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Mar 18, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Ladley’

Longtime chef Joseph Hemp V steps down at Robust Wine Bar

Friday, January 19th, 2018



Chef Joseph Hemp V is leaving his post as executive chef of Robust Wine Bar and Snax Gastrobar. His last service will be Feb. 14.

Hemp began his tenure with Robust owners Stanley and Arlene Maminta Browne in 2012 as executive chef at the Robust Webster Groves location. He took over the kitchen at the downtown location in 2013, and then took the helm at sister restaurant Snax Gastrobar when it opened in September 2017.

“It just felt like the time,” Hemp said. “I love Stanley and Arlene. They’ve been a huge part of my life. But I’ve had the aching for something new.” Hemp doesn’t know exactly what that “something new” will be yet, and said he may even pursue opportunities outside of the restaurant industry.

“There’s part of me that’s ready to say ‘I’ve had a good run,’ and move on,” he said. “But I’ll always love cooking, every part of it. So maybe I’ll just take a step back from management and just enjoy cooking again. It’s a coin toss right now.”

Arlene Maminta Browne said Hemp will be sorely missed. “There’s not enough words to describe how amazing Joe is as a person and a partner,” said Maminta Browne. “He’s been so great for the organization and really grew us to another level. I’m going to miss him terribly.”

Maminta Brown said after Hemp’s departure, each restaurant will have its own head chef instead of one overall executive chef. Zach Dale, who is currently executive sous chef at Robust in Webster Groves, will become the executive chef at that location. Derek Northway, who came onboard at Snax last month after chef de cuisine Chris Ladley left for Nudo House, will run the kitchen there. Maminta Browne said the search is still ongoing for a head chef at Robust Downtown at The MX.

Hemp agreed with the new staffing arrangement. “I started when there was only one store. I worked out because I grew into the position,” he said. “I know the intricacies of everything, but to put that on somebody new is next to impossible. What works at Webster doesn’t work downtown, and what works downtown doesn’t work at Snax, so having one chef be able to spend their entire focus on one store – I think we’re going to end up with a greater product at the end.”

Photo courtesy of Robust Wine Bar

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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• Review: Snax Gastrobar


Sneak Peek: Snax Gastrobar in Lindenwood Park

Thursday, March 9th, 2017



Robust Wine Bar owners Stanley Browne and Arlene Maminta Browne open their first non-Robust project, Snax Gastrobar, tomorrow, March 10, at 3500 Watson Road. As The Scoop reported in December 2016, the new restaurant is opening in the space that most recently housed J. McArthur’s An American Kitchen.

Executive chef Joseph L. Hemp V, who oversees Robust’s kitchens downtown and in Webster Groves, and sous chef Chris Ladley, late of Quincy Street Bistro, have developed a menu Hemp describes as “global comfort food.” Dishes range from piquant Buffalo Balls (chicken and pork meatballs in a subtle Buffalo sauce), to simple roast chicken seared in cast iron. As one would expect from the folks behind Robust, there’s plenty of wine on hand (including a red and a white wine on tap), as well as cocktails and a wide selection of beers.

The restaurant seats around 65 inside with ample outdoor seating: 40 on the enclosed front patio and 25 on the open back patio. Snax will be open Tuesdsay to Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.


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Photos by Michelle Volansky

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The Scoop: Chef Chris Ladley to depart Quincy Street Bistro after two years

Friday, October 21st, 2016



After two years, Chris Ladley is departing Quincy Street Bistro. His final dinner service is today, Oct. 21. Ladley had been executive chef since Chris Tirone departed in November 2015.

Ladley said he plans to take a break from the fast-paced workload of a chef, take a vacation and help some of his friends with restaurant projects. “I just realized that I’m not getting any younger,” he said. “I’ve been at Quincy for two years now, and they’re at a really good place with the menu so I decided to take a little break,” he said. Ladley’s resume includes time as executive chef at Herbie’s Vintage ’72, as well as PastariaBrasserie and The Dubliner.

Ladley said Quincy Street Bistro owners Mike and Sue Enright will continue business as usual this weekend, and he anticipates a smooth transition to a new, yet-to-be-named chef. “A lot of people here have been here for years, and we’ve become this functional family, so I’m kind of bummed to leave, but at the same time I’m looking forward to recharging the batteries,” he said. “I’m stoked about the dining scene that has been evolving in the city, and I want to stay a part of it for sure.”

Co-owner Mike Enright declined to comment on the transition at this time.

The Scoop: Chris Ladley takes the reins at Quincy Street Bistro

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015



{Chris Tirone}

Chef de cuisine Chris Tirone has left the kitchen at Quincy Street Bistro, handing the reins to chef Chris Ladley. Tirone (a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch 2011 class) left in late November after two years at Quincy Street, where he helmed the kitchen after chef Rick Lewis left the South City bistro in March to open Southern. Ladley has worked at Quincy Street since September 2014.

“I’ll be running the kitchen, and we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said Ladley. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. We’ll keep cooking locally sourced, locally inspired food and give great service.”

After spending 15 years in kitchens, Tirone is training with U.S. Foods where he’ll stay involved in the industry, but from a sales perspective. “I wanted to try something new,” he said. “I wanted to learn more about the food industry, and after two weeks in training, it’s been eye-opening.”

Tirone said he’s learning the business side of the industry, including pricing and technology. “When I was a working chef, a lot of what I did was operations, working with my guys, getting things prepped,” he said. “Now I’m learning about technology that can help with inventory and order entry that can help restaurants.”

The List: 20 dishes, drinks, faces and places we love now – Part 1

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Each year, the Sauce editors compile an annual tribute to the dishes, drinks, people and places we love in The Lou: The List. Here, Part 1 of our 2015 lineup, featuring a badass kitchen crew, a farmers market fairy godmother, the best smartphone app ever, a smoky glass of comfort and the magical alchemy that is khao soi.

What’s on your list? Share with #TheSauceList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



{From left, Sam Gregg, Rick Lewis, Grant Twidwell, Kevin Ruck, Nick Vandas, Ari Ellis, Chris Ladley and Chris Tirone}


1. The Kitchen Crew at Quincy Street Bistro

On any given night, the music playing in the back of the house at Quincy Street Bistro ranges from “heavy metal and punk rock to Katy Perry and friggin’ classical music,” said Rick Lewis, Quincy Street’s executive chef and front man whose lineup of rock-star cooks nails every performance.

In Quincy Street’s kitchen, Nick Vandas and Paul Heinz handle the first set, with Vandas on morning prep and Heinz tackling lunch service. In the evening, you’ll find Chris Tirone expediting while Chris Ladley and Grant Twidwell tag-team on grill and saute and Dakota Kalb entertains entremets. Kevin Ruck keeps the oven and sandwiches under submission as Sam Gregg bangs out fries, and Ari Ellis plates like a drummer keeping the beat. Meanwhile, Lewis is ever moving – either on the pass or on the floor talking to QSB’s adoring fans.

Why would a bunch of folks with serious culinary cred – former exec chefs and sous from fine-dining restaurants – swap white cloths for the casual comfort of a South City bar and grill?

“Cooking is meant to be fun,” Lewis said. “The majority of these people probably got into this business because they enjoyed cooking and the camaraderie of the kitchen. We try to keep that as much as we can and play nice.”

It’s a lively kitchen playing a very nice rhythm, but a restaurant that’s churning out some of the very best food in town can’t always be just fun and games. The dinner rush brings a different tune. “We like to keep it pretty laid back until things are really popping. That’s when it gets down to business,” Lewis said. “We turn the music off.”

But now that Lewis is leaving QSB this month to team up with Mike Emerson of Pappy’s Smokehouse and open chicken spot Southern, the band will have to keep its beat without him. “They are all very accomplished, seasoned cooks and chefs. That transition there is going to be super easy,” Lewis said. “They’re just going to keep rocking and rolling.”   – L.F.




2. Smoking Mary at The Scottish Arms

When I find myself in times of trouble, Smoking Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, sip at me. No joke: This devilishly good batch o’ bloody at The Scottish Arms is concocted with a house-made mix of peat smoked tomato and celery and Benromach Peat Smoke Speyside single malt Scotch whisky. Sip slowly and take note of the spicy, smoky notes at play in this remarkably complex cocktail – before and after your hour of darkness goes away. – G.F.


3. Deborah Henderson at Midtown Farmers Market 

It’s a sunny Saturday morning in The Loop. Throngs of people stroll amiably, music drifts through the air, toddlers eat fruit popsicles in their strollers, and a farmer offers you a just-picked strawberry to sample. This sweet moment is brought to you by Deborah Henderson, the fairy godmother of farmers markets. “I get such satisfaction from the generations I interact with at the market,” she said, “from bringing in high school students as interns, to the 90-year-old patron that comes every week, to the new mother that didn’t miss her Saturday morning at the market, just days after giving birth.”

Beyond her unpaid, full-time job as manager of the Midtown Farmers Market and interacting with customers, Henderson wants to make these open-air markets successful for vendors and farmers. In 2012, she wrote and passed through legislation known as the Farmers Market Ordinance, which provides fair permitting fees and standardized food safety and sanitation codes for St. Louis County farmers markets. Then, Henderson created the Midwest Association of Farmers Markets, a nonprofit that promotes the local food movement through farmers markets and community programs. “We set a precedent in the state – so it can be a model for others if needed,” Henderson said.  – D.R.




4. Khao Soi at Fork & Stix

What is this sorcery in which otherwise unremarkable ingredients – egg noodles, cilantro, lime, yellow coconut curry, pickled mustard greens, red and green onions and your choice of protein – alchemize into perhaps the finest Thai dish in St. Louis? With khao soi’s harmonious ratio of cream, crunch, chew, sweet and savory, Fork & Stix’s northern Thai specialty demands to be ordered and reordered. Eat it with the accompanying soup spoon or slurp directly from the bowl. Table manners are no object at paranormal times like these.  – G.F.




5. The Drizly App

Never run out of alcohol at a dinner party again with the Drizly smartphone app, which is basically Amazon for booze. (We’ll pause now to let that marvelous-ness sink in.) You can order beer, wine and liquor and have it delivered to your door in less than an hour. Type in your address and this user-friendly app will pull the thousands of libations – organized categorically and alphabetically – available in your delivery area. Place your order and voilà, your party is revived without you so much as teetering from your hostess throne. Available for iPhone and Android. – J.C.

-Quincy Street photo by Ashley Gieseking, bloody mary photo by Sherrie Castellano, khao soi photo by Greg Rannells

The Scoop: Former exec chef at The Nest Chris Vomund joins culinary team at Herbie’s

Thursday, October 9th, 2014



Herbie’s Vintage 72 is seeing changes to its kitchen crew. Chris Vomund will join the team at the CWE restaurant Oct. 14. He will initially assume the position of chef de cuisine, but Herbie’s owner Aaron Teitelbaum said the goal is for Vomund to become the restaurant’s executive chef, replacing chef Chris Ladley, who left Herbie’s in September. Teitelbaum called Vomund “a solid cook” whose style suits the classical French cuisine at Herbie’s.

Previously, Vomund was executive chef at The Nest in Frontenac. Upon its closure this summer, he took an interim position as sous chef at 1111 Mississippi. His 12 years of restaurant experience also includes working as kitchen manager at Pi in the CWE, helping to open the Pi carryout location in Chesterfield and managing the kitchen at Hard Rock Cafe at Union Station.

“I’m looking forward to taking classical French and maybe incorporating a little of the great farm-fresh stuff we have in the Midwest,” Vomund said of his new position.

As for Ladley, who ran the kitchen at Herbie’s since March 2013, he has joined chef Rick Lewis’ culinary brigade at Quincy Street Bistro. In addition, he is butchering for The Block. “I spend my Wednesdays breaking down lots of pigs and Fridays doing the same thing with beef,” Ladley said. “It’s nice to have a life again and see my fiancee.”

The Scoop: Chris Ladley named exec chef at Herbie’s

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Chris Ladley has been hired as the executive chef at Herbie’s Vintage ’72. Yesterday was Ladley’s first official day at the restaurant, located at 405 N. Euclid Ave. Ladley joins the anchor restaurant in the Central West End having bid goodbye last weekend to Pastaria and The Dubliner, where he juggled jobs in both kitchens.

“I am stepping away from the kitchen,” said the restaurant’s co-owner Aaron Teitelbaum, who has helmed the back of the house at Herbie’s since purchasing the restaurant with business partner Jeff Orbin in 2008. “I will still be fully around, but Chris will be the executive chef,” said Teitelbaum, noting that he will be working side-by-side with Ladley until he “gets his feet wet.” Also teaming with Ladley will be sous chef Travis Odle.

{Chris Ladley, photographed at Herbie’s Vintage 72} 

Ladley, a St. Louis native, opened Wicked Lady Pub in October of 2010. When it closed some nine months later, he was hired to work at Brasserie and Taste; he also assisted with off-premise events for Niche. After a brief culinary-inspired trip to Paris in late 2011 and some time off, he returned to his hometown, accepting kitchen positions at The Dubliner and Pastaria. “So I’ve made the full Gerard Craft circuit,” chuckled Ladley. Being a frequent patron at Herbie’s, where his fiancee is a reservation manager, led to discussions with Orbin and Teitelbaum.

Teitelbaum emphasized that a change in the chef brigade does not mean a change in concept at Herbie’s. “Tradition is what has made us great. We are bringing Chris in to enhance and refine Herbie’s, but the concept and style and menu and the way that we operate will not change.”

Teitelbaum explained that the change will enable him and Orbin to “focus on building Monarch and improving the already great restaurant we have in Herbie’s.” Monarch, located at 7401 Manchester Road in Maplewood, closed as a restaurant last year and is now used as a private event space. “We’re working on the catering side of our company a little for 2013 because we want to start thinking of other projects in 2014,” said Teitelbaum. When asked if that meant another restaurant, he replied, “We are still unfocused on that right now. 2013 is about focusing on what we have and making it the best it can be.”

— photo by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: The Wicked Lady Pub to become The Parlour

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

082211_WickedLadyThe Wicked Lady Pub is re-branding itself as The Parlour, as reported today by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. According to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page, this will be the final week of business for the pub before it shuts down and reopens on September 9 under its new name.

The pub, located in the Bevo Mill neighborhood at 4534 Gravois Ave., will also undergo a change in management, bar staff, menu and décor. In addition, Chris Ladley, who served as the chef when we reviewed Wicked Lady this past April, has recently left the restaurant “to move on to further his career,” per a comment on Wicked Lady’s Facebook page. The new website, theparlourstl.com, is not yet up-and-running, though a Twitter handle for the new venue, @theparlourstl, is active. More as we learn it.

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