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Jan 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Cielo’

Meals That Changed My Life: Gian Nicola Colucci at Cielo

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017



Cielo executive chef Gian Nicola Colucci fell in love with food as a kid growing up in Turin, Italy. When he left Turin for the first time at 24 to work at Lidia Bastianich’s Felidia in New York, the city opened his eyes to foods and cultures he’d never experienced. Since then, he has worked at luxury hotels that have taken him all over the world and picked up influences from Capri to Hyderabad before landing at the Four Seasons in St. Louis. Here, he shares four meals from four countries that changed his life.

Turin, Italy
“My family [raised] rabbits. In Italy, the city where I grew up – Turin – rabbits are the famous ingredient. [My father] cooks rabbit with potato and tomato; it’s something unique, and today when I try to make it the same way it never comes out like his. I don’t know what he does to it. He doesn’t braise or anything – he puts all the ingredients together in a wood-burning oven, and 40 minutes later he takes it out and it’s perfect! Color, flavor, taste, texture, perfect. I say, ‘How you do that?’ and he says, ‘I don’t know.’

“I do the same – I don’t miss any ingredients – but the result is different. Then I try to sear the meat, roast the potato before, but some ingredients don’t completely cook or overcook; the color’s not there. I do it in the exact same oven. When he cooks, he doesn’t pay the attention I pay, but it’s perfect. Maybe one day he’ll tell me his secret. But it’s him – it’s just him. Food is really particular; a magic situation can happen from the beginning to the end, and even with the same ingredients different people give different results.”

Le Bernardin, New York, 1997
“We went to Le Bernardin – it was a kind of crazy moment of emotion. It was my first time in a three-Michelin star restaurant. What I remember is this parsnip truffle soup combined with escargot that was an explosion of flavor. The soup was creamy. Sometimes I joke with my guys that French people just [add] cream to make everything perfect. It was creamy, but the parsnip flavor was strong; a touch of garlic was there. The combination with the snails was amazing. That, for sure, is a plate you remember. When you do something correct, people come back for that plate. For that plate, I want to go back.”

Japan, 2011
“In Japan, I discovered matcha. Of course you can see this ingredient in the United States, but when you go there, you taste matcha in different kinds of items. I remember this matcha store where you can buy the tea, but you can taste [it in] their gelato, sweet items, cookies. That was really nice, to taste how one ingredient can be used in different items. There, I can tell you I tasted matcha in the right way.

“For chefs, it’s important to understand the ingredient, the flavor and how to use it in your style so that it makes sense, so everything is connected completely. Sometimes now in my gelato I use matcha tea; I use it in pastas. You can operate anywhere in the world if you’re able to open your mind, learn and accept different influences.”

Alain Ducasse, Monte Carlo, 2004
“We went out for dinner at Alain Ducasse in Monte Carlo at this beautiful hotel, Louis Cannes. It was a kind of dream to go there to eat. Each plate had a huge component of vegetables, but presented in a different way. At that time, vegetables for me were just a side. I realized that vegetables were the main ingredients – all the other components were the sides. Something changed in my mind – I never thought of that.

“He did a fillet of turbot (a flat fish, really common in Europe with a white, flaky meat, really sweet) with different roots, vegetables, foam, a base sauce and cream. The vegetables became the main component. The fish was there – it was OK, but all the components he put with different textures and combinations and consistency made the plate special, unique. From that moment, I said, ‘I want to change my concept.’ I continue today to increase vegetables in my plates.”

Illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

Meera Nagarajan is art director at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
Sauce Magazine: November 2017

• Meals That Changed My Life: Mike Randolph

• Meals That Changed My Life: Christy Augustin

Extra Sauce: 4 bottomless brunches for any beverage

Thursday, July 27th, 2017



Some people go to brunch for the atmosphere. Some go for the food. Others go for the booze. While bottomless brunches abound in St. Louis, these four restaurants offer creative options in all-you-can-drink proportions.

1. Build-Your-Own
Herbie’s offers an unlimited build-your-own bloody mary bar for $18 Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Choose the house bloody mary mix or start with a clean booze-free slate with plain tomato juice, then customize with hot pepper-infused vodka and crispy bacon, among other boozy and edible options.

2. Rosé All Day
Wheelhouse takes bottomless mimosas to the next level. Not only can you get a classic OJ and sparkling combo, but also a rosé-mosa, made with rosé, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice, and the seasonal frozé (aka, a frozen rosé-mosa). Try them for $15 each on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

3. Shake It Off
Cielo Restaurant and Bar offers a bottomless bloodys and mimosas, but it’s the unlimited boozy milkshakes that we’re really after. Options like a vanilla bean milkshake with bourbon topped with smoked cinnamon vary weekly. Get your hands on them Sundays during Cielo’s brunch buffet (which includes drinks) for $68.

4. Treat Yo’ Self
Reeds American Table makes its bottomless mimosas fancy by using Saint Hilaire Blanquette De Limoux sparkling wine, which is regarded as one of France’s oldest sparkling. Experience it Saturdays and Sundays between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There’s a 90-minute limit on bottomless consumption, but for $17, we aren’t complaining.

Micki Wagner is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
Best of Brunch 2017

Extra Sauce: Three new brunches to try this month


The Scoop: Scapegoat to open in former Crepes Etc. space

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016



{Scape and Scapegoat chef Shimon Diamond}

Scape American Bistro is getting a little sister when Scapegoat opens in the former Crepes Etc. space at 52 Maryland Plaza in the Central West End next month. The 40- to 50-seat tavern will share Scape’s expansive courtyard and will serve up small bites, sharable plates and classic cocktails.

At the helm for both Scape and Scapegoat is Shimon Diamond, a 17-year industry veteran most recently of Cielo. Diamond launched a new menu at Scape on Friday, April 8 that reflects his philosophy of emphasizing locally and thoughtfully sourced, Midwest-focused fare.

“We’re getting serious about what it means to be an American Bistro with Midwest influence,” Diamond said. “We’ve got it all here in the Midwest. Let’s use those ingredients and make food that’s approachable but has some elegance to it.”

At Scapegoat, look for small bites and sharable plates featuring ingredients from Such and Such Farm, Missouri lamb from Root & Holler, Ozark Forest mushrooms and more. The butcher board will feature house-made charcuterie like pastrami and gravlax made with gin-cured salmon.

The cocktail menu will focus on classic cocktails. “We’ll have favorites like the Manhattan and Gin and Tonic done really well,” Diamond said. Scapegoat will be open from Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. when doors open in May.

Guide to Drinking 2014: Trendwatch – Part 2

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014


Did you miss Part 1 of our Trendwatch? Click here for more about the latest trends in the beverage world, part of our annual Guide to Drinking.


5. Drinking Weed: Some people mow down dandelions. Others eat them. And then there are those who use the plant for booze. Following the national trend of using foraged ingredients for housemade elixirs, The Fortune Teller Bar on Cherokee Street has concocted a house-made dandelion tincture that adds vegetal tang to a reverse martini called Summer Switch No. 2. Meanwhile, look for the release by mid-October of Lion’s Tooth, a dandelion liqueur made with dandelion roots and Crown Valley brandy. The liqueur is a collaboration between Water Street in Maplewood and the Ste. Genevieve distillery.

6. The Spirit of Korea Takes Flight: Soju, the best-selling alcohol in the world, is making a splash in the Gateway City. The Korean spirit distilled from rice is traditionally consumed straight, but from London to NYC to San Francisco, bartenders are mixing the low-alcohol liquor into everything from aperitifs to slushies. Locally, The Purple Martin bar manager Joel Clark prepared herb-steeped soju for a multi-course Asian-themed dinner held this summer at the Fox Park bar and restaurant.

7. Day Beer Believers: Brewers have answered the call for beer that you can drink and drink some more. It’s out with the double and triple IPAs and in with sessionable suds. We’re familiar with Schlafly Sessions IPA and Founders All Day IPA, but in the last year, we’ve also seen Stone Go To IPA, Goose Island Endless IPA, Lagunitas DayTime IPA and Boulevard Pop-Up Session IPA arrive on the scene.

8. Choose Your Own Booze Adventure: Has it been years since you had your nose in a Choose Your Own Adventure book? Time to join the adult version of that club. Lots of bars around town are offering build-your-own cocktails, and no matter your poison, there’s a drink adventure in store for you. If gin is your thing, build your own G&Ts at The Gin Room at Cafe Natasha’s. At Bar Italia, you can have your spritz – a classic northern Italian combination of amaro and prosecco – just the way you like it (and if you head there during happy hour for 5 O’Clock Spritz, you’ll get free plates of antipasti). At Boogaloo, they’re still building mojitos your way through September; then it gives way to a maze of Manhattans. Finally, at Cielo, you can build your favorite cocktail using its house barrel-aged spirits.

9. Alpine Aperitif: Génépy, the alpine herbal liqueur reminiscent of green Chartreuse, has jet-setted from French ski resorts to St. Louis bars. For a taste of the French liqueur, head to Small Batch and order Bright, which features genepy with rye whiskey, house-made wormwood bitters, lemon and cava. At Taste, you’ll get génépy when you order Gimme Samoa, a combination of rum, cognac, génépy, crème de cacao, pineapple and lime juice. Meanwhile, bartenders at Planter’s House are génépy-happy with drinks like Eight is Enough and Unusual Suspects.





Guide to Drinking 2014: Trendwatch – Part 1

Monday, September 15th, 2014



1. Cherry Bomb: Cherry is the lush’s fruit of the moment, and choices abound. There’s Kasteel Rouge cherry beer, St. Louis Kriek lambic, Original Sin cherry cider, Berentzen wild cherry liqueur and Montelle Winery cherry brandy, winner of a best of class and a gold medal in the distilled product category at the recent 2014 Missouri Wine Competition. Mikkeller’s one-off lambic Spontan Cherry Frederiksdal is long gone, but beer lovers can look forward to the December or January release of 4 Hands Cuvee Diable, a barrel-aged version of its sour cherry saison, Prunus.

2. The Art of the Tonic: You can stop for a housemade soda at loads of bars around town. For a different journey, jump on the artisan tonic train. Among Juniper’s mocktails, dubbed “sparklers,” you’ll find the option of a house tonic syrup doctored with dashes of nonalcoholic plum, grapefruit and cherry bitters topped with fizzy sparkling water. Meanwhile, in Lake Saint Louis, the bar crew at BC’s Kitchen has taken a page from the cook’s book by whipping up à la minute gin and tonics with the help of a soda siphon. Finally, at The Gin Room at Cafe Natasha’s, home to a number of house tonics, tonic-making is such an art that they are offering tonic-making workshops beginning Sept. 24.

3. Strange Syrups: If you think the flavor wheel for vodka is out of control, take a look at the current syrup spectrum. Among the wild and whacky scratch syrups claiming space behind local bars, we’ve seen smoked corn at Juniper, Sriracha-honey at Cielo and toasted celery seed-fennel syrup at Taste. House syrups are also getting pumped into boozy (or not) snow cones at newly opened Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.; with chef-owner Kevin Nashan as the mad scientist behind this project, there’s no telling what offbeat syrup might get cooked up.

4. Coffee and Tea Get a Green Card: Coffee and tea have migrated onto cocktail menus in the last few years. But now it’s official: they are citizens of the cocktail menu. You’ll find tea taking up residence at Cielo (in Earl Grey Chaos, a combination of an Earl Grey-black pepper infused gin, limoncello, lemon juice and simple syrup served on Earl Grey ice cubes), at Juniper (in Tennis With Hemingway, a mixed drink that uses tea syrup with gin and yellow chartreuse) and in the tea cocktails at newly opened MaryAnn’s Tea Room in the Central West End. Java addicts who need a jolt of caffeine in more than their morning brew can get their fix with cocktails featuring cold-brew coffee at Planter’s House, Taste and Small Batch. And this month, those riding the latest wave in the coffee world will want to hit up Blueprint Coffee for its debut nonalcoholic coffee cocktail menu.

Don’t miss Part 2 of Trend Watch tomorrow, Sept. 16!

-photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: Bar and restaurant manager Cory Cuff to leave Cielo for Houston

Thursday, September 4th, 2014


{Orange shrub by Cory Cuff}


Cocktail aficionados in the Lone Star State will soon have new talent shaking up its cocktail scene: Cielo bar and restaurant manager Cory Cuff has accepted a position as the operations manager at Four Seasons Hotel Houston. His last day at Cielo is Sept. 26. “It’s an amazing opportunity,” he said. “I’ll miss all the friends I’ve made in St. Louis, but I’m happy that Houston is the next step.”

Cuff, who joined the Four Seasons – St. Louis team in May 2011, said his new responsibilities will involve coordinating the hotel’s culinary and beverage services, like banquets, room service, poolside dining and more. He also looks forward to taking Houston’s bar program to the next level. “I can’t wait to drive that home like I did for Cielo, to build on what I’ve learned here and grow it in a new market,” he said.

While he’s excited for the next step in his career, Cuff said he will miss the rising St. Louis culinary scene. “This city is on the upward swing with food and beverage, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like in five years,” he said. “Not just Cielo, but everything from amazing talents of Ted and Jamie Kilgore (of Planter’s House) to Kevin Nashan (of Sidney Street Cafe and Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.) and Gerard Craft (of Niche Restaurant Group) and the next generation as well.”

This is the second change-up among Cielo’s staff this year. Chef Gian Nicola Colucci took the kitchen’s helm in April after Fabrizio Schenardi left for a position at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World. Cuff and the Four Seasons – St. Louis staff are currently reviewing candidates to fill his position here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Best of Brunch: Best of Bottomless Drinking

Thursday, June 19th, 2014


{The Bloody Ghost, a bottomless option at Gamlin Whiskey House}


You survived Saturday night. Still up for a few more? If you find yourself with a hollow leg come Sunday, we recommend the bottomless cocktails here for taste and price.

Vin de Set
Head upstairs to slake your mimosa yen, and since you’re there, try the Kir Royale, a sophisticated pour of Champagne and crème de cassis, a liqueur made with blackcurrants.
$12 for bottomless mimosas; $1 extra per drink for other Champagne cocktails. 2017 Chouteau Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.8989, vindeset.com
Sun. – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Jax Cafe
Your ticket to the brunch buffet also earns you one on the mimosa gravy train. All aboard!
$22, includes brunch and bottomless mimosas. 2901 Salena St., St. Louis, 314.449.1995, jax-cafe.com
Sun. – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Gamlin Whiskey House
In our February Nightlife column, we liked the Bloody Ghost – pepper-infused Jacob’s Ghost white whiskey and Zing Zang – so much we’re mentioning it again. Our favorite part? It’s bottomless on Sundays.
$28. 236 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.875.9500, gamlinwhiskeyhouse.com
Sun. – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Scottish Arms
You’re committed for 90-plus minutes to that soccer game – order yourself a generously poured bottomless mimosa while you watch the match in this classic pub atmosphere.
$15. 8 S. Sarah St., St. Louis, 314.535.0551, thescottisharms.com
Sun. – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Central Table Food Hall
With unlimited mimosas and unlimited bloody marys, this popular Central West End spot is a shoo-in for a hang-loose Sunday brunch.
$15. 23 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.932.5595, centraltablestl.com
Sun. – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It doesn’t get any more elaborate – or delicious – than Cielo’s bottomless bloody mary bar, otherwise known as Mary Mayhem. Choose from about a dozen infused spirits, six different flavors of ice cubes and countless garnishes.
$12. 999 N. Second St., St. Louis, 314.881.2105, cielostlouis.com
Sat. and Sun. – 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

The Scoop: Chef Gian Nicola Colucci takes the helm at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis

Thursday, April 17th, 2014



{Chef Gian Nicola Colucci}

Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis recently announced the appointment of Gian Nicola Colucci as its new executive chef. Colucci will oversee all the hotel’s culinary operations, including its fine dining Italian restaurant, Cielo Restaurant & Bar.

A native of Turin, Italy, Colucci holds 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Most recently, he worked as executive chef at Resort Danieli in Venice, Italy. Prior to that, he was executive sous chef at Four Seasons Hotel Canary Wharf in London.

Colucci replaces chef Fabrizio Schenardi, who recently departed from the downtown luxury hotel for Florida. As The Scoop reported in December, Schenardi accepted a position at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, slated to open this summer.

“Chef Schenardi was very involved in the local culinary scene and will be greatly missed, but we know that chef Colucci will continue his great work in the community,” said Alper Oztok, general manager at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. “Chef Colucci is a culinary talent that will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to Cielo and the Four Seasons Hotel.”

-photo courtesy of Four Seasons St. Louis

6 St. Louis Patios to Welcome Spring

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Patio season has officially arrived, and after a brutal winter, we’re ready eat, drink and play al fresco. Last year, you named Vin de Set‘s stunning rooftop spot your favorite patio during the 2013 Readers Choice Awards. Here, a view of what you’ll see this weekend, plus your 5 other top picks:


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This week, Catherine Klene is obsessed with…

Thursday, January 30th, 2014


{You know what every good game night needs? A brewery. Civil Life Brewing Co., has a way to entertain everyone, from the stack of New Yorker magazines and books to the dartboard and ring tossing games. My friends and I dive straight for the shelf of board games. School your friends in Bananagrams, show off your arcane knowledge of 1980s trivia during Trivial Pursuit, or play the fanciest game of Connect Four you’ve ever seen. Loser buys the next round of Northern English Browns.}




{I fell in love with bourbon this year, and I fell hard. Starting last October, you couldn’t get me to order anything but a Manhattan, Old-Fashioned or Sazerac. But the new year has ushered in a craving for a lighter, clean-tasting spirit that would still hold up in the dead of winter. Enter Thyming Is Everything by Cielo bartender Michael Cook. This sweet pink sipper of raspberry- and thyme-infused vodka, lemon juice and ginger syrup is light and refreshing but still strong enough to suit my happy hour needs.}  




{No trip to visit my family in Traverse City, Mich., is complete without a stop at Cherry Republic. This shop celebrates the state’s signature crop in every way imaginable. Jams, jellies and chocolate-covered cherries are just the tip of the iceberg. It also sells cherry wine, cherry-spiked sausages, cherry coffee and much more. But my favorite is the cherry salsa, which holds the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. I love serving it with corn chips and having people  guess exactly what it is.} 


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