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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Randolph’

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.

 

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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

 

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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

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

From new locations of popular barbecue joints and brunch spots to the closing of a 40-year-old Fairview Heights institution, here’s what happened last weekend in the St. Louis dining scene, ICYMI…

 

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1. Scott Sandler, owner of Pizzeoli in Soulard, has announced he will open a new restaurant called Pizza Head at 3196 S. Grand Ave., in the former Absolutli Goosed and Brickyard Tavern space.

2. Pastry chef Alex Feick is bringing her baking game to area restaurants and retailers. Prioritized Pastries aims to supply area restaurants, stores and individuals with quality artisan breads, pastries and desserts.

 

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3. Mike and Liz Randolph, co-owners of Randolph Restaurants,  have announced a second location of Half & Half in Webster Groves. The breakfast and lunch spot will open in late spring or early summer at 220 W. Lockwood Ave., in the current First Watch space.

4. The Tom & Chee location at 1280 Highway K in O’Fallon, Missouri, has closed. The closing was announced on the location’s Facebook page Jan. 9, citing “circumstances beyond our control.”

 

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5. Delmar Loop favorite Salt & Smoke is getting ready to expand its barbecue empire to South St. Louis this summer. Owner Tom Schmidt has announced that he will open a new location of the restaurant at 5625 Hampton Ave., the former home of Mathew’s Kitchen that shuttered last year.

6. Another longstanding Metro East establishment is shutting its doors. Dandy Inn Pub in Fairview Heights is scheduled to close on Sunday, Jan. 15, after 40 years in business.

7. Moya Grill, located at 567 Mehlville Ave. in University City, has been shuttered. The casual Ethiopian eatery from the owners of Meskerem on South Grand closed over the holidays.

 

Don’t miss out on all the St. Louis restaurant news – follow Sauce Magazine on Facebook and Twitter for the latest Scoops and Sneak Peeks!

 

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The Scoop: Half & Half to open second location in Webster Groves

Monday, January 9th, 2017

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{ Clara Cakes at Half & Half }

 

 

Mike and Liz Randolph, co-owners of Randolph Restaurants (Randolfi’s, Público, Half & Half), have announced a second location of Half & Half in Webster Groves. The breakfast and lunch spot will open in late spring or early summer at 220 W. Lockwood Ave., in the current First Watch space.

Liz Randolph said Webster Groves has many similarities to Clayton, which has proven to be a supportive environment for the original location. These include a community that patronizes local business and plenty of nearby residential areas. The city also has a university with a large student population.

“We have wanted to expand for a while, but it needed to feel right. It’s important to us that we continue to be a part of a community. Webster Groves seems like a great fit, and we are really excited to take this next step,” she said. “We’d been talking about it for about a year, and I always figured it would work out when the time was right. You can’t rush it.”

Randolph said the space was especially attractive since it’s already set up as a restaurant. “We’ve turned an old Blockbuster and a former hair salon into restaurants before,” she said, adding that transforming them into restaurants took considerable work. “I’m just excited to have a kitchen this time.”

The new space will have more seats than the Clayton location, she said, but less than First Watch. Space Architecture & Design will oversee the restaurant’s rustic design, which will include a large coffee bar, mason jars, a white wood bar and antique mirrors.

The Webster Groves Half & Half will share hours and menu items with the Clayton location, though Randolph said the chefs at each restaurant will be creating their own brunch specialties.

 

 

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• Sauce Magazine: January 2017

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

 

Ones to Watch 2016: Jeffrey Moll

Friday, January 15th, 2016

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Title: Bar manager, Randolfi’s Italian Kitchen
Age: 33
Why Watch Him: His quirky quest for perfection in all things cocktail shaped Randolfi’s top-notch bar.

3: The number of recipe variations it usually takes to perfect a cocktail. “The first iteration is called the ‘proximity cocktail’ because it’s rarely the final recipe. I’m painfully neurotic, almost never happy with something I make for the first time.”

6: The number of notebooks filled with cocktail ideas, R & D and recipes – both successful attempts and dramatic failures. “I write down everything: things that worked and things that didn’t. Every time I change something, I write it down.”

200: The number of cocktails in those notebooks, including drinks that made the menu at Little Country Gentleman, The Good Pie and Randolfi’s, drinks that never saw the light of day and some experimental molecular cocktails, like sous vide Old-Fashioned that “just weren’t practical.”

No. 26: A drink later renamed Left Bound. The port and whiskey cocktail was an early, original creation that saw six incarnations before finding itself. The final version is smoky and sweet, featuring a 10-year tawny port and McCarthy single-malt whiskey.

1:1:1: A balanced ratio. Moll seeks to balance flavor, intensity and nuance in all his drinks. “It’s important to have just enough – not too much and not too little. Everything that’s in a bottle has its own characteristic. Finding the balance with whatever you’re putting in the glass is what makes a good drink.”

24: The number of amari at Randolfi’s. “I wish people would get into amaro. There are so many good ones out there. Some are sweeter, and some are turbo dry and bitter. I squeeze it into as many drinks on the menu as I can.”

150: The number of vintage cocktail glasses in his collection. You may even sip from one – Moll rotates some of his finds through the bar at Randolfi’s.

120021: A palindrome, reading the same forward and backward. So do some of Moll’s cocktails, like the Madam I’m Adam. Call it a quest for balance, an affinity for math or just having fun. “The more I learn, the more I appreciate everything. It’s exhausting to be cynical. It’s about seeing people enjoy what you’ve done.”

41: The years of combined industry experience touting Moll’s dedication and skill.
Planter’s House co-owner Ted Kilgore: “He has a real palate for creating balanced cocktails.”
Randolfi’s chef-owner Mike Randolph: “He is an encyclopedia of knowledge.”
Layla general manager Tony Saputo: “He’s meticulous and calculating. He isn’t jaded. He works to make drinks with integrity.”

-photo by Carmen Troesser

 

Best New Restaurants: No. 1 – Público

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Opening a restaurant isn’t easy. Each year, hundreds give it a shot – and not everyone succeeds. Some, however, aren’t just surviving; they’re killing it. In the last year, we ate our way through newly opened restaurants from Alton to Ballwin, compiling a list of places that serve the food and drinks we can’t get out of our heads. They bring something different and exciting to the scene – and they do it damn well. While technical excellence was a must, the service and ambiance also had to win us over. Office debates nearly came to fisticuffs, but at last we agreed on St. Louis’ 11 best new restaurants of 2015. Clear your schedule and book your reservations; you’ve got a lot of eating to do.

 

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The world stops when you enter Público, stepping away from the controlled chaos of the Delmar Loop. Here, chef-owner Mike Randolph invites you to luxuriate in the finer things through an innovative Mexican- and South American-inspired menu unlike anything St. Louis has seen before.

The kitchen and bar teams refer to Randolph as “Coach,” a title that goes far beyond his pre-service pep talks. “You’re only as good as your team,” he said with an Eric Taylor gleam in his eye. This is not a platitude – the kitchen is structured to support and challenge its cooks as much as its diners. A cook who works hard at Público will go far in Randolph’s world. “I’m a firm believer in the fact that you can’t teach attitude,” he said. “If somebody has a good attitude, and they’re not turned into a rock star, then that’s my fault.”

When enthusiasm to learn can outweigh culinary school credentials, Randolph has to be prepared to invest long-term in cooks. That’s no easy task in an industry where turnover can be swift and frequent. What’s made it possible at Público isn’t a curriculum or corporate training system, Randolph said. It’s his even-keeled chef de cuisine, Brad Bardon.

“Brad’s just as cool as the other side of the pillow. I’ve never seen him get angry, certainly never seen him yell,” Randolph said. “He gets along with people. The servers love him; the cooks love him. He’s a dream come true.”

The yin and yang of their creative partnership shapes Público’s entire menu. “Brad was extremely conservative, and I was about as far on the opposite end of that spectrum as you can possibly be,” Randolph said. “So he was here,” – Randolph stretched out his right arm – “and I was here.” He extended his left arm, then brought both hands together. “And Público is here, in the middle. … It’s no longer Brad’s food or my food. It’s Público food.”

And just what is Público food? Imaginative, yet tight and reliable, the distinctive menu offers reassuring familiar dishes, like tacos and guacamole arepas. But these serve as an approachable entry into Randolph and Bardon’s world rather than an alternative to adventurous dining. “We have no interest in being a strip-mall Mexican restaurant or just a taco place,” Randolph said. “Tacos are a part of what we do, but they don’t by any stretch of the imagination define us.”

Público is defined by technique rather than a signature dish. The roaring wood-fire oven visible in the open kitchen touches almost everything on the menu. Cooking with something as temperamental as fire is notoriously difficult, and Público’s consistency showcases Randolph’s masterful execution.

Though a few small plates are available, think of all the offerings as a build-your-own tasting menu. Try as many dishes as possible and encourage your dining companions to share. Be brave and order the baby octopus – even texture-phobes can get behind these tender little bites of intense umami flavor. Dishes that sound tame will surprise you. A simple order of leeks arrived as a work of art, decorated with bright roe and surrounded by crema that demanded to be licked from the plate. A more substantial whole fish (a market option meant to be shared between two or more guests) is fire-roasted, simple perfection.

The esteemed bar program headed by bar manager Nick Digiovani will encourage you to share as well, since it’s almost impossible to choose just one inventive cocktail. Classics like El Diablo (Espolón Blanco tequila, lime, cassis and ginger beer) are offered alongside a menu of peculiar house creations. Try the Windy City Mezcalero for a strange, smoky herbal drink made with Del Maguey mezcal, Besk (a Swedish wormwood liqueur) and sugar.

Drinks and dishes rotate aggressively. If you haven’t dined at Público since doors opened in March, you won’t recognize most items currently available. Some favorites are gone in a flash, like the delicate cobia ceviche, served in a slurpable tomato water. Público’s heavy rotation is due both to seasonality constraints and Randolph’s commitment to keep his cooks on their toes. “Monotonous things lend themselves potentially to complacency in the kitchen, so we try to change things up,” he said.

Servers hate it, joking that the moment a dish becomes popular, Randolph pulls it from the menu. “And it is kind of the truth,” Randolph admitted. “I like to keep my cooks fresh, keep them trying new stuff.” If Randolph and Bardon are behind it, we’ll happily keep trying the new stuff, too.

-photo by Greg Rannells

 

Best New Restaurants: No. 4 – Randolfi’s Italian Kitchen

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Opening a restaurant isn’t easy. Each year, hundreds give it a shot – and not everyone succeeds. Some, however, aren’t just surviving; they’re killing it. In the last year, we ate our way through newly opened restaurants from Alton to Ballwin, compiling a list of places that serve the food and drinks we can’t get out of our heads. They bring something different and exciting to the scene – and they do it damn well. While technical excellence was a must, the service and ambiance also had to win us over. Office debates nearly came to fisticuffs, but at last we agreed on St. Louis’ 11 best new restaurants of 2015. Clear your schedule and book your reservations; you’ve got a lot of eating to do.

 

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Chef-owner Mike Randolph welcomes St. Louisans into his family at his newest restaurant venture, Randolfi’s. The slight spelling alteration honors his Italian heritage; the family’s name was changed when they immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1800s. The space that once housed The Good Pie is now festooned with red-and-white checked tablecloths and photos of generations of Randolphs. It has all the semblance of an old-school Italian-American ristorante, but you won’t find fettuccine Alfredo or garlic bread on this Italian menu.

Neapolitan-style pizzas come out of the same roaring wood-fired pizza oven as in The Good Pie days, but at Randolfi’s, they work well as a sharable starter. Follow the rustic pizza with a sophisticated beef tartare, a silky appetizer with delicate meaty flavor crowned with a luxurious semi-soft cured egg yolk.

Randolph’s passion and attention to detail carry through to the house-made pasta dishes and entrees. Hand-cut pappardelle, toothsome buccatini and more are made with precision and prepared perfectly al dente. Fluffy gnocchi is served as a bed for rich duck confit with briny olives and orange segments for a balanced dish of ricocheting, complementary flavors. Deceivingly simple in its presentation, a pork and apples entree was texturally delightful: pork loin served with soft caramelized apples and tender-crisp celery.

The bar program holds its own against the creative fare. Indulge your curiosity with any of bar manager Jeffrey Moll’s inspired seasonal cocktails. Sip on the No. 37¾, a bourbon and ginger liqueur libation delivered with an apple-wood smoke cap roiling atop a blackberry garnish.

Don’t be selfish when your order arrives; the variety and creativity of Randolfi’s menu begs to be shared with friends and family. Then take your time; linger and enjoy the food, company and la bella vita in a space as intimate as Nonna’s kitchen.

 

-photo by Greg Rannells

The Scoop: Chef Tommy “Salami” Andrew to lead kitchen at Randolfi’s as chef de cuisine

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

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The new year will see a new chef de cuisine at Randolfi’s as Tommy “Salami” Andrew joins the kitchen crew. One of Sauce Magazine’s 2015 Ones to Watch, Andrew was most recently at Byrd & Barrel and accepted the position at Randolfi’s after staging at Mike Randolph’s acclaimed University City eatery.

“We didn’t want to fill the position with just anyone who was available,” Randolph said. “He staged, and then we sat down together to see if it would be a good fit for everyone.”

Andrew will step into the role on Jan. 2, 2016. “I had never been to Randolfi’s, and was surprised at how awesome the food was,” he said. “With my Italian roots, I’m ready to get creative and make really good pasta. I think it’s going to be a great home for me, and I plan to stay a long time.”

Andrew’s Italian roots were only part of the equation for Randolph. “He has a lot of leadership attributes,” Randolph said. “Tommy is cut from the same cloth. Spend a few hours in the kitchen with him, and he’s going to work harder than everybody else and do the things a leader should do.”

In addition to his leadership qualities, Andrew will bring butchering and charcuterie skills, things Randolph said “inherently tie to the kind of Italian food we’re trying to put out.”

 

-photo by Carmen Troesser

 

Cooking the Classics: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Friday, November 20th, 2015

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Randolfi’s chef-owner Mike Randolph makes light, airy meatballs loaded with flavor. Here, 4 tips from the pro for magical meatballs at home.

1. Ditch the breadcrumbs. Airy meatballs start with high-quality bread. Cube a day-old artisanal loaf and soak it in buttermilk; this will help bind the mixture and keep it moist. Sturdy bread lends itself to a softer, fluffier meatball, and buttermilk is a great way to add acid to the meat, which means better flavor in the finished product.

2. Bigger is better. If you want a light, soft texture, make a couple large meatballs instead of dozens of little ones. They’re less likely to dry out during cooking, and it’s less work for you.

3. You don’t boil a steak; don’t boil meatballs. The best way to cook meatballs is to season well, sear, add a simple tomato puree and braise two to three hours in a 225-degree oven.

4. Don’t neglect the noodles. Spaghetti and meatballs is mostly spaghetti. For a new take on the classic, toss al dente pasta in a pan with a generous glug of olive oil, your favorite herbs, a splash of pasta water and a sprinkle of Parmesan. It’s a great accompaniment to the meat and a simple alternative to the expected tomato sauce.

Meatballs
Courtesy of Randolfi’s Mike Randolph
4 to 6 servings

6 oz. artisanal day-old white bread, cut into ¼-inch cubes (about 3½ cups)
1½ cups buttermilk
1¼ lbs. ground lamb
1¼ lbs. ground pork
1 egg
2½ tsp. chopped fresh garlic
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. kosher salt
1¼ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
¾ tsp. chopped fresh thyme
¾ tsp. fennel pollen*
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 14.5-oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, pureed
Spaghetti with Herbs and Cheese (recipe follows)
Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

• Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
• In a large bowl, soak the bread in the buttermilk about 20 minutes. Add ¼ pound lamb and ¼ pound pork to the bread mixture and mix until well incorporated. Add the remaining lamb, the remaining pork, the egg, garlic, lemon zest, salt, rosemary, black pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme and fennel pollen and mix well. Use your hands to form the meat mixture into baseball-sized meatballs, 6- to 8-ounces each.
• In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the meatballs, turning every few minutes to sear all sides, about 10 minutes. Place the meatballs in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
• Pour the tomato puree into the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape any browned bits from the bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Pour the sauce over the meatballs.
• Bake 2 hours. Serve over spaghetti. Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

*Available at Larder & Cupboard, 7310 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.300.8995, larderandcupboard.com

Spaghetti with Herbs and Cheese
Courtesy of Randolfi’s Mike Randolph
4 servings

1 lb. dried spaghetti
½ cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
1 cup grated Parmesan
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
4 tsp. lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook until just shy of al dente, 6 to 7 minutes. Reserve 2 cups pasta water, then drain the spaghetti and set aside.
• Return the pot to the stove over medium heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and shallot and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the spaghetti, Parmesan, parsley, red pepper flakes and 1 cup pasta cooking water. Toss until the spaghetti is cooked to al dente and the sauce coats the pasta, about 5 minutes. Add more pasta cooking water as needed if the sauce is too thick. Stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

-photo by Greg Rannells

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