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Feb 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Darren Arabie’

Stepping up during Missouri deer season

Friday, November 15th, 2013



Fall holds a special place in the hearts of many Missouri hunters. For them, changing leaves and dropping temperatures mean the start of deer season is just around the corner. The firearms season begins tomorrow, Nov. 16, and St. Louis-area hunters have an opportunity to have their deer processed for free and donate to a good cause.

After the joy of tagging a trophy deer comes the arduous task of cleaning it. Approved local meat processors will clean deer for the annual Missouri Department of Conservation’s Share the Harvest. Hunters can donate part or all of their kill to the statewide program, which reimburses part of the processing fee. Approved shops then clean and package the meat to provide food to needy families. Last year, Missouri hunters donated more than 300,000 pounds of meat.

In previous years, local hunters had to foot part of processing bill in order to donate meat. However, this year Operation Food Search and the Denny Dennis Memorial Fund are picking up the remaining tab. For $7 (the cost of a tag for a doe), a St. Louis hunter can now help feed a family for months. Nearly a dozen meat processors in the St. Louis region are participating in Share the Harvest, including Kenrick’s Meats and Catering, John’s Butcher Shoppe, HMS Quality Meat Service and more.

If hunters don’t fare so well or the thought of killing a deer is too close to Bambi for comfort, Sharp Shooter in Afton will be a bulls-eye. The new indoor shooting range at 8101 Gravois Road boasts 20 shooting lanes, a 3,500-square-foot gun shop and a full-service barbecue restaurant. The Pit and Grill menu features a variety of smoked meats like pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked turkey and spicy sausages. Guests can catch the game on a big-screen TV or watch the action in the shooting range.



On the Line: Darren Arabie of Jilly’s Cupcake Bar and Café

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013



The executive chef isn’t the only person in the kitchen. In fact, the top toque will be the first to tell you that without the rest of the culinary brigade, the kitchen would go up in flames. In this new column, we chat with the men and women responsible for executing the dishes that land on your plate and get the inside story on life on the line.

Line cook (and Sauce intern) Darren Arabie, 24, has worked fast and furious at Jilly’s Cupcake Bar and Café under the direction of chef Dana Holland for three years. Here, he recalls the time he lost a fight with an industrial kitchen mixer that kept him off the line for three months and shares his favorite ways to break in new crewmembers.

“I was about to start a project …  so instead of setting up there and Dana coming in and moving me in few minutes … I’m just going to move to the other side of the table.  So I grabbed the [cart holding the] mixer and hit a little divot in the ground, and the mixer started to go. At first, I tried to catch it and realized, No way, it’s way too heavy for that… I realized it was going, and I tried to get out of the way and one of my feet did not make it. … Someone called [Dana] and let him know I had to go the hospital, and I think the first question he and [owner Jill Segal] and everyone asked was, ‘Well, how’s the mixer?’”

“You know the coffee makers that dispense really hot water to brew coffee? It’s never-ending hot water. You tell [a new server] at end of the shift, ‘We need you to empty out the hot water.’ So they get a pitcher, and they just keep going back and forth. It’s like tap water – it doesn’t stop. Eventually you have to tell them it doesn’t.  And if you have a walk-in cooler [you can] tell a new cook, ‘Why don’t you go get the clam legs?’ … People will just look and look and being new, they don’t want to come back and say, ‘I don’t know what that is. I can’t find it.’ So they just keep looking. It’s awesome – it never gets old.”

-photo by Michelle Volanksy



November in St. Louis: A whiskey lover’s dream

Monday, November 4th, 2013



“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” This sentiment, first uttered by Mark Twain, will be put to the test in November. St. Louis is host to four events sure to make whiskey-aficionados and the occasional bourbon drinker alike giddy. Each event features tastings and the inside scoop from whiskey-industry experts.

Whisky After Dark, a monthly whiskey pairing event at The Scottish Arms, takes place Nov. 7 from 8 to 11 p.m. This month, The Scottish Arms teams up with The Wine Merchant to pair five single malt Scotches with artisan cheeses. Tickets can be purchased at The Scottish Arms.

The Filson Bourbon Academy is coming to St. Louis Nov. 9. Bourbon historian Mike Veach, author of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage, leads this eight-hour class, beginning at 9 a.m. at Gamlin Whiskey House. The one-day bourbon academy features eight sessions covering topics from the origins of bourbon whiskey to understanding the evolution of early 20th-century bourbon to today’s spirit. Attendees will receive lunch and taste several different styles of bourbon and other American whiskeys. This event is limited to 40 people. Tickets can be purchased online.

Whiskeys Are Wild takes place Nov. 14 at Sanctuaria from 7 to 10 p.m. This event features 13 whiskeys paired with hors d’oeuvres created by executive chef Wil Pelly. Local whiskey expert Patrick Garrett, founder of bourbonbanter.com, will be a guest speaker. Tastings and punch bowls featuring Buffalo Trace and Heaven Hill whiskeys will also be served. Tickets are available online.

Whiskey in the Winter, takes place Nov. 23 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown St. Louis. The event offers unlimited tastings of more than 200 whiskeys from around the world.  Not only will whiskey, whiskey-cocktails and whiskey-inspired food stations be served, but there will also be an array of educational seminars. Several ticket options are available from general admission to VIP, which features a Golden Ticket that gives purchasers a chance to sample select rare whiskeys. Tickets can be purchased online.

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of Whiskey in the Winter and Whiskeys Are Wild.



Companion to celebrate 20 years with open house

Saturday, October 19th, 2013



Since 1993, Companion has provided St. Louis residents, groceries and restaurants with artisan breads and pastries. Owner Josh Allen started out in a small, 1,800-square-foot kitchen and with only one oven, began producing high-end European bread.  At first, Allen offered six different breads to choose from. Local restaurants and specialty stores recognized quality of the bread and began placing orders with Companion. Just two years after opening, St. Louis groceries Schnucks and Dierbergs started selling Companion baked goods. In 2007, USA Today named Companion one of the “Top 10 Artisan Bakeries” in the country.

Allen said he is thrilled to see his vision grow and become such an integral part of the St. Louis food scene. “We didn’t even know if we were going to make it six months,” Allen said. Since its humble beginnings, Companion has seen some big changes. The factory has expanded to 15,000 square feet, and Companion now has multiple locations and an ever-growing product line.

Some of Allen’s most enduring memories from the past 20 years come from “the continual support of the community.” To show its appreciation for the neighborhoods who support the bakery, Companion is hosting a 20th anniversary open house Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its factory at 4555 Gustine Ave. Festivities include family entertainment, bakery tours, children’s decorating stations, raffles, chef demonstrations, samples from other St. Louis micro-producers, and of course, lots of Companion bread and pastries. The open house is more than a celebratory shindig; it will also benefit the St. Louis Area Foodbank.



The Scoop: Family community center, restaurant The Nest to open in Frontenac

Thursday, October 17th, 2013



While most restaurant or event spaces cater to children or adults, Christina McHugh is hoping to break the mold with a new approach to family time: a modern community center, restaurant and membership club for families. Her space, aptly named The Nest, is set to open Dec. 2 at 10440 German Blvd., in Frontenac.

McHugh said her approach focuses not only on bringing families together, but also on making healthy food accessible to them. The multipurpose space will feature daily classes in yoga, dance, wellness, art and play for everyone from moms to infants to teenagers. Child care is also offered while while parents attend classes.

The Nest also will feature a full-service restaurant, a coffee bar and a daily high tea happy hour. McHugh said The Nest’s menu will be health-centered, focusing on fresh, internationally-inspired foods. Executive chef Chris Vommund will present tasty, healthy food to children and adults. The menu, which will accommodate vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free diets, will showcase local farmers, seasonal ingredients and bold flavors. Kids’ menu items include The Egg and Bacon Bunny, gluten-free house-made chicken tenders, and Ants on a Log. A Sunday brunch is also in the works, where parents can mingle with mimosas over large, “farm-style” tables while kids run around in The Nest’s indoor play forest and treehouse during the meal.



Two St. Louisans to compete in 2013 Pillsbury Bake-Off finals

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

100913_pilsbury{Kellie White’s Honey Sesame Bagels}


Before the rise of today’s celebrity chef, the unsung heroes of the homecooking world battled it out every year for a chance at super-stardom at The Pillsbury Bake-Off. Now in its 46th year, the national competition grants homecooks from across the country the opportunity to gain national recognition and a whopping $1 million grand prize.

Every year, thousands of contestants enter Pillsbury’s scrumptious competition, hoping to earn a spot among 100 finalists. The contest features three different categories: Amazing Doable Dinners, Simple Sweets and Starters, and Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts. Of the thousands who enter, only 33 are selected in each category to move to the final round.

This year, two St. Louis-area residents survived the preliminaries: Kathy Ferder of Lake St. Louis and Kellie White of Valley Park. Both women will compete in the elite final round Nov. 11 in Las Vegas. Ferder will compete in Simple Sweets and Starters with her Kickin’ Spinach and Cheese Bites, while White will enter her Honey Sesame Bagels in the Quick Rise and Shine Breakfast competition.

Check out what these homecooks can do for yourself; both recipes are available here and here.

-photo courtesy of Pillsbury


By the Book: Russ and Daughters’ Lox Chowder

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013



Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House that Herring Built, written by Mark Russ Federman, grandson of Russ & Daughters founder Joel Russ, is more than just a book of recipes.

If you’ve ever had a chance to visit Russ & Daughters, located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, you’ll know what I mean when I say that to know Russ & Daughters is to love Russ & Daughters. Federman acknowledges this when he writes, “It has been said that New York has a love affair with Russ & Daughters.” He then goes on to say, “It is equally true that Russ & Daughters is in love with New York and New Yorkers.”

In 1978, Federman took over the famed Russ & Daughters (an “appetizing” store, meaning “the food one eats with bagels” and not a deli, according to Russ & Daughters’ website). In 2009, Federman passed down the family business to a fourth generation of Russes, and in retirement, he decided to write the history of the store and a love letter to the community, the neighborhood and the city.

This book is primarily a collection of anecdotes, but there are some recipes interspersed throughout. Lucky for me, our office has a kitchen; even luckier, our intern Darren Arabie is a trained cook, so he helped me out with this column during one of our busier work weeks. To get us in the mood for fall, we decided on the recipe for lox chowder. Darren even brought his own knives!




Leeks haven’t had the best growing season this year and, currently, they are a bit scarce at the grocery store. In their place, Darren used the ribs of rainbow Swiss chard.




Instead of using heavy cream, we used half-and-half, but the chowder looked a little thin, so Darren thickened it with a flour slurry. Tada! It became the perfect chowder consistency.




With Darren’s help, the vegetables were cooked perfectly, and the smoked salmon added a rich flavor. He also advised me to top the chowder with a squirt of Sriracha, which added just the right amount of heat. Our only tip is to be careful with the salt. Since the smoked salmon already has a high salt content, be sure to use a low-sodium chicken stock and a light touch when adding salt to taste.

Lox Chowder
Courtesy of Russ & Daughters
4 to 6 servings

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, diced, white parts only (roughly 2 cups)
2 small stalks celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into ½ inch cubes (roughly 2 cups)
2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 cups whole milk
4 oz. smoked salmon, flaked (use collar and wings if possible)
¾ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Minced fresh chives, for garnish

• Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat.
• Add the leaks, celery and carrot and saute until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
• Add the garlic, potato and thyme and saute until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Be careful not to brown the garlic.)
• Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir well to create a dry roux.
• Stir in the wine, chicken stock and bay leaf, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer until the potato cubes are tender when pierced with a fork, 30 to 35 minutes.
• Stir in the milk and salmon and return the mixture to a gentle simmer (do not boil).
• Remove and discard the bay leaf.
• Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Garnish with minced chives.

Reprinted with permission from Schocken Books.

From Martha Stewart to Calvin Trillin, it seems like everyone in New York has their Russ & Daughters story from growing up. What local store or restaurant do you have fond memories of visiting ever since you were a kid? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Russ & Daughters by Mark Russ Federman. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Warren, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of Jewish Home Cooking by Arthur Schwartz. Warren, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.



Two St. Louisans earn ACS Certified Cheese Professional designation

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013



The American Cheese Society recently welcomed two local cheese professionals to its elite group of ACS Certified Cheese Professionals from the U.S. and Cananda. Vicki Decker Smith of Fox River Dairy and Melanie Coffey of Whole Foods in Town & Country were among the 132 industry professionals to pass this year’s rigourous exam.

The annual exam tests an individual’s knowledge and skills in all aspects of the cheese-making industry. It covers a broad range of cheese-related topics, such as raw ingredients, the cheese-making process, selecting distributors, regulations, sanitation and more. Once a member earns ACS CCP designation, they must actively participate in the cheese industry and earn recertification every three years. Recipients receive an official lapel pin, embroidered patch, certificate and the right to use the title ACS Certified Cheese Professional.

Decker Smith and Coffey are the latest to achieve this title, but they are not the only ones in Missouri. Diane Bruce and Andrew Fair, both of St. Louis, also are ACS CCPs.



Hyatt hosts kids’ healthy cooking contest

Thursday, July 25th, 2013



At a time when one in three children are considered overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch is promoting healthy eating for youth and families. The hotel chain announced the For Kids, By Kids Family Cook-off, a competition in which families create and share a healthy breakfast recipe. Families share their culinary creations on the Hyatt Facebook page, where people can vote for the favorite submitted recipe. A secondary panel consisting of the Hyatt food and beverage team and 12-year-old youth advocate and kid chef Halie Thomas will recreate the top five dishes to help pick the winner.

The winning dish will be featured on Hyatt’s “For Kids, By Kids” menu, and its creator will receive a trip for four to stay at any Hyatt location in the continental U.S., including airfare up to $2,000. The deadline for this kid-friendly culinary throwdown is July 31, and the five finalists will be unveiled Aug. 2. To learn more about the For Kids, By Kids Family Cook-off go to hyattfood.com or its Facebook page.



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