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Mar 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Derek Northway’

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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The Scoop: Farmtruk’s Samantha Mitchell named executive chef at The Libertine

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017


{ Samantha Mitchell, Farmtruk chef-owner and new Libertine executive chef }


Big changes are afoot in The Libertine’s kitchen. Farmtruk chef-owner Samantha Mitchell has been tapped as the Clayton restaurant’s new executive chef.

The Libertine co-owner Nick Luedde said the change has been in the works for a while. “Matt (Bessler, former executive chef), has a project he’s been working on that he’s not quite ready to announce yet, so I’ve been looking around town to see who’s available,” he said. “I’ve had my eye on Samantha for a long time. She’s so smart and so together. She has a lot of great ideas. I’m super excited.”

Mitchell said she’s excited to return to the restaurant world. “I’m stoked,” she said. “I miss it; it’s who I am. It’s what I’ve done since I was a teenager. It’ll be nice to have a home base and get back to my roots.”



{ The Libertine chef de cuisine Wil Pelly } 


Mitchell’s arrival isn’t the only change in The Libertine kitchen. Sous chef Wil Pelly, formerly of Sanctuaria Wild Tapas and Sugarfire Smoke House, officially steps up as chef de cuisine. To round out the roster, Derek Northway, former executive chef at The Scottish Arms, joins the team as executive sous chef. Luedde said Mitchell and Norwood step up to the stoves full-time this week.

The Libertine recently debuted a new spring menu, so Mitchell will gradually add menu items over the next few weeks. Luedde said she will continue the restaurant’s focus on local, sustainable ingredients, but definitely put her own stamp on things.

But don’t despair, Farmtruk fans. Mitchell intends to continue as chef-owner of the truck and will still be onboard working the window three days a week. “I’ll just be working a lot of doubles,” she said.

Mitchell recently partnered with fellow food truck proprietor Paul Listenberger. The chef-owner of Steak Louie announced the opening of a food truck food court in South City in the former Annie Moons Bakery, which serves as a commissary kitchen for his truck, Farmtruk and Go! Gyro Go!

Mitchell said more changes were in store at The Libertine with a plan to introduce a “whole new format” – though she remained mum on the details.

Mitchell photo by Jonathan Gayman; Pelly photo by Jennifer Silverberg

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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