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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Willmann’

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

From national honors for hometown chefs to a new restaurant announcement from Dave Bailey, here’s what went down last week in the St. Louis food scene, in case you missed it…

 

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1.The St. Louis restaurant scene experienced a bit of déjà vu when the finalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards were announced March 15. Two St. Louis chefs moved on as finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category: Sidney Street Cafe chef-owner Kevin Nashan and Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann. Both chefs were finalists in this category last year.

 

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2. Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade officially opened doors 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.

 

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3. Restaurateur Dave Bailey, owner of Baileys’ Restaurants, will soon add another concept to his stable of eateries. Hugo’s Pizzeria is slated to open this summer at 3135 Olive St., in Midtown, just two blocks away from another of his restaurants, Small Batch.

 

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4. Tapped, a restaurant and bar that will allow customers to pour their own beer and wine, will open in April at 7278 Manchester Road. Co-owners Ryan and Lindsay Reel will open in the former A Pizza Story space.

 

The Scoop: James Beard Foundation names Kevin Nashan, Kevin Willmann Best Chef: Midwest finalists

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

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{ from left, Sidney Street Cafe chef-owner Kevin Nashan, Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann } 

 

The St. Louis restaurant scene experienced a bit of déjà vu when the finalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards were announced today, March 15. Two St. Louis chefs moved on as finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category: Sidney Street Cafe chef-owner Kevin Nashan and Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann. Both chefs were finalists in this category last year.

“I’m so grateful,” Nashan said. “You never know if you’re going to on the list again – it’s torturous! I’m just so grateful and really excited for the team. I just found out and I’m really blown away.”

Willmann found out about the news when Sauce called for comment. “Oh, no shit? Hell yeah!” he said. “I’m really proud of my team this year, we have an awesome groove going, and the sky’s the limit. “

As The Scoop reported in February, the James Beard Foundation named four St. Louis-area chefs as semifinalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category. Olive & Oak executive chef Jessie Mendica and Público chef-owner Mike Randolph did not make it to the final round. Pastaria executive chef Ashley Shelton, a semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year, also didn’t advance to the final round.

Winners of the chef and restaurant awards will be announced at a ceremony in Chicago on May 1. Local eatery Gioia’s Deli will also be honored at the gala; the Beard Foundation honored The Hill sandwich shop with an America’s Classic award in January.

 

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

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

The Scoop: James Beard award eludes Willmann and Nashan

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

 

Related Content
• 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

Ones to Watch 2017: Jake Sciales of Farmhaus

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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Title: Head chef and baker, Farmhaus
Age: 29
Why watch him: On the ice or in the kitchen, he’s a competitor.

The greatest lesson Jake Sciales has learned in his four years baking bread is respect. “Bread doesn’t care how busy you are. It doesn’t care when you need it, how many reservations you have. It does its own thing and you have to adapt and react,” he explained.

Shortly after hiring Sciales, Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann had his friend Matt Herren, then owner of 222 Artisan Bakery in Edwardsville, teach the crew how to bake bread. It wasn’t long before Sciales was heading up Farmhaus’ bread program. “Two to three weeks after I started, it kind of got tossed on me,” Sciales said.

Sciales looks at restaurant work as a competition for the adrenaline to get though daily challenges. He accepted his new role of bread baker, on top of being chef, like the athlete he is. “I took it as a way to endear myself to the new crew I was joining,” Sciales said. “I wanted to take the responsibility and start contributing to the team.”

Sciales got his start washing dishes at Sky Hi in Columbia, Missouri, after college. He was initially attracted to a career in the restaurant industry for the same reason he played a lot of sports growing up, and still plays hockey every week. “A desk job isn’t a good fit for me,” he said. “Being active and having the rush of cooking, the pressure and intensity of it, drew me, and I ran with it.”

With bread baking, Sciales found a new awareness. “It was almost calming because I just followed the process; there was no cheating it, you just have to do it,” he said. “You have to work with it. It doesn’t work with you.”

Something is definitely working. Willmann insisted Sciales puts out some of the best bread in St. Louis. “He’s ambitious for sure, and reliable, with a magnet of a personality,” he said.

Sciales loves working with Homer, the 20-plus-year-old wild yeast mother used to make Farmhaus’ rustic country loaf, and is pretty into sourdough pretzels now. What’s next? “It jumps around,” he said. “Four, five months ago I was getting into focaccia.” Sciales’ mercurial interests fuel what breads Farmhaus serves, but one thing is clear: “Without Matt and Kevin, I probably wouldn’t be down this road right now.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

From our new issue and new online newsletter to a conversation with a malbec expert, here’s what went down last week in the St. Louis food scene, in case you missed it…

 

1. Our May issue hit stands this week, featuring the best new food trucks in St. Louis, a preview of summer drinking trends and reviews of Parigi, Sheesh and The Preston. Don’t wait; click here to read the entire issue online now!

2. Local restaurant enthusiasts hoping one of its own would take gold again this year were disappointed as a James Beard Foundation Award has eluded two St. Louis chefs, Kevin Nashan and Kevin Willmann.

 

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3. Laura Catena, owner-vintner of Luca Wines, will host a wine dinner at Annie Gunn’s on Monday, May 9, and she shared her thoughts on the growth of Argentine wine and the growing international market for malbec.

4. The latest build-your-own eatery has come to Chesterfield. Sym·Bowl, a rebranded second location of The HotPot in Kirkwood, opened on Wednesday, April 27.

5. Folks on the go in Clayton will have a new healthy option when Wicked Greenz opens. Co-owners Chris Sedlak, Matt Ratz and chef Justin Haifley are targeting a July open date for the flagship location at 16 N. Central Ave.

 

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5. Our Edible Weekend newsletter has a new look and the best food-filled events taking place each weekend in the St. Louis area. Don’t miss out! Sign up now to get the best food events delivered straight to your inbox each Wednesday.

6. Call it tenacity, determination or plain old stubbornness. After months of demo, construction and brewing, co-owners Chris and Tammy Rahn opened Stubborn German Brewing Co. in downtown Waterloo on Wednesday, April 27.

 

 

 

 

The Scoop: James Beard award eludes Willmann and Nashan

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

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Local restaurant enthusiasts hoping one of its own would take gold again this year were disappointed as a James Beard Foundation Award has eluded two St. Louis chefs. Kevin Nashan and Kevin Willmann were two of five finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category, with the top prize going to Paul Berglund of The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis.

Nashan is the chef-owner of Sidney Street Café, and Willmann is the chef-owner of Farmhaus. This was Nashan’s second time being named a finalist, while it was Willmann’s first finalist nod.

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Friday, March 18th, 2016

From James Beard honors to new locations of old favorites, here’s what went down last week in the STL food scene, in case you missed…

 

 

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1. Finalists for the 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards were announced March 15, and two St. Louis-area chefs are still in the running in the Best Chef: Midwest category. The James Beard Foundation recognized Kevin Nashan, chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe and Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co., and Kevin Willmann, chef-owner of Farmhaus.

2. Things are heating up on Macklind Avenue as Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery announced plans to move into 4715 Macklind Ave.

 

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3. The HotPot in Kirkwood will open a new location in the old Surf Dogs building at 137 Chesterfield Town Center.

4. After nearly three years at Adam’s Smokehouse apron, Alex Cupp is firing up his own pit, The Stellar Hog in the current Super’s Bungalow.

 

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5. Ben Edison, former executive chef at Demun Oyster Bar, has taken the wheel at The Delta Queen Steamboat Co., where he became executive corporate chef in February.

6. Guerrilla Street Food plans to blow into the windy city this year and open its second location in Chicago.

 

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

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

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{Chef Kevin Nashan}

Finalists for the 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards were announced today, March 15, and two St. Louis-area chefs are still in the running in the Best Chef: Midwest category. The James Beard Foundation recognized Kevin Nashan, chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe and Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co., and Kevin Willmann, chef-owner of Farmhaus.

Willmann found out about his finalist nod when Sauce called for comment. “Are you serious? Oh my God. I’ve never been a finalist and am honored to share this with one of my best friends, Kevin Nashan. I hope one of us wins,” he said. “It’s awesome for our city. It’s cliche to say, but so many people have done collectively a good job to put our city on the map.”

Nashan said he was equally thrilled for Willmann as himself. “I’m floored. I’m super excited, and excited to see Kevin Willmann as a finalist as well,” Nashan said. “It’s humbling. I’m speechless and so grateful. There’s nothing to say.”

 

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{Kevin Willmann} 

As The Scoop reported in February, the James Beard Foundation named four St. Louis-area chefs as semifinalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category. Semifinalists Elaia and Olio chef-owner Ben Poremba and Público chef-owner Mike Randolph did not make it to the final round. Cleveland-Heath co-owner and chef Ed Heath was also a semifinalist for Best Chef: Great Lakes, but did not make it to the finalist round.

Among national awards, The Side Project Cellar was a semifinalist for Outstanding Bar Program, Stone Soup Cottage was a semifinalist in the Outstanding Service category, and Público earned semifinalist status in the Best New Restaurant category. None advanced to the final round.

Winners of the chef and restaurant awards will be announced at a ceremony in Chicago on May 2. A full list of nominees is available here.

Nashan and Willmann joined Sauce editor Catherine Klene to discuss their JBFA nominations on St. Louis Public Radio. Listen in to a special Sound Bites segment here.

 

-Nashan photo by Greg Rannells; Willmann photo by Carmen Troesser

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

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

 

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{Mike Randolph}

 

The James Beard Foundation announced its 2016 restaurant and chef award semifinalists today, Feb. 17. Once again, St. Louis is well represented among this year’s picks for the esteemed culinary awards.

Among the national categories, chef-owner Mike Randolph’s Público was named a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant. This category recognizes a restaurant that “already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.”

“It means the world,” Randolph said. “I’ve had the concept in my head for years. From the day we opened we knew exactly what we were and haven’t deviated from it. Our vision has been well received and people are excited about it. To be judged by people you really care about is pretty cool.”

Along with three other St. Louis-area chefs, Randolph was also named a semifinalist in the Best Chef: Midwest category. This is the first time Randolph was recognized by the James Beard Foundation.

“It’s humbling for sure, but I’m on the shoulders of the people I’ve had a chance to work with,” Randolph said. “It’s a testament to the crew.”

Sidney Street Cafe and Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. chef-owner Kevin Nashan, Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann, and Elaia and Olio chef-owner Ben Poremba were also named semifinalists for Best Chef: Midwest. All three have previously made this prestigious shortlist.

Nashan said he feels honored that he and his team have been acknowledged once again. “I’m always grateful to be on the bus. We work hard. Not necessarily for this, but it feels great and it’s great for the team and great for this town. Hooray for St. Louis.”

“It’s a very big honor,” Poremba said. “It’s reaffirmation that my team and I are doing something right and on the right path.”

Poremba went on to comment on other area nominees. “It’s nice to see new inclusions to the list. There are people who are a big force in this town and contribute a lot to the scene, new semi-finalists and veterans. I’m stoked for Stone Soup Cottage and for Público. (Best New Restaurant) is a hard one to get.”

Willmann likewise said the JBFA nod was an honor and validation for his Farmhaus team.  “It’s always special to have our little mom-and pop restaurant recognized,” Willmann said. “We talk about being perfect and even though we can’t be perfect, we don’t take anything for granted. If something’s not right, we don’t sell it. It’s about doing our best every day.”

Across the river, chef and co-owner Ed Heath was named a semifinalist for Best Chef: Great Lakes for the second time in two years. “It’s super unreal,” he said. “I was 100-percent certain that it wasn’t gonna happen again. This morning, I didn’t even look.”

 

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{The Side Project Cellar team. From left, Katie Herrera, Shae Smith, Chris Hoertel and co-owner Karen King}

 

Also in the national categories, The Side Project Cellar in Maplewood was named a semifinalist in the Outstanding Bar Program category, which honors restaurants or bars that demonstrate excellence in cocktail, spirits and/or beer service. Side Project co-owner Karen King learned of the nomination when Sauce called for comment.

“Every year those come out and it’s always the best chefs in the freaking in world,” King said. “So we’re excited, I know that!”

Co-owner Cory King said he was thrilled to hear that Karen King’s hard work at The Cellar has been recognized. “It’s really mostly her,” he said. “She’s the one who operates this thing day-to-day.”

 

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{Carl and Nancy McConnell}

 

St. Louis-area service was also recognized at Cottleville’s Stone Soup Cottage, named a semifinalist for Outstanding Service as a restaurant open “five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.”

Co-owner Nancy McConnell said she and co-owner and chef Carl McConnell were shocked at the news. “We are on Cloud 9,” she said, stressing the importance of having their entire team recognized for their service efforts. “We are so humbled and just numb.”

This is the first James Beard Foundation Award nods for The Side Project Cellar and Stone Soup Cottage.

Finalists will be announced March 15; the James Beard Foundation Awards take place May 2 in Chicago.  A full list of semifinalists is available here.

Catherine Klene and Kristin Schultz contributed to this report. 

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 12:15 p.m. Feb. 17 to include comment from Kevin Willmann. 

-Mike Randolph photo by Greg Rannells, all other photos by Carmen Troesser

 

The Scoop: Gerard Craft named JBFA finalist for Best Chef: Midwest

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

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Finalists for the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards were announced today, March 24, and one St. Louis-area chef remains in the running. Gerard Craft, chef-owner of the Niche family of restaurants, made the short list in the Best Chef: Midwest category. Craft was also among last year’s finalists in that category. “I think it’s a great testament to our team, that 10 years in, we are still part of the conversation,” Craft said. “To be included with that group of people is such an honor.”

St. Louis chefs who did not get past the semifinal round in the Best Chef: Midwest category are Kevin Willmann, chef-owner of Farmhaus; Ben Poremba, chef-owner of Elaia, Olio and Old Standard Fried Chicken; and Kevin Nashan, chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe and Peacemaker. Ed Heath, chef and co-owner of Cleveland-Heath, was also in contention for the title of Best Chef: Great Lakes. Heath was a first-time JBFA semifinalist.

Among national awards, Annie Gunn’s was one of 20 restaurants named semifinalists in the Outstanding Wine Program category. The estimable fine-dining institution did not advance to the final round.

Winners of the chef and restaurant awards will be announced at a ceremony in Chicago May 4. A full list of nominees is available here.

 

Editor’s Note: This post was updated March 24 at 10:15 a.m. to include a quote from Gerard Craft.

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