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Jan 21, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Four Seasons St. Louis’

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

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

The Scoop: Heritage BBQ by Cochon returns to St. Louis Sept. 14

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014


{From left, Blackberry Farm’s Michael Sullivan, 2013 Cochon competing chefs Fabrizio Schenardi, Gerard Craft, SPQR’s Matthew Accarrino, Kevin Willmann, Kevin Nashan and Cochon founder Brady Lowe}


Pork lovers, rejoice! Heritage BBQ by Cochon is returning to St. Louis this year. The national tour that celebrates heritage breed hogs will take place Sept. 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel-St. Louis. Cochon founder Brady Lowe brought his Heritage BBQ to town for the first time last year, and his 2014 ‘cue fest is set to be even bigger.

The main attraction at the event is a whole hog barbecue competition. Five area chefs will each cook up a 200-pound heritage breed swine to create six dishes judged by a panel of local industry professionals. The lineup of competing chefs is: Gian Nicola Colucci (executive chef, Four Seasons – St. Louis), Eric Heath (chef and co-owner, Cleveland-Heath), Patrick Connolly (executive chef, Basso), Josh Galliano (chef and co-owner, The Libertine) and Lou Rook III (executive chef, Annie Gunn’s).

But the pig-crazed can dine on more than competition barbecue. New this year is Barbecue Traditions, during which area meat moguls will serve a dish exemplifying their take on barbecue paired with wines, bbers or spirits. Look for Mike Emerson of Pappy’s Smokehouse and Chris Bolyard of soon-to-open Bolyard Meat & Provisions to be among those educating eaters on barbecue culture. Other food attractions will include a pop-up butcher shop featuring Andrew Jennrich of soon-to-open The Butchery, a tartare bar with edible delights by Creekstone Farms, a cheese spread by Rogue Creamery and ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

Even though there will be pound upon pound of tender, juicy meat prepared every which way, libations aren’t an afterthought. Festival-goers will can partake in top-tier bourbons, Crispin ciders, wines, mezcals and Goose Island beers, including its rare Bourbon County brews.

VIP tickets are $200 and include a 4 p.m. early admission, as well as access to reserve wines and spirits. General admission tickets are $100; tickets available online.

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of this event.

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

This week, Ligaya Figueras is obsessed with…

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014


{Few people make me laugh like Stephen Wancha, the gregarious food and beverage director at The Four Seasons St. Louis. His hotel stories have had me doubled over (even when I didn’t have a glass of wine in hand), particularly those of a childhood spent running amok in the resort hotels his dad managed. Clearly, hospitality runs in the family. This is Wancha’s last week in The Lou; he’s leaving town for a Four Seasons gig in Florida. I’ll miss you, Wancha!}




{My husband listens to everything author and blogger Timothy Ferriss, aka 4-Hour Body Guy, says. And Ferriss said yes to the AeroPress, so our bulky espresso machine is collecting dust in the basement while I make coffee in record time and build arm muscle from all that plunging. Hey, Tim! How about a yes to the Hario V60?}




{Live performances at Tavern of Fine Arts are my solution for getting cultured without: dealing with MetroTix; wrestling the guy next to me for armrest rights; sitting perfectly still for two hours; and listening to my stomach growl. At this intimate venue, I can enjoy the performances of singers, pianists, string quartets and even flamenco dancers, while I eat and drink on the comfy sofa in back.}

Gear up for epic pork-fest Heritage BBQ by Cochon

Monday, August 5th, 2013



Get your piggy bib on: The Heritage BBQ by Cochon is just a few weeks away. The Scoop announced in March that Cochon, a national event series focused around heritage breed hogs, would be coming to St. Louis. Heritage BBQ, taking place Aug. 25 at the Four Seasons St. Louis, is a competition and an eating extravaganza.

For the competition, five chef teams are challenged to utilize a whole heritage breed pig. Each team will showcase the whole hog in six distinct dishes: four meats and two sides. The winner receives $1,500 to donate to a charity or farm of their choosing, a stash of Cochon specially-selected, cask-strength Four Roses Bourbon, a keg of Cochon Edition “BBQ King” from Anchor Brewing and a CVap Pod from Winston Industries. The lineup of competing chefs is: Fabrizio Schenardi (executive chef of the Four Seasons St. Louis), Kevin Nashan (chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe), Kevin Willmann (chef-owner of Farmhaus), Gerard Craft (chef-owner of Niche, Brasserie, Taste and Pastaria) and Matthew Accarrino (executive chef, SPQR in San Francisco).

But Heritage BBQ is more than just watching chefs mess with meat. There will be 1,200 pounds of pork and loads of other edibles for an anticipated crowd of 400 to feast on, along with a slew of libations – everything from bourbon to beer to Fernet Branca. VIP tickets are priced at $200 and receive a 5 p.m. early admittance. General admission tickets are $125, with an entrance time of 5:55 p.m. Purchase tickets here.

Looking to make it a full-on pig-out weekend? Attend the Heritage BBQ kick-off dinner Aug. 24 at Cielo at Four Seasons St. Louis. Fabrizio Schenardi will prepare a four-course dinner during which guests can toast heritage breed pigs with Cochon founder Brady Lowe and chef Accarrino. Dinner, including wine pairings, is $88 per person, and seating is limited. To make a reservation, contact Cielo.




UPDATED: Cochon Tour and Celebrity Chef Tour coming to St. Louis, Four Seasons to host both events

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Food enthusiasts, mark your calendars! Cochon and the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour are both coming to St. Louis this year. This marks the first time that the pork-tacular Cochon will hit the Gateway City, and the second time in two years that St. Louis has landed on the Celebrity Chef Tour circuit.

Founded in 2008, Cochon is a national event series focused around heritage breed hogs. Cochon brings the public in conversation with top chefs, farmers and others in the food community who support a more sustainable food system.

Cochon-St. Louis will be held Sunday, August 25, at the Four Seasons, St. Louis and hosted by Cochon founder Brady Lowe. Participating chefs include: Fabrizio Schenardi (executive chef of the Four Seasons, St. Louis), Kevin Nashan (chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe), Kevin Willmann (chef-owner of Farmhaus), Gerard Craft (chef-owner of Niche, Brasserie, Taste and Pastaria), and a mystery guest – a celebrated chef from outside of St. Louis – whose identity will be revealed at a later date. A total of 550 tickets will be available for this event. ***Update: Tickets are now available for purchase and cost $125 for general admission and $200 for VIP. Find them here.***

Looking for a more intimate Cochon experience? On Saturday, August 24, the Four Seasons is hosting a special meet and greet dinner at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant Cielo, which will feature dishes prepared by Lowe, Schenardi and the mystery chef. The four-course, all-inclusive meal costs $85 a person. To nab one of the 100 seats available for this event, make a reservation at Cielo.

The Celebrity Chef Tour is an on-the-road version of a dinner at the James Beard House, which is the “perfomance space” in New York City for visiting chefs. Last year, the event took place at Sidney Street Cafe. This year, the Four Seasons will host the event, slated for Thursday, September 19. Although the lineup of the seven or eight participating chefs is still being finalized, the following chefs are confirmed: Fabrizio Schenardi, Kevin Nashan, Kevin Willmann, Lou Rook (chef of Annie Gunn’s), Mark Richardson (executive chef for the Four Seasons, San Francisco and former chef of the now defunct Aujourd’hui in Boston) and Jeffrey Wurtz (executive pastry chef at Le Cirque in New York City). Tickets for the all-inclusive dinner cost $160 a person and will be available for purchase here. Approximately 170 tickets, which go on sale in late April, are available for the event.

An added bonus will be a cocktail reception held Wednesday, September 18, on the terrace of the Four Seasons Hotel. Tickets are $65 a person and include an evening of cocktails, wine and appetizers while you mingle with the participating celebrity chefs. A total of 125 tickets are available for the event. Reserve yours now by calling Cielo.

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