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Oct 19, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Andrey Ivanov’

The Scoop: Zac Adcox moves from Blood & Sand to Reeds American Table

Thursday, April 13th, 2017



In just a few months, Zac Adcox has made a name for himself in the St. Louis wine world, helming the wine program as general manager of Blood & Sand. Now, the 22-year-old member of Sauce Ones To Watch class of 2017 is embarking on a new adventure as a sommelier at Reeds American Table.

After staging at Reeds to enhance his knowledge base, Adcox was offered a permanent gig in March. “I just wanted to learn from Andrey (Ivanov) and Alisha (Blackwell), and this situation just kind of organically happened,” he said.

Currently, he works the floor at Reeds on weekends, and during the week, he assists Blood & Sand’s Juliette Dottle as she transitions to her new role as general manager and wine director. Once Dottle sits for her Level 1 certified sommelier exam in early June, Adcox will move to Reed’s full time.

He said he’s excited to be able to focus primarily on the wine side of the business and continue working with the staff there. “Alisha and Andrey have boosted my confidence,” he said. “They’ve empowered me and made me more passionate. I really love working with them.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

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Ones to Watch 2017: Jen Epley of Vicia

Sunday, January 1st, 2017



Title: Assistant general manager, Vicia
Age: 31
Why watch her: She knows what you need before you do.

Jen Epley has her eye on you. Where did you sit, what did you order and what was your favorite dish? If you don’t like cilantro, you won’t see it – now or the next time you dine with her.

For Epley, successful service means everything appears effortless. Wine keys, pens, lighters and birthday candles are accounted for before the night begins. Guests are greeted warmly, treated with friendly respect and watched carefully from the moment they’re seated until the last glass of wine is consumed.

“You have to know something about them. They are there for that experience of connecting with the food, the servers, the beverages. They want to feel everything that you put into that restaurant,” Epley said. “You have to be part of it. … If you don’t love it, you shouldn’t be there because that resonates with all the guests that walk in.”

This is something she’s learned from hospitality pros in some of the best restaurants in the city, starting at Five Bistro five years ago.

“She’s really one of the unsung heroes of service in St. Louis,” said advanced sommelier Andrey Ivanov. He trained Epley on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wine when they worked at Olio and Elaia. “She’s so technically sound that she can do everything better than most people on autopilot, and meanwhile … look around the room and anticipate what’s next.”

“So many people treat serving as ‘Same job, different apron,’” said Sardella general manager Chris Kelling, who worked with Epley at Niche. “She has goals to ascend in the industry and be amongst the best. That is something I’ve only recently seen in St. Louis, that people are taking hospitality as a career.”

It seems only natural that Epley’s next step is to help open Vicia under co-owner and general manager Tara Gallina, who was service captain at Blue Hill at Stone Barns – a restaurant lauded as much for service as culinary talent. Before a recent wine tasting meeting, Epley pulled out a tote bag filled with polished stemware and ever-present spiral-bound notebooks.

“When I write things down, it’s easier to remember than typing,” she explained, rifling through pages filled with impeccably written wine tasting notes and potential front-of-house hires. Epley loves the puzzle of it all, carefully sorting each detail into its proper column. “It’s a fun game of Tetris,” she said.

“She’s always two steps ahead, which is what you have to be, and seeing the big picture at all times,” Gallina said. “She really just gets it.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Best New Restaurants: No. 5 – Reeds American Table

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Opening a restaurant isn’t easy. Each year, hundreds give it a shot – and not everyone succeeds. Some, however, aren’t just surviving; they’re killing it. In the last year, we ate our way through newly opened restaurants from Alton to Ballwin, compiling a list of places that serve the food and drinks we can’t get out of our heads. They bring something different and exciting to the scene – and they do it damn well. While technical excellence was a must, the service and ambiance also had to win us over. Office debates nearly came to fisticuffs, but at last we agreed on St. Louis’ 11 best new restaurants of 2015. Clear your schedule and book your reservations; you’ve got a lot of eating to do.




Unfold the menu at Reeds American Table, and you see names before you see dishes. These are the people chef-owner Matthew Daughaday wants you to know before digging in – the ones who braise that succulent beef cheek, concoct house tinctures and know exactly how long the kitchen worked to perfect the lamb sugo.

Traditional restaurants operate under a relatively strict hierarchy: An executive chef directs a staff that operates in descending order from sous chef on down to line cook and dishwasher. The bar may have some interaction with the kitchen, but not much. Servers live at the front of the house, balancing trays and scribbling orders. It’s a time-honored method that’s produced top-notch results – but Daughaday is doing things a bit differently.

The former executive chef of Taste announced he was leaving the swanky CWE cocktail bar last December. Public anticipation built over the following months as Daughaday assembled a crack team to aid his first solo enterprise: sommelier Andrey Ivanov as beverage director, Summer Wright as executive pastry chef, Nicki Ball as general manager and Andrew Moore as office manager.

“We all try to be people who are very open about the learning process,” Daughaday said. “(We’re) creating a mentoring environment where you’re teaching people things and pushing them to be better, but not in an overbearing, demanding (manner).” The result is a delightfully collaborative and approachable menu, resulting in dishes like the decadent chicken potpie and silky panna cotta. Pastry chefs craft syrups and tonics for the bar team. Extensive beer and wine lists include charts, maps and graphs; the house coffee program details brewing methods.

Most important, Daughday said, is that everyone from the executive sous chef to the busser to the bartender feels a sense of ownership. “I always use the analogy of a baseball team,” he said. “Everybody has their positions and the expectation is that you play your position, but we all know that it supports the greater goal.”

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

First Look: Reeds American Table in Maplewood

Thursday, September 10th, 2015



Reeds American Table is now open at 7322 Manchester Road in Maplewood. As The Scoop reported in February, this is the first restaurant for Matt Daughaday, formerly executive chef at Taste and a member of the 2013 class of Ones to Watch. Daughaday leads a team of industry notables, including executive pastry chef Summer Wright (formerly of Niche Food Group) and advanced sommelier Andrey Ivanov (formerly of Elaia and Olio) as beverage director.

The 3,400-square-foot space that once saw life as Home Wine Kitchen now seats 96 on two levels. The menu offers a selection of elevated classic and comfort food dishes, such as a pastrami Rueben sandwich made with beef tongue and caraway-pickled cabbage, or a green bean casserole that’s been deconstructed into sauteed green beans with leek-mushroom cream, topped with crunchy, flash-fried leeks.

Ivanov captains a three-man bar team including class of 2015 One to Watch Zach Althaus, Richard Vagnino (formerly at Rooster and Small Batch) and Adam Smith. David Schroeder serves as Reeds’ beer director. As such, a Russian novel-length beverage menu suggests pairings for everything from small plates to desserts and offers selections for those who feel lost in Reeds extensive inventory. Look for lengthy curated wine and beer lists, craft cocktails featuring house-made shrubs and specialty coffee beverages.

Reeds American Table is open Wednesday through Monday from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect when you arrive at Maplewood’s newest eatery.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Drink This Weekend Edition: A taste of the Big Apple – and home

Friday, August 14th, 2015



I just returned from a trip to New York City, a place I love for its crazy crowds, the rattle of the subway and really good bagels. I also had the chance to compare our wine scene to this bustling city and came away with a few observations:

1. St. Louis is home to more wine and spirits talent per capita. Our wine pros take training and certification very seriously, and they work very hard to earn titles. In my opinion, NYC has a lot of wine talent, yet some do not work toward certification as diligently as our hometown team.

2. NYC is home to more products. Every importer has a presence, and you can get pretty much any wine you desire (though it often costs more). While St. Louis has access to a lot of wine, I think we lack options when it comes to sherry, organic and kosher choices.

3. New York City has some amazing wine lists, especially in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, though STL is rapidly stepping up its game. Places like Elaia, Olio, Bar Italia and Bar Les Freres all pour some phenomenal wines (and I’ve got my eye on Reeds American Table, which has sommelier Andrey Ivanov overseeing the wine list). My wish: I’d love to see a wine bar like The Ten Bells in St. Louis – a loud, rambunctious atmosphere serving only hardcore natural wines and basic bar snacks.

Here, my two picks for this weekend – one from New York and the other, a hometown spirit:

2013 Fox Run Dry Riesling
This wine from New York’s Finger Lakes region is crisp and beautifully aromatic with notes of crushed lemon, apricot and stone. $20, available at Starrs

Lion’s Tooth Dandelion Liqueur
This local liqueur makes for incredible spritzes. Mix 1 ounce Lion’s Tooth with 2 ounces cranberry juice and 2 ounces seltzer, then pour over ice. $30, available at The Wine and Cheese Place


The Scoop: Local sommelier takes top honors at national competition

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015




The awards keep coming for local somm phenom Andrey Ivanov, who took home the top prize at the highly regarded Chaine de Rotisseurs Young Sommeliers Competition in Santa Barbara, Calif., on May 15.

The two-day competition started with nine regional competitors, but only three, including Ivanov, moved on to the final rounds, which were held in front of an audience of 80 people including judges and fellow competitors.

“It is a big honor to bring the trophy back to St. Louis,” Ivanov said. “This was the last year I was eligible to compete, so it’s a nice way to go out. It opens the door for other St. Louis talent.”

Normally Ivanov would go on to compete at the international competition in Adelaide, Australia, but due to a recently added bylaw, the Chaine de Rotisseurs only allows first-time national winners to vie for top international honors. Ivanov tied for first with New York City sommelier Jane Lopes last year.

After departing Santa Barbara, Ivanov landed in Aspen, Colo., where he sat for the service and tasting portion of the Master Sommelier examination on Tuesday, May 19. Ivanov passed the service portion and will sit for the tasting examination in 2016.

“My goal for this year is to taste a lot of wine,” said Ivanov. “It’s a huge, huge, huge relief and weight off my shoulders to have passed the service portion. Next year, I just have to go into a room and dominate. I’m set up with a good tasting group here in St. Louis. We all know where we need to go and can help each other get there.”

Upon returning to St. Louis, Ivanov plans to put his experience to good use when he and Matt Daughaday open Reeds American Table in Maplewood this July.



-photo by Ashley Gieseking


The Scoop: Andrey Ivanov takes third in TopSomm nationals

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015



Raise your glass to St. Louis sommelier Andrey Ivanov, who took third place in the Guild of Sommeliers TopSomm competition held April 19 in Sonoma, California.

“It was great, but it was a tough competition,” Ivanov said. “It was a veritable who’s-who of the somm world. If you’re going to lose, you want to lose in this group of somms.”

Ivanov, who most recently served as wine director at Elaia and Olio, reached the national competition after successfully scoring in the top eight in an online preliminary competition and winning the regional finals in Chicago on March 8. At the national competition, eight sommeliers, six regional winners and two wild cards, participated in the national, three-part competition, which included a theory section, a practical skills section and a blind tasting.

“It was brutal,” he said. “The scenario presented was of two tables of customers, and one of the tables would not let you leave. They kept asking irrelevant questions. I finally hijacked my maitre d’ to talk to the table and got away long enough to serve the other table their Champagne just in time. It was a fun competition.”

He will compete next in the 2015 Chaine des Rotisseurs’ Young Sommeliers Competition in Santa Barbara, California on May 14 and 15 before heading to Aspen, Colorado to sit for the service and tasting portion of the Master Sommelier exam.

After his exam, Ivanov will return to St. Louis, where he and former Taste executive chef Matt Daughaday plan to open Reed’s American Table in June.

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

The Scoop: Local sommelier Andrey Ivanov headed to 2015 Chaine des Rotisseurs’ Young Sommeliers National Competition

Thursday, February 12th, 2015


Cheers to local sommelier Andrey Ivanov for winning the Young Sommeliers Midwest Regional Competition. The victory sends Ivanov to the final round of the 2015 Chaine des Rotisseurs’ Young Sommeliers Competition, which will take place May 14 and 15 in Santa Barbara, California. This marks Ivanov’s third year winning the Midwest regional round and third year advancing to the national competition, where the super somm tied for first place overall last year.

For this sommelier showdown, Ivanov spent half a day blindly tasting six wines and evaluating them in front of a panel of judges, performing a service test opening sparkling wine, performing a decanting of a red wine and participating in tableside wine pairing exercises. “It sounds really difficult, and it is, but after doing it a few times, I have an idea of what to expect so it’s really a lot of fun,” said Ivanov.

While Ivanov may claim the victory, another local, Brandon Kerne of Bar Italia Ristorante, also placed at the Midwest Regional competition. And in March, Kerne will vie for the title of TopNewSomm at a competition in Chicago. “St. Louis has made a name for itself on a national level, and our sommelier victories really reflect that,” said Ivanov. “We have a support team here. We study together, we learn together.” He noted that competitors for the Midwest region posted the highest scores among all regions in the Young Sommeliers theory category.

As Ivanov hits the books to prepare for finals, he’s also getting ready for the opening of chef Matt Daughaday’s new Reeds American Table in Maplewood where he will serve as beverage director. “I want to incorporate a solid American wine program while also reflecting St. Louis history with some French, German and Austrian influences,” Ivanov said of the wine list he is developing for Reeds.

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

The Scoop: Matt Daughaday to open Reeds American Table in Maplewood

Monday, February 9th, 2015



Chef Matt Daughaday is one step closer to opening his own restaurant. The former executive chef of Taste announced today, Feb. 9, that he plans to open Reeds American Table in Maplewood at 7322 Manchester Road, the space formerly occupied by Home Wine Kitchen. Daughaday said he could open doors as early as June, pending a successful finalization of the lease and the results of a liquor license hearing at the end of the month.

Daughaday said the multi-level space will require few changes. “It’s almost a turnkey situation,” he said. “I like the space the way it is. Stylistically, we’ll make it our own, but I don’t think it needs too much.”

Daughaday, whose middle name is Reed, said the restaurant’s moniker also alludes to “the meaning behind what a reed is … It can get blown over by a storm but stands up stronger.”

The initial Reeds team includes pastry chef Summer Wright and Andrey Ivanov, who recently left his post as wine director at Elaia and Olio. “I have a person to run the floor and front of the house,” Daughaday said. “This will give Andrey the ability to focus on the beverage program.”

The menu is still in the development stages, but Daughaday sees Reeds as “a family dinner sort of atmosphere” including a traditional lineup of soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and larger items that will be a continuation of his cuisine at Taste.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: Wine director Andrey Ivanov, bar manager John Fausz to leave Elaia and Olio

Monday, December 15th, 2014


{From left, John Fausz and Andrey Ivanov}


Things are shaking up behind the bars at Elaia and Olio. Wine director Andrey Ivanov and Olio bar manager John Fausz are leaving the sister restaurants in the next month, as reported by Feast.

Fausz, a member of the Ones to Watch class of 2011, said that after more than two years behind the bar at Olio, he was ready for a break. His last day is Dec. 31. “I don’t have anything solid planned,” Fausz said, “mostly just going to focus on taking some time off … do some traveling.”

Chef-owner Ben Poremba said Fausz has been training bartender Bess Kretsinger to fill the bar manager role. “Bess came along and they struck a great dynamic between the two of them,” Poremba said.

Fausz said while he doesn’t yet know what bar he will land behind, Poremba and Ivanov’s passion and knowledge have forever altered his work as a barman. “I feel like now for the first time I have a base in the culinary field and the drinking community,” he said. “Working with Ben was a huge honor. He has a really unique capacity to inspire a lot of hard work and creative work from people.” Fausz credits Ivanov for helping to channel his enthusiasm for spirits into the world of wine. “I was all about beer and cocktails and whiskey,” he said. “(Ivanov) sort of knew that he could unlock even more nerdy passion.”

Poremba said Ivanov would remain at the restaurants to help train staff through the last week of January, before he moves on to his next project: working with soon-to-be former Taste executive chef Matt Daughaday on his upcoming restaurant. Poremba does not know if he will replace Ivanov with another wine director. With a few other sommeliers on staff and the front of house at both Olio and Elaia under the direction of general manager Kara Flaherty, Poremba said that he will not rush into any decision yet. “The wine cellar is full, so I don’t have to hurry I can make smart decisions,” he said. “Whoever (it is) has some big shoes to fill.”

“It’s still going to be exciting,” said Poremba of the beverage programs at Elaia and Olio, which have been widely lauded for their eclectic and unique style. He envisions the programs to be “less idiosyncratic, probably a little more approachable, things anyone on my staff can understand.”

Ivanov and Daughaday did not immediately return requests for comment.

-Fausz photo by Carmen Troesser, Ivanov photo by Ashley Gieseking

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