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Posts Tagged ‘Heather Hughes’

Sneak Peek: Vicia in Midtown

Monday, March 20th, 2017

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More than a year after announcing their move to St. Louis, Michael and Tara Gallina’s highly anticipated Vicia opens for lunch this Wednesday, March 22 in the Cortex Innovation District at 4260 Forest Park Ave. Dinner service will debut on Tuesday, March 28.

The Gallinas, both alums of the internationally acclaimed Blue Hill at Stone Barns, made news in October 2015 when they announced a return to Michael Gallina’s hometown to open a seasonally driven, vegetable-forward restaurant where he would serve as executive chef and Tara Gallina as general manager.

The 2,500-square-foot space features a 14-seat bar, an exposed kitchen and a covered patio, all separated from the main dining room by walls of windows. The patio is bookended by a lounge area with more casual seating on one end and an enormous wood-fired grill on the other.

“I’d love to have that thing covered with meat and vegetables basically all day,” said Michael Gallina. His menu incorporates meat as a condiment more than main attraction and features vegetables as the unexpected stars of Vicia’s dishes. He plans to utilize the grill for everything from slowly cooking large cuts of meat to burying vegetables in the coals for unique charred sauces.

Lunch will consist of soups, salads, sandwiches and tartines with pick-two and pick-three options, supplemented by sweet treats from executive pastry chef Summer Wright. “The menu will not be set at all,” said Gallina, who plans to print offerings daily.

Though some dishes will have the same general structure – like a grain salad made with fruits or vegetables, goat cheese and vegetable-top pesto – the specific ingredients will depend on what the restaurant gets day-to-day from area farmers.

Dinner will have a more varied menu of bite-sized snacks, shareable plates and entrees. “I want it to change as much as we can,” Gallina said. “I’m holding off to see what’s available next week.” The restaurant also plans to eventually offer a tasting menu.

Vicia will be open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. When it begins next week, dinner service will be Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect from one of this year’s most anticipated new restaurants:

 

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Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Related Content

The Scoop: Gallinas to open Vicia in The Cortex

The Scoop: Chef Michael Gallina to open series of pop-ups, new restaurant in native STL

• Ones to Watch 2017: Jen Epley of Vicia

Sneak Peek: Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade in St. Charles

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

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Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade officially opens doors this Saturday, March 18, at 2236 First Capitol Drive in St. Charles. As The Scoop reported in December 2016, Two Plumbers is the brainchild of owner Robert Schowengerdt and head brewer John Simon. “I was trying to figure out a way to make an arcade make money,” Schowengerdt said. “I know how to pour a beer and I knew this guy (Simon).”

The 21-and-older brewery will offer two of its beers at opening, the Ermac Irish Red IPA and Braunenmantel American brown ale. “All our beer names will be nerd references of some kind,” Schowengerdt said. Simon is hoping to add a honey blonde and a few other beers soon.

The bar has 10 taps supplemented by breweries like Logboat Brewing Co., Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., Schlafly and Great Divide Brewing Co., as well as one cider and a few wine options. Customers are welcome to bring in food, or order a Dan O’s frozen pizza from the bar. “We’re not complicated,” Schowengerdt said. “It’s pretty much just beer and video games.”

The 80-seat space includes more than 30 arcade games with classics like “Donkey Kong” and “Super Mario Bros.,” and old school favorites like “Dungeons & Dragons” and “Time Crisis II.”

Regular hours will be Tuesday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Saturday from noon to 1:30 a.m. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect when doors open at St. Charles’ newest brewery:

 

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Photos by Michelle Volansky

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: Guide to Beer 2017 

• Guide to Beer 2017: Class of 2017

The Scoop: Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade to open in St. Charles

First Look: The Dark Room at Grandel Square 

Monday, March 6th, 2017

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The Dark Room Wine Bar & Photo Gallery has reopened in its new location at 3610 Grandel Square in the Grand Center Arts District. As The Scoop reported in November, the bar is now housed in the Grandel Theatre building. The bar is now designated as a nonprofit under the umbrella of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, with about 40 cents from each dollar going to support local arts.

The space, menu, hours and stage have all expanded with the new location. The Dark Room now seats more than 70 with better acoustics for live music, ample standing room and increased gallery space, so patrons can enjoy rotating photography exhibits without standing over seated diners.

“Most brands don’t get this kind of opportunity to evolve and get a second start,” said director of hospitality Denise Mueller. She hopes the bar will become a neighborhood staple and nightlife destination with its new lunch and brunch menus and late-night happy hour deals. The bar also plans to open an extensive patio with an outdoor bar this May.

The Dark Room is now open Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Happy hour deals from 3 to 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday brunch is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get a First Look at The Dark Room’s new home:

 

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Editor’s note: This post was updated at 4:50 p.m. to adjust hours of operation.  

Photos by Michelle Volansky

Related Content
The Scoop: The Dark Room to move to Grandel Theater 

The Scoop: Chef Samantha Pretto joins The Dark Room

Review: The Dark Room

 

Guide to Beer 2017: Class of 2017

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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The St. Louis beer scene is always expanding, but with a dozen breweries slated to open this year, we’re entering a new beer boom. Meet the St. Louis brewers’ Class of 2017.

Top row from left: Greer Brewing Co. brewer-co-owner Chris Greer, Greer Brewing co-owner Becky Greer, Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade head brewer John Simon, Wellspent brewer-co-owner Kyle Kohlmorgen, Good News Brewing Co. brewer-co-owner Josh Miller,Steampunk Brew Works brewer-owner David Deaton

Middle row from left: Rockwell Beer Co. brewer-owner Andy Hille, Design2Brew head brewer Donn Christian, Third Wheel Brewing head brewer Abbey Spencer, Missouri Beer Co. brewer-co-owner Dave Johnson, Good News Brewing Co. brewer-co-owner Dan Tripp

Bottom row from left: White Rooster Farmhouse Brewery brewer-co-owner Mike Deutschmann, Senn Bierwerks brewer-co-owner Dustin Chalfant, Center Ice Brewery brewer-owner Steve Albers, Senn brewer-co-owner James Hellmuth

 

Photo by Ashley Gieseking 

Guide to Beer 2017: Where Brewers Drink

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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Brewers can drink their own beer all day. Here’s where they go when they’re off duty.

With a big group
“We like Basso or Three Kings in The Loop. We live in U. City, so Three Kings is usually where we’ll go with friends.” – Ryan Sherring, Six Mile Bridge brewmaster-co-owner

Neighborhood spot
Frailey’s Southtown Grill in South County. I know the owners – it’s more of a regular’s place. … For what you get, I think it’s the best bang for buck in St. Louis. And everyone who works there is great. It has that family feel to it.” – Brian Ilg, Kirkwood Station Brewing Company brewmaster

“My favorite spot would be Main Street in Edwardsville – there’s a couple good restaurants and bars. A go-to is Recess Brewing down there. It’s nice to have places within walking distance.” – Patrick Thirion, Peel Brewing Co. brewer-co-owner

Something other than beer
“This is probably going to be your weirdest answer, but my place is Pho Grand on South Grand to get their French iced coffee.” – Thirion

“If I want to get a decent whiskey, there’s a couple places I like to go: Montrey’s in Ferguson. It’s a cigar bar. It’s right by the brewhouse, so that one’s easy. And I enjoy Eclipse. You can get a decent drink, and it’s a cool atmosphere. And you can’t go wrong with Shaved Duck, or BBQ Saloon always has a good whiskey selection.” – Taylor Wright, Ferguson Brewing Co. head brewer

Day drinking
“For outside in summer, a great place is 21st Street Brewers Bar. Or Square One – they do a mean grilled cheese.” – Sherring

“Pretty much anywhere that has games – anywhere I can play bubble hockey, shuffleboard or darts. And iTap in Soulard is always a good day drinking spot because it’s not going to be overly busy – you can have good conversations.” – Wright

 

Related Content
Sauce Magazine: Guide to Beer 2017

Guide to Beer 2017: Whale Hunting

Guide to Beer 2017: Class of 2017

 

What I Do: Justin Harris and Ryan Griffin of Saint Louis Hop Shop

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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Brothers Justin Harris and Ryan Griffin want to talk to you about beer. They’ve set up their Saint Louis Hop Shop with that in mind: choosing the foot traffic-heavy Cherokee Street neighborhood, hosting beer events and offering a short menu of pours to enjoy while you peruse their shelves of carefully selected bottles. Here, the brothers of beer talk family, community and Cherokee Street.

In it Together

“One benefit that comes [from working with family] is understanding – like understanding who they are as a person. I grew up with him; he grew up with me. I know who he is; he knows who I am.” – R.G.

“We get along pretty well – we always have. I think it goes back to what Ryan was saying: We know what to expect from each other, both good and bad. I know I do things that drive him crazy, and he could say the same thing. But at the end of the day, there’s comfort in knowing that you’ve got somebody who’s family – that’s my brother, you know.” – J.H.

Gateway Beer

“It was Boulevard 80-Acre, if I’m not mistaken … a hoppy wheat beer. It was so much different from [Natty Light] – it was no comparison. That’s when I realized that it wasn’t about drinking beer until you can’t drink anymore. I could have one or two after class, and that would be it for the night.” – J.H.

St. Louis on the Rise

“Opening this store has opened my eyes to things outside of what I was familiar with: different people, different ideas, different backgrounds and how St. Louis is coming together, investing in small communities. … People are accepting of new, fresh ideas and I feel like St. Louis is undergoing a renaissance.” – R.G.

Price of Entry

“The cool thing about the beer industry is that for the most part you’re dealing with a lot of like-minded people. … Events have been a key staple of who we are – the culture of the store – because you really get to engage with people past, like, ‘That’ll be $9.99.’ … No beer unless you talk to us.” – J.H.

Candy Crush

“I’m into stouts, and I’d say brown beers, porters, brown ales. … I’m like a candy fiend. I have a big sweet tooth. I’m really into chocolate, something that’s more hearty … those things that lather your tongue with sweetness.” – R.G.

Cherokee Street

“Cherokee Street is a very vibrant place, and people want to be down here. … It’s a great energy. And I feel like it’s a huge support system, between us and other businesses. A lot of stuff in our store came from Antique Row. I go to Byrd & Barrel like every other day. We get coffee at Foam all the time. … You just feel like you’re a part of something when you walk up and down the street.” – R.G.

Photo by Izaiah Johnson

The Scoop: 5 St. Louis chefs earn James Beard Foundation semifinalist honors

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

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{ Pastaria executive chef Ashley Shelton } 

 

The James Beard Foundation announced its 2017 restaurant and chef award semifinalists today, Feb. 15. St. Louis’s recent run of recognition from the foundation continues, as five St. Louis chefs earned nominations for the esteemed culinary awards.

Pastaria executive chef Ashley Shelton was named a semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year. This award recognizes “a chef age 30 or younger who displays impressive talent and is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.”

“It’s pretty much every chef’s dream come true to be recognized in that way,” Shelton said.

The JBFA nod is the latest in a growing list of recognition for Shelton. She is a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch Class of 2016, and Eater named her a Young Gun of 2016. Shelton said the honors validate her leadership style in the kitchen. “For me, it keeps pushing me and telling that the path I’m on is the right path,” she said. “We’re trying to do something different in our restaurants – not screaming and yelling.”

Pastaria owner Gerard Craft, who won Best Chef: Midwest in 2015, said Shelton’s culinary future is bright, and not just because she’s a talented cook.

“Being a chef is being a chief. It’s being a leader. It’s one of the hardest parts of the job,” Craft said. “For somebody her age to lead a team the size that she leads and operation the size that she leads, I can’t imagine anybody doing it better. What she’s going to do in the future is sure to be amazing.”

 

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{ from left, Olive & Oak executive chef Jesse Mendica, Perennial Artisan Ales’ Phil Wymore and Olive & Oak owner Mark Hinkle }

 

JBF also named four area chefs as semifinalists in the Best Chef: Midwest region: Olive & Oak executive chef Jesse Mendica, Público chef-owner Mike Randolph, Sidney Street Cafe chef-owner Kevin Nashan and Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann. This category acknowledges “chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions.”

This is the first Beard Foundation honor for Mendica. Neither she nor Olive & Oak owner Mark Hinkle could immediately be reached for comment.

 

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{ Público chef-owner Mike Randolph }

 

This is the second semifinalist nod for Randolph, whose restaurant Público was named a finalist for Best New Restaurant 2016.

“Going into last year I had put so much emphasis on the restaurant getting the Best New nomination because I felt like that was kind of a loftier goal, to be honest,” Randolph said, crediting his team with the restaurant’s success. “But that being said, I look at this list – these are people that I admire and that I respect. Any time you get a chance to see your name thrown in that hat, it’s humbling. It makes me want to work harder – and go in and hug everyone at Público.”

 

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 { Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann }

Nashan and Willmann are no strangers to this prestigious honor. Willmann earned his first finalist nod last year. “It’s always an honor and always exciting, especially for the crew,” he said. “They go so hard to keep our standards up.”

 

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 { Sidney Street Cafe chef-owner Kevin Nashan }

 

Nashan has twice made it to the finalist round of this category. “It’s awesome and amazing,” he said. “I literally just found out. It’s an honor any time you’re mentioned — it’s just great to be on the bus.”

Finalists will be announced March 15, and the winners will be named May 1 in Chicago. A full list of the winners is available online.

 

Editor’s note: This post was updated Wednesday, Feb. 15 at noon to add comments from Kevin Willmann. 

Heather Hughes, Catherine Klene and Matt Sorrell contributed to this report.

Ashley Shelton and Kevin Willmann photos by Carmen Troesser; Kevin Nashan photo by Greg Rannells; Mike Randolph photo courtesy of Público by Greg Rannells; Jesse Mendica photo courtesy of Olive & Oak Facebook

 

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• The Scoop: James Beard Foundation declares Gioia’s Deli an American Classic

The Scoop: James Beard award eludes Willmann and Nashan

The Scoop: Chefs Kevin Nashan, Kevin Willmann earn finalist nods for JBFA Best Chef: Midwest

The Scoop: 5 STL-area chefs, The Side Project Cellar, Stone Soup Cottage all earn JBFA nods

The Scoop: Gerard Craft wins James Beard award

Trendwatch: 7 trends on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list now

Friday, January 13th, 2017

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1. Smash and Grab
St. Louisans don’t have to wait until Shake Shack opens later this year to get their griddle burger fix of thin patties smashed on a flattop. Get a taste at Reeds American Table, where two patties are smothered with Swiss cheese and tallow aioli, or head to Olive & Oak in Webster Groves, where the kitchen keeps it classic with American cheese and dill pickles. The smashed Farmhouse Burger has been a fixture at Retreat Gastropub since it opened in October 2015, and The Dam in Tower Grove South does smashed patties – though the burgers are stacked so high with fixins, it’s hard to tell. Find griddled burgers at Brasserie, Local Chef Kitchen and Baileys’ Range, too.

2. Drinking like a Vegan
Aquafaba, aka the cloudy liquid in a can of chickpeas that usually goes down the drain, has seen new life as a vegan egg replacer in baked goods. Now it’s found its way behind the bar and into Pisco Sours at Los Angeles establishments like Birch and Gracias Madre. Small Batch pulled a similar move in its Cicer Sour with aquafaba, smoked almond Pisco and dry curacao. Bengelina Hospitality bar manager Drew Lucido shakes it with Old Tom Gin, Becherovka and lemon juice in The Walden at Olio, while the team across the street at Nixta uses a cream whipper to add a foamy, egg-free head to the No. 3.

3. Kung Pao That
The Chinese staple is popping up outside the takeout box these days at restaurants like Mission Chinese in San Francisco, which has a kung pao pastrami we hope someone in town will replicate. Chefs at Cleveland-Heath were inspired by a celery dish at Mission’s NYC location to create a shaved raw beef and celery kung pao special for St. Louisans to enjoy last summer. The Preston swaps in calamari for a sophisticated take on the dish, and the pop-up and future restaurant Good Fortune is crazy about kung pao. It incorporated the flavors into a bratwurst made for a collaboration with Brasserie, and made a kung pao pizza for an event with Delicious Pizza in Los Angeles.

 

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4. Rise and Shine
The Egg McMuffin will always hold a special greasy place in our hearts, but area restaurants are taking breakfast more seriously these days. Whole concepts, like Egg on Gravois Avenue and Yolklore in Crestwood, are devoted to breakfast beyond the standard flapjacks, eggs and bacon. Quick counter-service options at newly opened eateries like Sardella and The Garden on Grand mean we’re setting our weekday alarms a few minutes earlier. Even pop-up eateries are getting in on the action: Revel Kitchen chef-owner Simon Lusky and chef Adam Altnether recently hosted the breakfast-themed Waffle Nut Pop-up, serving sweet and savory waffle combos and cereal milk coffee beverages.

5. Lightning in a Mug
Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and a large dose of caffeine, yerba mate is a light, herbaceous tea that’s creeping its way into local spots like SweetArt, where it’s served hot, and Comet Coffee, where it’s found in two forms: as hot tea and as a mocha-nut mate made with toasted mate leaves, chocolate, hazelnut and marigold flowers for a sweet treat. Pick up some of the loose-leaf tea to brew at home from international grocers like Global Foods Market or United Provisions.

6. Meat Lollipops
Some St. Louis chefs are frenching chicken drumettes, trimming classic wings into little meat lollipops. The trend has a confusing extra-work-for-less-meat quality, but we’ve bought jeans with holes in the knees, so we’re not here to judge. Try the lollies at Mona’s, where they’re smoked and served with a creamy giardiniera sauce and salsa verde, or at Copper Pig with a Vietnamese fish sauce caramel or a sweet chile basil sauce. Scapegoat offers a more traditional Buffalo version.

7. Taste the Magic
Magic Shell is making appearances outside grandma’s sundae bar these days. We noticed it with caramelized honey and honeycomb candy on soft serve at The Honey Paw in Portland, Maine, and over caramel corn and vanilla malted milk balls at Girl & the Goat in Chicago. But Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. has offered the topping on soft serve since it opened in 2014, and our favorite matcha-chocolate cookie gelato pop from Porano this summer was dipped in Magic Shell. Taste’s new brownie dessert with candy cap ice cream and toffee sauce lives in a Magic Shell house, too.

 

Related Content
Sauce Magazine: January 2017

Trendwatch: Guide to Drinking 2016

Sauce Magazine’s Best New Restaurants of 2016

What I Do: Dana Huth and Ben Triola of Mauhaus Cat Cafe and Lounge

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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There’s a small island off the coast of southern Japan so overrun with cats that it makes internet cat videos look like a cheap ball of yarn. But before you start booking expensive airfare, try relaxing at Mauhaus Cat Cafe and Lounge, a new spot that caters to felines and the good people who endlessly share their memes. Co-owners Dana Huth and Ben Triola opened the cafe as a space where people can leisurely bond with and potentially adopt the animals while enjoying lunch or fresh pastries. They also co-own a software company, video game development studio and real estate investments, but said that helping animals in need is worth the stress – and the cat snuggles don’t hurt, either. Here, the couple talk about why a cat makes for a programmer’s best friend.

Getting Attached
“Basically, we’re like a big foster family for these cats, except that we also serve coffee and food. … The adoptions can be a little tough on us but ultimately it’s a very happy thing to find these cats a good home. We partner with Tenth Life Cat Rescue and they have over 100 cats in foster homes, but right now they’re almost at capacity. If we can help get cats adopted, that means Tenth Life can take in more.” –B.T.

“The cat cafes in Asia are full of specialty cats, and they’re not adoptable. Every time you go, you see the same cats. But we knew that was a problem here – so many cats need homes and so many get killed at shelters every year. … I cried when the last ones that got adopted left. I had a very special connection to those cats. But it’s so good; they have great homes.” –D.H.

Cat Magic
“We were not at all planning on opening another business until we went to this cat cafe in Thailand. We were like, ‘We have to have this at home.’ What was most magical about it was not that there were cats, but that there were so many. It’s not like going into someone’s house who has three cats. To see like 15 cats living in a space, and you get to come in, be surrounded – you get to experience their home. … And to have really nice food, that was definitely a bonus.” –D.H.

Bring on the Fun
“This is talked about a lot in the game development industry: fun is really hard to plan for. It can be really elusive … you don’t know on paper if XYZ is going to be fun, so you have to build something and then play with it and then go back and figure out which parts were fun and which weren’t. There’s a lot of iteration. We call it ‘finding the fun.’ I think that’s kind of what we’re trying to do with the cat cafe – find the fun and share it with other people.” –B.T.

Cuteness Overload
“Any morning we come into the cafe, it’s basically a stampede of cats coming toward the door to all get attention.” –D.H.

Cat Therapy
“There’s this thing in programming, where if you have a problem you’re supposed to get a rubber duck and explain the problem to the rubber duck. In the course of explaining the problem out loud, you usually find the solution. But I think you can use the cats just as well – explain your problems to the cat and you might just figure some things out.” –B.T.

Interoffice Romance
“I feel really lucky that this is our life. It works really well for us because we’ve known each other so long, we think on the same wavelength. I think for a lot of people that could be difficult – spending that much time with your significant other, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve worked with a lot of people, had other partners, and it’s not that any of those were necessarily bad, but I’ve never been able to communicate with anyone better than I can communicate with Dana. It makes sense that we do pretty much all things together.” –B.T.

 

Heather Hughes and Kevin Korinek contributed to this article. 

Photo by Ashley Gieseking 

Related Content
Sauce Magazine: January 2017

First Look: Mauhaus Cat Cafe and Lounge in Maplewood

What I Do: Doug Marshall, The Tamale Man

What I Do: Mark “Garlic” Brown of Gateway Garlic Farms 

Ones to Watch 2017: Sam Witherspoon of Sardella

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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Title: Executive sous chef, Sardella
Age: 27
Why watch him: He proves good guys can get ahead.

Sam Witherspoon’s resume reads like a cutthroat careerist’s: the New York Culinary Institute of America to Danny Meyer’s Maialino to Donald Link’s Cochon, then Gerard Craft’s Niche and now Sardella. The lineup may evoke a sense of cold-bloodedness, a ruthless master plan, but that impression would be wrong for the guy Sardella executive chef Nick Blue called his “softer side.”

“I’ve never really had a plan,” Witherspoon said. “I always just kind of go where I want to go and I figure it out when I get there.” He’s gotten where he is simply by aiming high, giving it a shot. He secured the job at Niche with a cold call – an effort that would seem laughable if it hadn’t worked. “I have the attitude of start at the top,” he said. “Because it’s easier to start there than it is to start down and try to move up.”

This strategy, of course, only works if you have the skills to support it. “He has a really playful sense of food … an ability to translate comfort food into modern food,” Craft said. Take, for example, Witherspoon’s recent special at Sardella: a pastrami-spiced brisket and squash agnolotti served with pickled and butter-braised cabbage. “It doesn’t taste like it’s just a riff [on a Reuben],” Craft said. “It is its own dish – something nuanced and unique.’”

But for Witherspoon, being a chef has as much to do with how you treat people as what you serve them. “It’s almost impossible not to smile when you see Sam. He boosts everybody’s mood,” Craft said. “He’s a very positive spirit in the kitchen. That’s totally separate from cooking ability, but almost more important sometimes.”

He learned this during his externship at Maialino, where it wasn’t just the high pressure or long hours that impressed him. “These guys were very serious about what they did, but they walked in every day, they shook your hand, asked you how you were doing,” Witherspoon said. “They really invested in you, and that’s something I’ve carried with me throughout my entire career.”

A focus on hospitality in and out of the kitchen may sound peripheral, but it’s something that sets Witherspoon apart. A lot of people with serious culinary talent don’t make it past sous. “To be a great leader, there’s a certain amount of positivity that has to be there for people to want to work for you,” Craft said. He was equally impressed by Witherspoon’s ability to interact with guests. “If you’re going to do your own thing, you’ve got to have it – or you better hire somebody who does.”

There’s no doubt Witherspoon will have a lot of people working for him someday. For now, aside from having his voice heard through more dishes on Sardella’s menu, his goal is simple: “I would love to be able to give Nick Blue a day off.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

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