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Jan 22, 2018
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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What I Do: Marie-Anne Velasco of Nudo House

October 10th 11:10am, 2016

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After more than 15 years in Chicago fine dining and the kitchens at The Ritz-Carlton and The Chase Park Plaza, Marie-Anne Velasco will open Nudo House with Mai Lee’s Qui Tran this fall. So how does a former Canadian Culinary Olympian wind up launching a ramen shop with St. Louis’ king of pho? A shared passion for noodle perfection. Here, Velasco shares her formative ramen experiences, her hippie ways and why Nudo must have a soft serve machine.

 

St. Louis, then and now
“It’s a totally different food city. I used to live on that block between the old Niche and Sidney Street. We used to see Kevin (Nashan) all the time or we’d go to Niche for drinks before we had kids. I would just sit there and think, ‘Wow, if only these places were open (everywhere in St. Louis).’ … From five years ago to now, it’s exploded.”

Free spirits of Chesterfield
“(My husband and I) are kind of closet hippies at home. We grow our own vegetables; we make our own kombucha; we make our own yogurt. We try to make and grow everything that we can.”

Aha moment
“It was just this unctuous, thick – it didn’t even feel like broth but everyone was calling it broth, and the noodles were chewy and the egg was custardy. Everything was just a perfect scenario of a food experience. It’s weird when you have that first experience. You just try and chase it.”

Ramen Revolution
“Ippudo (a New York City ramen restaurant) reset my brain, too. After working in all these different ramen places and getting to know the ingredients and the bones and what the procedures are, we sat down at this place and I went, ‘Wait a minute – I don’t know how they did this.’”

Screaming for ice cream
“I’m so excited about it! When you’re in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles after you go and have ramen, you have to go and have soft serve because it isn’t just soft serve. It’s like green tea, it’s like mango, it’s like coconut – all the things you think go hand in hand with Japanese flavors. That salty richness needs a balance between citrus and something sweet.”

Hungry business partners
“(Qui and I) are very meticulous about what we want and how we want it done. At the same time we both have an open mindset. We’re both easygoing, but at the same time, we want it done properly. … And we both have appetites that are never-ending. It’s almost embarrassing.”

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

By Catherine Klene

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