the ceramic mug to Kaldi’s Coffee, which was recently named one of America’s Best Coffee Bars by Food & Wine Magazine. Of the six Kaldi’s locations around town, the flagship cafe on DeMun Avenue in Clayton garnered the most attention for its “Bohemian charm.” Aside from stellar ambiance, Kaldi’s was lauded for using fair-trade beans long before it was fashionable.

This isn’t the first national nod for the local roaster. Kaldi’s was honored by Fortune Magazine (Best Small Coffee Makers) last year and was lauded for serving one of the best cups of coffee in the country by GQ back in 2009. Cheers!

Josh Galliano takes title of People’s Best New Chef: Midwest by Food & Wine

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Congratulations to chef Josh Galliano, who was named The People’s Best New Chef: Midwest by Food & Wine magazine today. The accolade comes less than 48 hours after Galliano’s tenure as executive chef at Monarch came to a close; the Maplewood restaurant shuttered for good after dinner service this past Saturday. Galliano bested 10 other chefs in the running for the regional title, including the only other area chef to be nominated – Cassy Vires, chef-owner of Home Wine Kitchen. This is the second consecutive year that Galliano has been nominated for the award, which is based on a people’s vote.

Galliano is also a semi-finalist for a 2012 James Beard Foundation Award in the Best Chef: Midwest category. The James Beard Foundation will announce finalists on Monday, March 19.

Thank You, Joe Pollack

Monday, March 12th, 2012

In August 2001, Joe Pollack wrote his first restaurant review for Sauce. Over the next nearly four years, Joe was a staple of this publication, writing reviews under the moniker Gourmet Guru, the name he created for his column.

By now, many St. Louisans know that Joe died unexpectedly early Friday morning at his home in Clayton at the age of 81. True to his disciplined nature, he had just completed the last of several film reviews he was writing that morning for the blog he and his wife, Ann Lemons Pollack, publish, St. Louis Eats and Drinks with Joe and Ann Pollack.

The columns and stories he wrote for Sauce are just a drop in the proverbial bucket for a man who seemingly knew everything about everything. He kept the same distinctive voice for nearly 50 years of professional writing in St. Louis, whether he was covering sports, politics, food, wine, theater or film. When I took over the Gourmet Guru column (now called New and Notable) at Sauce a few years ago, I was hesitant to use the name because, well, it was Joe’s.

Joe always reminded me of one of those curmudgeonly, tough talking, hard-boiled, old school journalists pounding out copy on a portable Smith Corona with a cigarette dangling from his lips. He had the quicksilver mind and mouth to match, and I always enjoyed discussing restaurants with him, however briefly, whenever we ran into each other at events. In addition to the culinary reviews he wrote for Sauce, Joe was a sports reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and spent 23 years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reviewing restaurants, theater and film. Along with Ann, he reviewed restaurants for St Louis Magazine, published three books on St. Louis dining and was the local editor for the Zagat Guide. His heavy Brooklyn accent was familiar to listeners of KWMU (90.7 FM), where he also reviewed films.

He may have been born in New York, but he was a St. Louisan through and through. Thank you, Joe Pollack.

Read Joe Pollack’s obituary here.


“Joe was instrumental in the early years of Sauce. He saw the potential in Sauce magazine and our vision for St. Louis and that is why he wanted to be part of it.”

— Allyson Mace, publisher and founder, Sauce Magazine

Two local chefs in running for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef: Midwest

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Two area chefs – Josh Galliano of Monarch and Cassy Vires, chef-owner of Home Wine Kitchen – are in the running for Food & Wine magazine’s People’s Best New Chef: Midwest. The award, which the magazine launched last year, is based on a people’s vote (as opposed to one by the magazine’s editors). Galliano and Vires, whose restaurants are just steps from one another in downtown Maplewood, are the only two Missouri chefs to be nominated.

Galliano was one of the three St. Louis chefs in the running for the honor in 2011, but this is Vires’ first appearance on the list. No local chef made the final list last year.

Want to see this medal awarded to a hometown favorite? Go here to submit your vote. Voting begins today and runs through March 11.



Rooster named among America’s best brunch spots by Travel + Leisure

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The accolades are piling up this week for the area’s restaurants. The latest: Rooster, the downtown breakfast haven, was named one of the best brunch spots in America by Travel + Leisure magazine. The Rooster Slinger – house-made toast with fried eggs, potatoes, andouille sausage and pork sausage gravy – was touted as the eatery’s standout dish.

This is not the first time that Rooster, owned by restaurateur Dave Bailey, has received such praise. In 2010, Rooster was named Missouri’s Best Breakfast by Food Network Magazine as part of the publication’s 50 States, Fifty Breakfasts feature.

“It’s been great for us at Rooster to get national recognition, first as Best Breakfast in Missouri by Food Network Magazine and now this,” said Bailey. “We hope that it will help us continue to welcome the melting pot of guests that we have there, part tourists, part ‘local tourists,’ part city dwellers, part downtown residents.” Bailey added that the recent expansion has also been beneficial, noting that, since taking over the space next door, “We have had busier weekends than we did even last summer, with shorter wait times for tables. We are really excited about 2012!”

For a complete list of restaurants that made Travel + Leisure’s list of America’s Best Brunches, click here.


John Griffiths invited to cook at James Beard House

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Fresh off yesterday’s announcement that one local restaurant and four area chefs were named semifinalists for 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards comes news that the Beard Foundation has its eye on another local chef. John Griffiths, executive chef at Truffles, has been invited to prepare a dinner at the James Beard House in New York this summer. On June 26, Griffiths will prepare a six-course menu for members of the Beard Foundation as well as the media.

In a release issued today, the Beard Foundation explained that, “Chefs are invited to cook at the famous James Beard House based on one’s national or regional reputation, as evidenced by media and resume; known use of high quality, seasonal and local ingredients; demonstrated excellence in a particular discipline; level of interest by James Beard Foundation’s dining members and their guests.”

Since taking over the top spot at Truffles in late 2010, Griffiths has breathed new life into the Ladue restaurant, receiving high praise for his seasonal and local approach to the now ever-changing Italian menu. “An invitation to cook at the Beard House is unrivaled and truly a career highlight like no other,” said Griffiths. “The James Beard Foundation sets the standard for culinary excellence in the country, and I’m proud to use this opportunity to bring more attention to St. Louis and the amazing talent that’s emerging here.”

“We are thrilled to have the talent of chef John Griffiths joining us at the Beard House for this very special dinner, especially as he is the first chef from St. Louis to be invited to the Beard House since Steve Gontram in 1998,” said Izabela Wojcik, director of house programming for the James Beard Foundation.

St. Louisans looking for an excuse to visit The Big Apple can reserve a spot for the dinner by calling the James Beard House reservations department at 212.627.2308 beginning March 7. Reservations will be accepted online at jamesbeard.org starting April 1. Tickets for the general public are $170 per person.

See all our coverage of John Griffiths here.

UPDATE: This post originally stated that John Griffiths is the first St. Louis chef invited to cook at the James Beard House in almost 15 years. That information is incorrect.

One restaurant and four local chefs named semifinalists for 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

One local restaurant and four local chefs were named semifinalists for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards today. Wes Johnson’s Salt was honored in the Best New Restaurant category. When we broke the news to Johnson this morning, he couldn’t believe it. “You’re kidding,” he gushed. “I’m kind of shocked. Wow. Wow.”

Over in the Best Chef: Midwest category, four local chefs were deemed semifinalists, including Gerard Craft, chef-owner of the Niche family of restaurants; Josh Galliano, chef at Monarch; Kevin Willmann, chef-owner of Farmhaus; and Kevin Nashan, chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe.

“Go St. Louis. I am pumped for everybody,” Nashan told Sauce this morning. When asked how many times he had been honored by the Beard Foundation in this way, he answered modestly. “I don’t know; I’m just glad to be on the bus.” Willmann was also excited for his fellow semifinalists. “This is a special thing we have in St. Louis,” he said. “I’m honored to be a very small part of what will only get bigger and better. Congratulations, everybody! As my buddy Nashan always reminds me, ‘It takes a village’ – and we have one hell of a village here for sure.”

Galliano expressed his elation to The Scoop this morning as he hurried to get a pig roast done before service time. “It’s very exciting, awesome,” he noted.

Finalists for the 2012 awards will be announced on March 19, with the winners announced at a gala ceremony in New York on May 7. See a full list of who our local cuilnarians are up against here.



Urban Chestnut wins big on Ratebeer.com

Friday, January 27th, 2012

012712_urbanchestnutA hefty pat on the back goes to Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., which was recently praised by Ratebeer.com as one of the top new brewers (Wait for it.) in the world. Of the 1,473 new breweries that registered with the site in 2011, the top-ranked breweries were Urban Chestnut at No. 5; California’s High Water Brewing at No. 4; Haymarket Pub & Brewing in Chicago taking third; Yorkshire, England’s Magic Rock Brewing as runner-up; and Anchorage Brewing Co. in Alaska taking the number one spot. Cheers!

Wash U. gets an A+ for ethnic/kosher fare

Friday, January 27th, 2012

012612_washuWashington University has long held court as one of the nation’s top schools, academically. And now it’s getting more than just scholarly accolades. The only college in the country to score 10 out of 10 on a survey by collegeprowler.com, Wash U narrowly beat out Brandeis – a Jewish-sponsored college – as the campus with the most palatable kosher and ethnic dining options.

Some cuisine-specific spots on campus include L’Chaim (hot items from a certified kosher kitchen), WUrld Fusion (tandoori ovens, Indian and global cuisine), Ciao Down (pizzas and pastas) and ¡OSOGood! (South-of-the-border fare).

Wash U also offers busy (or lazy) students a service called Webfood, an online ordering system that allows users to “build a meal” from their computers and schedule a pickup.

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