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Sep 01, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘Food & Wine’

The Scoop: Duff’s in the CWE to become Italian gastropub by “crazy kitchen” guys Baldanza and Haifley

Monday, June 10th, 2013

{Expect to find twists on classic pasta dishes at Cucina Pazzo.}

Karen Duffy took a chance when she opened Duff’s in the Central West End back in 1972. The risk paid off and the restaurant, located at 392 N. Euclid Ave., has been a vital part of the neighborhood for more than 40 years. Last December, regulars sighed heavily when Duffy announced that she was selling the business, and it will be a bittersweet moment when doors close at Duff’s on June 23. But the pending closure isn’t met entirely with tears, because another restaurant is already slated to fill the space.

As St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe reported, restaurateur Brant Baldanza, along with his partners behind The Tavern Kitchen & Bar, The Corner Pub & Grill and The Shack, will be taking over the space with plans to open an Italian gastropub called Cucina Pazzo.

Cucina Pazzo translates to “crazy kitchen.” At the helm will be Justin Haifley, executive chef at The Tavern and the mind behind the menu at The Shack. “He’ll have traditional pastas and paninis but with a huge Justin Haifley twist,” said Baldanza. “Not to be cliché, but Justin is always about ‘expect the unexpected,’” he added, noting that dishes at Cucina Pazzo will be spins on classics found throughout various regions in Italy and that the menu will change in accordance with the seasons. Baldanza also expressed his enthusiasm that Haifley is “locked in for the next five years with this restaurant.” “A lot of people knocked on Justin’s door” after his nomination this year for Food & Wine’s magazine’s People’s Best Chef: Midwest, explained Baldanza. “He decided to stay and do another restaurant in St. Louis.”

As for the space, Baldanza wants “to keep the place as nostalgic as possible,” although it will see numerous changes. A portion of the current dining area at Duff’s will be transformed into an open kitchen similar to that at The Tavern with hopes of achieving the same “central focus and energy.” The wood floor and oak wainscot in the current bar area at Duff’s will remain, while a side room will be transformed into a dining section bedecked in “New York flair,” complete with dark wood and leather booths. Floor-to-ceiling windows will replace the building’s current façade walls, bringing in bright, natural light. “We’ll open the front of the building as much as possible – while keeping up code with the Central West End – to what the original was,” said Baldanza. Construction is expected to begin in mid-July, with an opening targeted for late October or early November.



The Scoop: Sidney Street Cafe pastry chef Robert Zugmaier nominated for The People’s Best New Pastry Chef by Food & Wine

Monday, April 1st, 2013


Robert Zugmaier, pastry chef at Sidney Street Cafe, is in the running for Food & Wine magazine’s The People’s Best New Pastry Chef in the Central Region category. Zugmaier, a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2013, is up against 16 other pastry chefs in the region.

Go here to submit your vote and bring this sweet award to St. Louis. Voting begins today and runs through April 8.

— Photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: Cassy Vires and Justin Haifley in running for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef: Midwest

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Two area chefs – Cassy Vires, chef-owner of Home Wine Kitchen, and Justin Haifley of The Tavern Kitchen & Bar – are in the running for Food & Wine magazine’s People’s Best New Chef: Midwest. The award, which the magazine launched in 2011, is based on a people’s vote (as opposed to one by the magazine’s editors). Vires and Haifley are pitted against eight other chefs in the region.

This is Haifley’s first appearance on the list and Vires’ second time to be in the running for the honor. Last year, the title went to St. Louis’ own Josh Galliano.

Go here to submit your vote and keep the medal in St. Louis. Voting begins today and runs through March 18.

Two local chefs in running for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef: Midwest

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Two area chefs – Josh Galliano of Monarch and Cassy Vires, chef-owner of Home Wine Kitchen – are in the running for Food & Wine magazine’s People’s Best New Chef: Midwest. The award, which the magazine launched last year, is based on a people’s vote (as opposed to one by the magazine’s editors). Galliano and Vires, whose restaurants are just steps from one another in downtown Maplewood, are the only two Missouri chefs to be nominated.

Galliano was one of the three St. Louis chefs in the running for the honor in 2011, but this is Vires’ first appearance on the list. No local chef made the final list last year.

Want to see this medal awarded to a hometown favorite? Go here to submit your vote. Voting begins today and runs through March 11.



The Scoop: Memphis celeb chef Kelly English to open steakhouse at Harrah’s (updated)

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

060211_KelyEnglishMemphis celebrity chef Kelly English is expanding his culinary brand to St. Louis. The chef, who opened Restaurant Iris in Memphis in 2008 and was named by Food & Wine magazine among the best new chefs of 2009, is opening a steakhouse at Harrah’s St. Louis Casino and Hotel in the space currently occupied by The Range Steakhouse.

Kelly English Steakhouse will feature Southern-style recipes that also showcase the Louisiana native’s French-Creole influences. The restaurant is expected to open later this year, but no target date has been announced.

Update: A representative of Harrah’s St. Louis Casino and Hotel has informed The Scoop that the target opening date for the new steakhouse is October 17.

Kevin Willmann named among 2011 Best New Chefs by Food & Wine Magazine

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

040511_kwA Saucy congratulations to Kevin Willmann! The chef-owner of Farmhaus is one of 10 chefs across the country named a 2011 Best New Chef today by Food & Wine Magazine, according to the Post-Dispatch’s Joe Bonwich and Evan Benn.

Since leaving Erato on Main and opening his own restaurant in South City early last year, Willmann has drawn plenty of praise from the culinary community. This year, he garnered a semifinalist nomination for a James Beard Foundation Award in the Best Chef: Midwest category as well as a nomination for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef for the Midwest region, a new award that’s voted on by the public.

The annual Best New Chef award, as described on Food & Wine Magazine’s Web site, honors “exceptionally talented men and women who are pushing culinary boundaries in America.” Willmann joins the ranks of local chef Gerard Craft, who was bestowed the honor in 2008. The complete list of winners will be announced today at 5 p.m. Eastern.

All of our coverage of Kevin Willmann

— Photo by Brian Fagnani

Craft country

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Recipes from St. Louis superstar Gerard Craft grace more than 10 gorgeous pages of the April issue of Food & Wine magazine. In the spread, the chef and owner of Niche Restaurant in Benton Park made lunch for several big names in Napa Valley wine, including Randy Dunn of Dunn Vineyards, Beringer’s Laurie Hook and Beth Novak Milliken of Spottswoode. Craft created scrumptious spring dishes such as Asparagus and Ricotta Toasts, Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Almond-Mint Pesto, and Roasted Radishes with Radish Greens. Click here for the article and recipes.

A (Mount) Pleasant surprise

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

The March issue of Food & Wine is out – and inside we stumbled across a shout-out to Mount Pleasant Winery’s 2001 Norton. F&W wine columnist Lettie Teague describes this big red as “quite appealing, with notes of cherry and spice and a lively acidity.” We’ll let the rest of the article, which quotes Mount Pleasant president Chuck Dressel, be a surprise.

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