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Feb 19, 2018
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Josh Charles’

What I Do: Josh Charles, a St. Louis freelance chef

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

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Four years ago, then-23-year-old Josh Charles was a Sauce One to Watch at Elaia and Olio. He went on to prove his mettle as executive chef at Element, then Blood & Sand. But when his son, Aiden, was born, Charles suddenly found his restaurant career at odds with family life – so he quit. Today, Charles works as a private chef, consults for restaurants like Das Bevo, does research and development at Metabolic Meals and markets his own brand online with eyes on a national TV show. Here, the gig-economy chef explains what he’s up to.

 

“I went through a funk like three months in: ‘What am I doing?’ I realized it’s because 10 years being in this culture, of being around people where you can be yourself … but it’s also serious, there’s results, objectives. There’s that push to service, there’s adrenaline. All that stuff went away, so I had to really find myself again.”

“I just put out a thing on social media, on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn saying, ‘Hey, I’m available for freelance positions: food photography, recipe development, R&D, cooking classes, private dinners – whatever you want.’ And Jason, the owner [of Metabolic Meals], reached out to me through LinkedIn … It’s right up my alley. I get to make recipes. I get to develop. I get to cook, and I don’t have to do all the management stuff. I don’t have to check the clipboard and make sure people are showing up on time.”

“I have no marketing background. I have no idea what I’m doing – I have no idea. Not only is social media branding, but every engagement you do is branding. So it starts with yourself and face-to-face interactions, but then social media amplifies that. In this day and age, it’s crazy how far my message can travel. … Ten years ago, I could have done the exact same thing I’m doing now, and no one would know my name.”

“I can eat silly amounts of food. I went to L.A. to visit my uncle recently and he’s in perfect shape year-round. He watched me eat six meals a day. … I have two lunches, two dinners, a late-night dessert, and I just try to experience as much as possible in the few short hours I’m in a city.”

“I do CrossFit primarily because to me, it’s just like PE for adults. I don’t have to think about it. … Ultimately, I’m actually pretty lazy. Whenever I’m left to my own devices working out, I’m like, ‘Oh, I could lift this, or I could just go home. I think I’ll go home.’”

“I was in marching band in high school. … Drumline culture is very similar to kitchen culture. There’s no filter in drumline, essentially. You’re the noisy obnoxious kids in the back. Those kids go cook in a kitchen.”

“I have many avenues for what I want to do, and one of them is open a pizza and pasta restaurant in Collinsville. That’s where I live, and the overall thing is I want to create a community. I want a family restaurant where my son can be there doing stuff, and no one is going to bat an eye because, ‘Oh, that’s his son, Aiden, and he’s just back there playing with dough because he’s 2 years old.’”

“These fragments of fine dining, they don’t disappear. I’ll be in the shower and think, ‘Huh, I wonder… I know exactly how that would taste.’”

“It’s literally ingrained into my DNA, that rush of service, getting it over with and then getting a round of drinks for the crew. … I do miss it, but the second I start to miss it, I just look at my life and what I’m doing, and this is still cool and still fun.”

Find Josh at chefjoshcharles.com, Facebook: Chef Josh Charles, Instagram: @chefjoshcharles

Photo by Ashley Gieseking

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine.

 

The Scoop: Chef Josh Charles departs Blood & Sand

Friday, May 12th, 2017

 

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{ Chef Josh Charles } 

 

After three months helming the kitchen, chef Josh Charles has left Blood & Sand. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, Charles decided to redirect his career to focus on his growing family.

Before Blood & Sand, Charles was executive chef at Element. “When I took the job, my wife was pregnant, and we thought ‘We can make this work, it’ll be fine.’ But the second the baby came, we realized it wasn’t going to work. Those first five weeks, I was not there at all because I was at the restaurant.”

In an effort to spend more time at home, Charles has taken a position as a prep cook at Boundary, which he said gives him more normal, daytime hours and a reduced stress level. He said he’d eventually like to get back to his pastry chef roots and delve into making some of the breads and pastries for the restaurant.

Charles said he’s still consulting with Blood & Sand while the search is on for his replacement, and he’ll also continue to create recipes, videos and blog posts for his website. He also plans to do some pop-up events.

“Hopefully now that I have a bit more time I can do a pop-up every other month or so, so I can still work that creative side of me, and work with friends and farmers,” he said.

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
The Scoop: Josh Charles leaves Element, heads to Blood & Sand

• The Scoop: New owner discusses vision for Blood & Sand

Ones to Watch 2014: Josh Charles

 

The Scoop: Josh Charles leaves Element, heads to Blood & Sand

Monday, February 6th, 2017

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Chef Josh Charles has left his post as executive chef at Element to helm the kitchen at Blood & Sand, as reported by St. Louis Magazine. Charles’ former chef de cuisine Tudor Seserman has stepped up to assume the executive chef role. Charles said the passing of the torch was smooth thanks to their close working relationship.

In his new role, Charles said he’ll work with Blood & Sand’s current chef Chris Krzysik through Valentine’s Day, and then will begin making his mark on the menu.

“The day after, it starts,” he said, adding it should take a month of switching out a couple of dishes at a time before the transition is complete. Charles said diners can expect a bill of fare that reflects his focus on quality ingredients and techniques. While he’ll put his stamp on the food at Blood & Sand, the restaurant’s much-loved tater tots will remain.

“It’s a great platform and a beautiful place,” said Charles. “They’ve always had a reputation for putting out great food and drink. I’m super excited.”

Krzysik said he is currently in talks to take a position at another restaurant, but couldn’t share more information at this time. Element co-owner Carol Hastie did not return requests for comment.

Photo courtesy of Christina Lane 

Related Content
The Scoop: New owner discusses vision for Blood & Sand

• The Scoop: Josh Charles is named executive chef at Element

• Ones to Watch 2014: Josh Charles and John Fauz

 

 

Edible Weekend: 4 more food-filled events this weekend

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

From Memorial Day weekend barbecues to elegant wine dinners, here are four more don’t-miss events for you this weekend.

 

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1. Ginger & Thyme Pop-up Dinner
Element executive chef Josh Charles cooks up a four-course, Asian-inspired dinner with beer and cocktail pairings. May 26 – 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., brownpapertickets.com 

2. Division Wine Tasting
Stop by Parker’s Table to sample a selected variety of vino from Portland, Oregon-based Division Wines. May 26 – 7 to 9 p.m., parkerstable.com 

3. Pacific Northwest Wine Dinner
Sit down to a five-course dinner with Pacific Northwest wine pairings at Five Bistro. Call for reservations. May 26 – 7 to 9 p.m., fivebistro.com

4. Red, White & Brew
Head to Cedar Lake Cellars for a weekend of food, beer and wine slushy specials, plus live music and festivities. May 27 to May 30, cedarlakecellars.com 

 

Still hungry? Sign up for Edible Weekend and get the weekend’s top four foodie events delivered right to your inbox every Wednesday. Click here to sign up!

 

The Scoop: Josh Charles is named executive chef at Element

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

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{From left, Josh Charles and fellow Ones to Watch alum John Fausz}

Area rising star Josh Charles has just landed his first exec chef gig. Beginning Sept. 1, Charles will helm the kitchen at Element.

For the last three years, Charles, a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2014, has worked at restaurateur Ben Poremba’s Elaia, where he quickly climbed from garde manger to chef de cuisine. Charles announced he planned to leave Poremba’s restaurant group earlier this month, but his next move had not been determined.

“(Element) owners Carol and Stacy Hastie had seen that I didn’t have a landing zone yet. They called. We sat down and talked about it. It seemed like a good fit,” Charles said. He was impressed by the restaurant’s design, and as an avid rock climber, he appreciated the restaurant’s close proximity to Climb So Ill, a climbing facility in the same building.

Charles said he will have full autonomy in the kitchen, unlike when Element first opened in fall 2013 and multiple chefs collaborated. “They are leaving it in my hands to decide the menu,” he said. “I’ll still do comfort food, but expand on it a bit. I want to use the flavors from across the world to really define comfort food.”

Look for a new dinner menu to launch the second week of September and a revamped lunch menu to follow soon after. Charles also anticipates adding a separate bar menu.

Element co-owner Carol Hastie was not immediately available for comment.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

The Scoop: Josh Charles to leave Elaia, Bengelina Hospitality Group

Monday, August 10th, 2015

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{From left, Josh Charles and John Fausz}

After three years at Ben Poremba’s Elaia, chef de cuisine Josh Charles is leaving the Tower Grove restaurant and its parent group, Bengelina. Charles said he is looking at “a couple of opportunities” in the St. Louis area and expects to make a decision in the next few weeks. He is no longer slated to take the helm at Parigi, Poremba’s Italian eatery scheduled to open in Clayton in November.

Both Charles and Poremba said the departure was amicable. “I learned an amazing amount and am grateful for what Ben did,” Charles said. “I’m looking to go to the next level and learn even more.”

Charles started as the salad chef at Elaia and was promoted to chef de cuisine within months. He and former bar manager John Fausz are members of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2014.

“He is a great guy and a great cook,” Poremba said. “He has been like a little brother to me and has done an incredible job.” He is currently conducting a search for Charles’ replacement.

-photo by Carmen Troesser 

Meatless Monday: Crispy Grain Salad with Spiced Yogurt

Monday, April 6th, 2015

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We’ve stuffed ourselves all weekend with Passover brisket, Easter ham and all the chocolate bunnies we could get our hands on. Time to hit the bulk food section on your way home and stock up on healthy grains, crunchy seeds and bright herbs with this Crispy Grain and Seed Salad with Spiced Yogurt Dressing from Josh Charles of Elaia and Olio. Sorghum, kamut and freekeh are cooked and then crisped in grapeseed oil, followed by sunflower seeds, pepitas, chia seeds and sesame seeds. Toss it all together with preserved lemons, apple cider vinegar and olive oil, then serve over a dollop of ras al-hanout-spiced yogurt and garnish with fresh herbs. This filling yet healthy supper is just the thing after a weekend of heavy holiday feasting. Get the recipe here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

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