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Jan 21, 2018
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Lou Rook III’

Ones to Watch 2017: Alex Pille of Annie Gunn’s

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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Title: Sous chef, Annie Gunn’s
Age: 28
Why watch him: His gardening exploits are likely to land on your plate.

Annie Gunn’s sous chef Alex Pille grows the usual slate of Midwestern fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and peppers, but that’s where the similarities to your grandmother’s garden end.

“I love to try new things,” Pille said. “Amaranth is an ancient grain crop. It has a giant flowering head that can be dried and is kind of like quinoa.” He’s also grown sorghum, rice, saffron and zucca – one of the world’s largest gourds that can weigh up to 100 pounds.

He grows produce his boss, executive chef Lou Rook III, never knew existed and some stuff he has a hard time finding. “I’ve been working with farmers since 1989 and had never heard of these [lemon drop] chiles,” Rook said. “I was so excited about them and Alex goes, ‘Oh yeah, I grew those last year. They’re great.’”

“I research online, but with the more obscure things, it only goes so far,” said Pille. “That’s where the chef part comes in. I found out a lot of people use zucca as a filler in jams. I decided to make applesauce with it. It worked out great.”

The current beneficiaries of Pille’s harvest are his family, friends and sometimes diners at Annie Gunn’s. But that may change.

“Last year I had a variety of around 60 plants growing,” Pille said. “I kept expanding my garden and before I knew it, it was a quarter of an acre.” This spring he plans to plant at least one of the five acres he recently bought in De Soto. “Hopefully by the end of the year, I can have a greenhouse out there, too.”

For Pille, farm-to-table is not a marketing gimmick; being a better farmer makes him a better chef. “He’s farming the food to bring to the table,” Rook said. “He understands food, how to prepare different things, because of his farming background.”

Eventually, he’d like to have his own produce business, selling to area restaurants. “I could be in both realms. I can grow unique things and also offer methods and applications for these obscure ingredients.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

 

Eat This: Wow Board at Annie Gunn’s

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

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We don’t know who named the Wow Board at Annie Gunn’s – the staff or the customers presented with a plank piled high with house-made charcuterie, rich cheeses and pickled vegetables, seasonal chutney and ubiquitous Irish soda bread. The dozen or so offerings change daily according to chef Lou Rook III and butcher Andrew Jennrich’s whim, from blood sausage terrine to dry-aged Kobe-style beef. Don’t pester your server for details. You’ll ruin a wow-worthy surprise

-photo by Carmen Troesser

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

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

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{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.

Six chefs, six courses

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

A half-dozen of the area’s most prominent chefs will come together to make a six-course dinner to benefit the art therapy program at Friends of Wings, an organization that supports BJC pediatric hospice. The black-tie event, called Artistry, will take place Oct. 18 at the Chase Park Plaza and feature the culinary talents of Araka’s Mark Curran, Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe, Jack W. MacMurray III of Sage, Niche’s Mathew Rice and Lou Rook III of Annie Gunn’s, as well as the Chase’s own Brian S. Hale (pictured). Artistry also includes hors d’oeurves, a Champagne reception, music, an auction and a cake decorating competition. Tickets are $350 a person. For reservations or more information, call 314.953.1895 or click on the “events” tab at friendsofwings.com.

Photo courtesy of chaseparkplaza.com

Recognize!

Friday, February 13th, 2009

At long last, this year’s long list of nominees for the highest honors in the food world, the James Beard Foundation Awards, is out. On it, a trio of terrific St. Louisans, who will vie for Best Chef in the Midwest: Gerard Craft of Niche Restaurant, Monarch Restaurant’s Joshua Galliano and Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe.

Click here for the complete list of semifinalists. Finalists are scheduled to be announced March 23, with the awards gala set for May 4 at Lincoln Center in New York.

Though no St. Louis-area chefs or restaurants were Beard Award finalists last year, the 2008 long list included nods to Craft for Rising Star Chef, and Michael Roberts of Atlas and Lou Rook III of Annie Gunn’s for Best Chef–Midwest.

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