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The Scoop: The Libertine’s Josh Galliano to join Companion Bakery, Schlafly chef Matt Bessler to replace Galliano

June 15th 02:06pm, 2015

061515_joshgallianolibertine

 

 

Executive chef Josh Galliano is leaving The Libertine and joining the bread-baking crew at Companion beginning June 22. Galliano’s last day at the Clayton eatery, which he has helmed since it opened in May 2013, is this Thursday, June 18.

“I’m going to be … learning the ins and outs of everything they do,” Galliano said, noting his recent fascination with fermentation. “It’s stuff I want to know about. This allows me to delve into (bread baking) more and to do it with training wheels on because these guys are pros at it.”

Companion owner Josh Allen likened Galliano’s position to that of a bread production manager. In addition to his interest in baking and food science, Allen said Galliano also brings “tremendous leadership skills and a great mentoring ability” to Companion. He also said Galliano’s skills as a chef will be used when Companion moves to a larger facility in Maryland Heights Sept. 1.

The new location will have an educational center with a baking school and a full-service bakery and cafe. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for both of us,” Allen said. “(Josh) is always posting pictures on Instagram about baking bread, and he’s kind of a science geek at heart.”

Galliano’s departure means that Matt Bessler, former chef at Schlafly Bottleworks will helm the kitchen at The Libertine. Bessler, a longtime friend of co-owners Nick and Audra Luedde, started his career at Schlafly in 2000 and worked his way from prep cook to chef with an emphasis on farm-to-table cuisine.

“Josh knew for months that he was going to move on to Companion,” said Nick Luedde, who wished Galliano well in his future endeavors. “Ultimately we’re a family restaurant and a close team … (Bessler) will be true to the heart of The Libertine.”

The Libertine kitchen will also see the departure of chef de cuisine Josh Poletti, who confirmed he is leaving for another opportunity. His last day is also June 18. However, sous chef William Volny will stay on to work with Bessler on the new menu, which Luedde said will change from “fine dining where people can only afford to eat once a month to a place where the neighborhood can come out once a week and not burn a hole in their pocketbooks.”

Bessler’s new menu will include a more traditional format – appetizers, entrees and sides – and also feature sharable items that can serve two to 20.

 

Ligaya Figueras, Kristin Schultz and Catherine Klene contributed to this report.

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One Response to “The Scoop: The Libertine’s Josh Galliano to join Companion Bakery, Schlafly chef Matt Bessler to replace Galliano”

  1. Katie Says:
    June 15th, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Ugh, this doesn’t sound good. We love the Libertine! The diner burger, fried chicken, so good. But Schlafly’s food has never been impressive, or even very edible…Well. I hope it works out!

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