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Apr 21, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘The Restaurant at The Cheshire’

This week, Ligaya Figueras is obsessed with…

Thursday, December 5th, 2013



{This summer, a soccer injury sidelined me from the field for five long months. I recently celebrated my return to the beautiful game with a beautiful cocktail at The Restaurant at The Cheshire. Tudor Red Rose holds elegant elderflower liqueur, whose sweetness is balanced by bitter Aperol and tart blood orange juice, then topped with sparkling wine and a touch of rose water. Here’s to personal victories!}


 {A nightclub where you need to know the code – password, clothes, handshake and all. Not interested. A club where a luxury box seat to a live show includes a parking spot, a private entrance, pre-show dining on a grand staircase, a private cocktail lounge, in-seat food and beverage service and a private restroom? Someone please sign me up for the Fox Club at the Fabulous Fox Theatre! Now that I’ve had a taste of gentrified entertainment, I can’t bear to go back to my commoner seats in the upper balcony.}



{I must be on some sort of international drinking trip. Last month, I drank up India; I’ve moved on to Lebanon. At Layla, you can find a trio of wines from the Middle Eastern nation, as well as cocktails by bar manager Nick DiGiovanni that incorporate Lebanese kitchen staples such as sumac, zaatar, ginger, dates and flower waters. Try A Bedwin [sic] in The Grove, which takes the margarita on an excursion to the Middle East.}

The Scoop: Wilfrin Fernandez-Cruz moving to Winslow’s Home

Friday, September 27th, 2013


As of next month, Wilfrin Fernandez-Cruz will be the new executive chef at Winslow’s Home located at 7213 Delmar Blvd. In a press release, Winslow’s Home owner Ann Sheehan Lipton wrote, “His leadership couldn’t come at a better time, as our new kitchen and private dining expansion are close to completion.”

After moving to St. Louis from New York City, Fernandez-Cruz was working as executive chef at The Restaurant at The Cheshire, and he currently oversees operations at Washington University’s fine-dining restaurant, Ibby’s. In regards to his new position, Fernandez-Cruz said, “The place has such a history in St. Louis. The chef before was doing such great things. I want to make sure we are going in the same direction. The new restaurant in the basement will be a huge step for Winslow’s Home. I’m very very excited.”

Fernandez-Cruz will take the place of Cary McDowell, who is now working as executive chef for Gringo.


Just Five: Soda-Pop Pork with Roasted Strawberries

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013


This recipe was inspired by an early summer meal at The Restaurant at The Cheshire: a thick-cut, bone-in, smoked pork chop with a delicious black pepper and strawberry sauce. It was pretty transcendent, but it also was simple enough to set off my “Five Ingredients” alarm.

Smoking the meat is the challenge. If you have a smoker or can turn a grill into one, I recommend it for many reasons (smoked nuts, smoked mozzarella, smoked trout). But for this dish, it’s just as easy to toss some wood chips onto a charcoal fire until they smoke. If you don’t have them, you can skip this step entirely, since the brine adds a lot of flavor. Brining the pork in salt and Dr. Pepper turns it into something like a nice ham steak. The additional black pepper gives it real snappiness, and the mellow, roasted strawberries add sweetness.

Pork steaks are so cheap and easy to find, and they cook up in a flash. This dish also would be great using other summer berries or stone fruit instead of roasted strawberries. Elevate your pork steaks, St. Louis!

Soda-Pop Pork with Roasted Strawberries
Adapted by Dee Ryan from a dish at The Restaurant at The Cheshire
Serves 2

¼ cup salt
3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 pork steaks or pork chops (bone-in), 1-inch thick
1 liter Dr. Pepper
Olive oil for drizzling
1 cup strawberries, chopped
2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. white sugar

Special equipment:
Apple or cherry wood chips (optional)

• In a large bowl, whisk together the salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and the Dr. Pepper until the salt is dissolved. Place the pork in a zip-close bag and add the liquid. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.
• Prepare a charcoal grill. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Place the strawberries on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roast them in the oven for 10 minutes.
• In a saucepan over medium head, add the roasted strawberries, the white balsamic vinegar and the sugar and cook 5 minutes, until the strawberries are soft. Remove them from the heat and mash into a sauce using an immersion blender or a fork. Set aside.
• Remove the pork from the brine and pat it dry. Drizzle a little olive oil on each piece and season with the remaining black pepper.
• When the grill is hot, toss the wood chips over the coals. Put the pork on the grill, cover and grill 5 to 6 minutes. Flip, then cover and cook 5 more minutes.
• Brush a layer of the strawberry sauce on the meat and cover for 1 minute. Remove the pork from heat and serve with the remaining sauce.



The Month in Review: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013


As we say goodbye to another month, we’re crossing our fingers that April’s abundance of showers really will bring a few flowers. May means ball games, al fresco dining (and drinking!), the reopening of farmers markets and, hopefully, your thriving gardens. But before our next issue hits newsstands tomorrow, we take a look back at some of our favorite stories, recipes, dishes and drinks from April.

Vegetize It columnist Beth Styles got back to salad’s roots with a kale Caesar that turns to seaweed for a taste of the sea; bar-happy couple Ted and Jamie Kilgore gave us inspiration for brunch-time sipping; a familiar face put gourmet twists on some old favorites; spirits columnist Ligaya Figueras told you about a bold, bittersweet liqueur that’s picking up steam behind the bar; we showed you how easy it is to stock your pantry with homemade salts; we went all Buddy the Elf on the perfect pancake stack; we gave you a glimpse of the new taqueria that has everyone talking; you proved that you really, really like us; New and Notable reviewer Michael Renner gave us a seat at his table at The Cheshire’s chic new spot; we proved that sorghum is the new maple syrup; we told you why the Big Muddy had us at hello; managing editor Stacy Schultz revealed what she’ll do for a great cup of coffee; associate editor Julie Cohen paid respect to all things New York Magazine; we tried not to eat the entire Swedish crumb loaf from Federhofer’s; a couple creative bartenders brought the grill to your glass; art director Meera Nagarajan fantasized about summers in Provence; contributing writer Byron Kerman tracked down a stellar slice of pizza; we offered a peek into the coolest pop-up yet; Baked columnist Amrita Rawat welcomed spring with fruit-forward cupcakes; we revealed the trends we’ve got our eyes on; we found the best seat at downtown’s new MX Theater; and a culinary couple announced that they will celebrate spring Spanish style.

The Scoop: Despite Dierdorf & Hart’s closing in Westport Plaza, LHM chairman is “excited about the future”

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

After nearly a 30 year-run, Dierdorf & Hart’s is closing its doors. As reported by St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe, the steakhouse, located at 323 Westport Plaza, made the announcement last week that doors would shutter after dinner service on May 18 (Lunch service has already ceased.).

Is Dierdorf & Hart’s closure an indication that Westport Plaza is in decline? The Scoop spoke earlier today with Bob O’Loughlin, chairman of Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM), which purchased Westport last year and has its corporate headquarters at the Maryland Heights development.

“When we took over in October, the whole complex was running at 72-percent occupancy,” O’Loughlin said of the 200,000 square feet of retail space and 500,000 square feet of office space. Occupancy has since increased to 74 percent on the retail side and 92 percent for office use, he noted.

Besides Dierdorf & Hart’s, the other restaurants, bars and food-related shops currently at Westport Plaza include: Drunken Fish, Family Nuts, Kobe Japanese Grill, McDonald’s, Patrick’s Bar & Grill, Paul Mineo’s Trattoria, Starbucks, St. Louis Bread Co., Subliminal Subs, Trainwreck Saloon and Westport Pizza Co. Subliminal Subs and Family Nuts are two recent additions to the complex.

O’Loughlin also noted that LHM is planning to open its own concept at Westport: a “hip Mexican” restaurant that will feature an indoor-outdoor bar. While no timeline has been set for the eatery, which will serve as a replacement to the Casa Gallardo that closed a few years ago, O’Loughlin stated that the project is “a definite go” and hopes that doors will open by late-fall. (LHM also owns the recently renovated The Cheshire, whose eating establishments include The Restaurant, Basso and The Market; and The Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, with its 360 lounge.) According to O’Loughlin, LHM has also spoken to such restaurants as locally owned chains Llywelyn’s Pub and Big Daddy’s, as well as a national chain called Park Tavern, about adding a location at Westport.

Landscaping enhancements and upcoming events such as Parties in the Plaza, an art fair, wine tastings and live music on Fridays during the summer will bring an even more enhanced experience to Westport, O’Loughlin hopes. “We see some momentum,” he said. “We’re excited about the future of it.”

The Scoop: Washington University gains Wil Fernandez-Cruz

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Washington University Dining Services announced today that Wil Fernandez-Cruz has been hired as chef de cuisine of Ibby’sIbby’s is located on Wash U.’s Danforth campus and is operated by Bon Appétit Management Co.

Fernandez-Cruz, who worked for years in New York City under the acclaimed chef and restaurateur Marc Meyer and most recently at The Cheshire’s The Restaurant, is looking forward to his new position at Ibby’s. In regards to the campus bistro and the overall dining servicies at Wash U., he told The Scoop,  “I found that it’s truly a beautiful program in terms of sustainable and local products.”

Fernandez-Cruz will be joining John Griffiths, former executive chef at Truffles, who is now the campus executive chef for the university’s dining services. As mentioned in a press release, Griffiths said, “We’re delighted to have Wil join our team. His culinary acumen, fine dining experience and signature style, showcasing the best ingredients he can find, is a wonderful match for us. Wil and I have long shared our philosophy of preparing fresh, made-from-scratch foods with a strong commitment to social responsibility.”

Last April, The Daily Meal awarded Wash U. the title of “Top University in America for Food Lovers.” With the talent the university keeps acquiring, it looks like the school has no plans to lose the title anytime soon.

This week, Stacy Schultz is obsessed with …

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

{After reading Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter, I was in search of another culinary memoir, this time one with recipes (the absolute only thing missing from Hamilton’s masterpiece). Luisa Weiss’ My Berlin Kitchen is just the kind of winter read I was craving: filled with difficult life decisions tinged with the sweet smell of pea soup or the sound of peppers crackling on the stove. A life documented in food – now that’s something to curl up with by the fire.}

{Whether it’s a classic version at my neighborhood eatery or a twist like the Monk’s Manhattan at The Restaurant, whose name hails from the addition of Benedictine (Get it?), no matter where I am these days, I’m in the mood for a Manhattan. Smooth, strong and none too sweet, it’s the sophisticated older sister to that Jack and Coke I ordered well through my early 20s.}

{Cough it up to my Type A side, but nothing irks me more than an empty space; the sprawling windowsill in my kitchen has been haunting my decorating dreams for almost a year now. Finally, I’ve landed on the perfect solution: these adorable little Chalkboard Storage Jars from Anthropologie. I’ll fill them with flour and sugar and line them up for an eye-pleasing mix of form and function that will satisfy my open-shelving aspirations (for now, at least). Take THAT bags of five different kinds of flour that always seem to teeter off the highest shelf!}

The Scoop: The Restaurant and Basso lose executive pastry chef

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Lisa Fernandez-Cruz has resigned as executive pastry chef at The Cheshire’s The Restaurant and Basso. Fernandez-Cruz left her post less than two weeks after her husband Wilfin Fernandez-Cruz resigned as the executive chef at The Restaurant. The Cheshire’s public relations firm Twist confirmed her resignation but has offered no comment. Lisa has not shared her future plans yet; more details as they come.

— photo by Ashley Gieseking

The Scoop: Wil Fernandez-Cruz has left The Restaurant

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Wilfrin Fernandez-Cruz has left his post as executive chef of The Cheshire’s The Restaurant. Fernandez-Cruz and his wife Lisa, executive pastry chef at The Restaurant and Basso, moved from New York City in late August and started preparing for The Restaurant’s opening in early September. Although Wil loved the large kitchen at The Restaurant and the massive smoker and rotisserie, reminiscent of Cookshop, where he worked as chef de cuisine in NYC, he told The Scoop that he “didn’t like the direction The Restaurant was moving.” According to Wil, he was unhappy that he wasn’t able to use enough seasonal ingredients and products coming from small local purveyors.

Wil plans on taking the next few weeks off to spend with his two young sons. While he and Lisa’s end goal (no timeline in sight) is to have their own restaurant, in the meantime, he hopes to work at another restaurant in the city. With his immediate start at The Restaurant, he hasn’t had time to explore St. Louis’ food scene, but he’s excited for the chance to finally see what the city has to offer. Compared to NYC, “St. Louis,” he said, “is a little city, but it has big industry.”

Lisa remains on as the executive pastry chef at The Cheshire’s The Restaurant and Basso.

UPDATE: In a statement issued by The Restaurant at The Cheshire, no plans have been reported as far as interviewing for a new executive chef.  The statement said, “We have an outstanding culinary team in place at The Restaurant, an excellent corporate chef in Rex Hale who has been involved from the start, and an amazing talent in Basso Executive Chef Patrick Connolly, a James Beard Award winner, who will take on a larger role.”

— photo by Michelle Volanksy

The Perfect Mix: An interview with Wil and Lisa Fernandez-Cruz

Friday, January 11th, 2013

We all know mixing business and pleasure can be a recipe for disaster, but for Wilfrin and Lisa Fernandez-Cruz, there’s never been a difference between the two. They met while working at 202, a now-closed restaurant in New York’s Chelsea Market. Wil, having emigrated from the Dominican Republic, had climbed the restaurant ladder to sous chef, and Lisa was making pastries. After marriage, two babies and a job change, the pair has been reunited in the kitchen at The Cheshire. He’s the executive chef for the newly opened The Restaurant, its catering arm and The Market (coming soon). She’s executive pastry chef for all of The Cheshire’s eating establishments. And thankfully for St. Louis diners, their recipe for making it work tastes just right.

What was the final impetus to leave NYC?

LF: It was always in the back of my head to bring the kids back. There are just so many more opportunities for them here. But one day, I had one of those days where your bag breaks on the subway, then you trip and fall and step into a huge puddle, and a man screams at you for no reason …

WF: And some guy is puking …

LF: Or pees on your shoe. And I’m like, am I in a movie? I called my sister crying, and the next day she sent me an email that said, “I found this ad on Craigslist and maybe you should apply; there’s a job for your husband at the same place.” We were here within three weeks of applying.

Did you start dating at 202?

WF: We met there – dated, got married; it was a beautiful time.

LF: Well, I didn’t talk to him at first. He didn’t speak any English! He was like, “Hola lady.”

You learned English to woo her?

WF: Pretty much.

LF: He slipped me his number one day.

WF: I was that creepy guy.

What’s your best tactic for working together?

LF: We’re brutally honest without hurting each other’s feelings.

WF: We work really well together. We knew that going in. We fell in love working in a kitchen. I look at Lisa as a business person. Outside, we’re married. Here, we’re co-workers. I’m not like, “Hey sweetie, can you do this for me?”

Your kids must have the most sophisticated palates in all of day care and kindergarten.

LF: George [the 3-year-old] has a 100-percent salt palate. Every single morning he wants eggs and bacon. “Did you put salt on this?” he’ll say.

WF: Then, “Can I just have the salt? I’ll salt it myself.”

LF: But Wil [the 5-year-old] is about the cakes, cookies and candy. Every day, he asks me, “Are you gong to make some cupcakes today? Do you want to bring some home?”

LF: Food; it’s pretty much our life.

WF: It is our life.

— photo by Ashley Gieseking


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