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Jan 21, 2018
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Truffles Butchery’

Ones to Watch 2018: Eric Tirone

Monday, January 1st, 2018

onestowatch_2_jan18

 

Head Butcher and Sous Chef at Truffles Butchery
Age: 27
Why Watch Him: He was a born butcher.

What do you do if your kid tells you he likes cutting raw meat? Hide the knives? If you’re Eric Tirone’s family, you start buying whole chickens. Tirone’s older brother, Chris Tirone (a member of the Ones to Watch Class of 2011), convinced their parents to let them practice breaking down the animals. “My dad said it was a little creepy hearing a little kid say he liked cutting raw meat,” Eric said. “But it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”

At 17, he was helping his big brother butcher whole lambs and fish at An American Place. “Eric shared the same interests I had: sports, cooking, hunting, fishing,” Chris explained. “When I got into cooking, he enjoyed it as well and continued to mess around in the kitchen. Even at home I wouldn’t let him skate by.”

To understand Eric Tirone, all you have to do is watch him break down a massive hog with the skill of a surgeon and finesse of a ninja. It’s that virtuosity that got him promoted to head butcher at New Orleans’ famous, swine-centric Cochon Restaurant in just one year. There, he was butchering at least four pigs a week. Now, at Truffles Butchery, he butchers about one a week and teaches classes.

Does Eric Tirone want his own place? “Oh my God, absolutely! It’s been my end goal my entire life,” he exclaimed. “I haven’t been doing all this for shits and giggles. I can’t see myself doing anything else!” And when that time comes, after “knocking out a few big-boy things” like his wedding next year, you can bet the Tirone brothers will be back, standing side-by-side in the kitchen.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Michael Renner is Sauce’s longtime New & Notable critic. 

Budget Crunch: 8 delicious dishes and sweet deals happening now

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then intrepid Budget Crunch reporter Holly Fann has eight foodie finds you have to try, from sloppy hot dogs to fancy seeds.

 

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1. The free mushroom festival at Pere Marquette Lodge on April 17 is the fungus lover’s Coachella: live music, free wine tastings and vendors selling local goods and crafts. The highlight of the festival is Great Morel Hunt, which takes place on the grounds from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seasoned experts and novice hunters alike will forage for nature’s wrinkly delicacies together with a chance to win prizes for the largest mushroom and biggest haul.

2. Clayton’s Craft Beer Cellar is a sort of nirvana for craft beer lovers, and now it’s a democracy, too. Each Wednesday, cast your vote in the Crowdsourced Happy Hour online (check CBC’s Facebook and Twitter for the link) and choose which two brews should be sipped at the evening’s half-price happy hour from 6 to 8 p.m. Winner, winner, craft beer for dinner.

 

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3. Truffles Restaurant in Clayton has a tasty little next-door neighbor – Truffles Butchery, which also serves up ready-to-eat items like sandwiches. A new menu addition, the Black and Blue Steak Sandwich is a hearty $10 pick. Enjoy a healthy serving of finest quality aged beef tenderloin marinated in bourbon and served with caramelized onions, blue cheese and lettuce and tomato stacked on brioche.

4. Black Thorn Pizza and Pub is not only a great South Grand watering hole, but also a pizza lover’s secret spot. For almost 20 years, owner Dave Difani has made pizzas, and for an easy $9, you can nosh on a 10-inch two-topping pan pizza, hot from the oven, gooey with mozzarella and a golden brown crust.

 

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5. Southwest Diner now serves up tamale on (what else?) Tamale Tuesdays. Unwrap the corn husks to reveal steamed masa stuffed with pork or vegetables and topped with red or green chili or a combo “Christmas” sauce. A ten spot will get you four generous tamales, enough to satiate even the hungriest Tex-Mex lover.

6. The horticulture nerds at SeedGeeks are ready to help you kickstart your summer garden. The SeedGeeks sell packets of untreated, non-GMO heirloom seeds to shoppers at the Tower Grover and Schlafly farmers markets. Grab a few packets of vegetable and herb seeds for a mere $1.50 to $3 each.

 

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7. Not ready to fire up your grill just yet? Get a taste of summer at Steve’s Hot Dogs with the Backyard BBQ Dog, is a sloppy mess that sees a quarter-pound smoked hot dog smothered with baked beans, potato salad, bacon and barbecue sauce. Getting a bite with each element is a mighty feat indeed.

8. Dine Out For The Birds at The Purple Martin and support local wildlife on April 21, when a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds will benefit Wild Bird Rehabilitation’s Songbird Hospital. There, ornithologists care for injured, ill and orphaned native wild songbirds and then release them back into their natural habitat once they are healthy. Take a seat at the bar or on the outdoor patio and sip a signature Purple Martin cocktail (a mix of Malibu Rum, vodka, grape soda and a lemon squeeze for $8) and feel good knowing you helped a little bird regain its song.

 

-photos by Holly Fann

 

The Scoop: Caravelli signs on at Butchery, Andrew takes over as head butcher, McDonald departs for Byrd & Barrel

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

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{Steven Caravelli}

 

Do the Truffles shuffle! A considerable role shift is underway at Truffles Butchery. The Ladue restaurant and meat market recently announced Steven Caravelli has assumed the executive chef-ship of Butchery in cooperation with Brandon Benack, executive chef of Truffles. Caravelli, who started at Butchery June 16, is most recently an alum of Cucina Pazzo; he also has helmed Tavern Kitchen, Pi, Gringo, Araka and Sleek.

“It’s kind of a new aspect right now. I’ve been calling myself a shopkeep,” Caravelli said. “I’ve got to know about wine, about all these prepared items we have in the case. I have to know about all the mustard and barbecue sauces we have. It’s almost like a grocery store. For me, it’s a very exciting … opportunity to learn.”

Caravelli said he hopes to expand Butchery’s catering and prepared foods program, particularly boxed lunches that will include house-prepared roast beef, ham and other deli meats. “I want to maintain the consistency and quality of the place,” he said. “We pride ourselves on catering to the neighborhood. We’re trying to figure out what the neighborhood wants and what the neighborhood eats and make more of that.”

 

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{Tommy Andrew}

 

While Caravelli will oversee much of the management duties both in the kitchen and in Butchery’s retail section, butcher Tommy Andrew – a member of this year’s Sauce’s Ones to Watch class – will fill the sous chef and head butcher positions. Caravelli and Andrew previously worked together at Gringo. “(Tommy’s) great at breaking down whole animals,” Caravelli said. “We work well together.”

While staying mostly mum on the details of his new role, Andrew said he is “definitely going to be stepping up a bit.” His promotion comes soon after the departure of Ryan McDonald, who left several weeks ago to be a chef at upcoming fried chicken eatery Byrd & Barrel, slated to open in July.

 

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{Ryan McDonald} 

 

“To be honest, I missed cooking,” McDonald explained. “Butchering was awesome, running the shop was a lot of fun … but my love is in cooking. Me and Bob (Brazell, co-owner of Byrd & Barrel) have been good friends for years and years now, so it seemed like the right move.”

He also mentioned McDonald’s expertise with charcuterie, which he hopes to add to the Byrd & Barrel menu. “Ryan and I have been really close friends since Monarch,” Brazell said. “I want someone that I trust and is going to care about it as much as I do. Ryan’s one of the most talented chefs I’ve worked with. … (He’s) definitely going to be having a lot of influence.”

“Getting back, having fun, cooking really good food and keeping high expectations,” McDonald said. “That’s our main goal: to cook good food for good people.”

 

-Caravelli and Andrew photos by Carmen Troesser; McDonald photo by Greg Rannells

The Scoop: Andrew Jennrich departs from Butchery, joins Annie Gunn’s

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

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{From left, Butchery’s former head butcher Andrew Jennrich and Truffles executive chef Brandon Benack}

 

Andrew Jennrich has left his post as head butcher at Butchery, the butcher shop and food emporium at 9202 Clayton Road in Ladue. Jennrich said he is now reporting for work at Annie Gunn’s, where’s he’s doing a little bit of everything at the Chesterfield restaurant and its smokehouse next door, he said.

Aleksander “Alex” Jovanovic, general manager at Truffles (which is under the same ownership as Butchery), said he appreciated Jennrich’s contribution to the fledgling butcher shop that opened in late summer. “He helped us get our feet off the ground,” Jovanovic said. “I was hoping he would have stayed longer.” However, he noted the unexpected split was still amicable.

Jennrich said his decision to leave came down to a difference of opinion regarding Butchery’s direction. “We saw things differently,” Jennrich said. “I had a great time being with Brandon (Benack, Truffles’ executive chef) and Alex. I miss being with those guys. Other aspects – (It) just wasn’t going to work out.”

Taking the head butcher slot is Ryan McDonald, who joined the team at Truffles and Butchery as executive sous chef in late October. Jovanovic said that despite the unanticipated change, the transition has been seamless since the Jennrich and McDonald had many weeks to work together prior to his departure. McDonald’s primary role at the shop is butchering; two line cooks from Truffles are now responsible for charcuterie.

Jennrich said his move to Annie Gunn’s has been an educational one, noting the restaurant’s quality and talented staff, particularly executive chef Lou Rook. “Lou Rook, Steve Gontram, Vince Bommarito, Bill Cardwell – they laid the track for all of us. It’s cool to work with someone who set the groundwork,” Jennrich said. “They were all the guys doing farm-to-table before it was cool.” Jennrich’s official title at Annie Gunn’s is still to be determined, but he anticipates it will be settled in January after the holiday season.

 

-photo by Meera Nagarajan

The Scoop: Juniper chef de cuisine Ryan McDonald to join Truffles Restaurant and Butchery

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

The meat case is filled with various cuts of locally and regionally sourced beef, pork, lamb and chicken.

{The meat case at Truffles Butchery}

 

After a year as chef de cuisine at Juniper, Ryan McDonald is joining the team at Truffles and Butchery as executive sous chef.

It’s a reunion of sorts. McDonald worked briefly at Truffles before he took the position at Juniper, and he has previously worked with Truffles executive chef Brandon Benack, sous chef Israel Rodriguez and general manger and wine director, Aleksander Jovanovic at Hubert Keller’s former steakhouse Sleek.

McDonald will man Butchery two days a week, assisting head butcher Andrew Jennrich in the newly opened shop. The remainder of his time will be spent helping Benack to expand and rework menu items at Truffles. “He’s definitely going to have plenty of freedom and room to bring his own touch to the menu,” Jovanovic said. “Both Brandon and Ryan have very deep backgorunds in Southern cooking.”

“I’m excited to be able to collaborate and renovate the menu,” McDonald said. “I’m especially excited about the charcuterie and getting my hands on butchering whole cows.” Truffles’ Butchery specializes in whole-animal butchery sourcing from local and regional farms. The shop also sells house-made side dishes and condiments and offers a sandwich menu.

McDonald said his time at Juniper taught him skills essential to taking on a leadership role in the kitchen. “Juniper is the first place where I was able to take the reins and have freedom to cook the food that I wanted to cook,” he said. “(Juniper) helped me develop and mature into more of a chef than a cook.”

Juniper chef-owner John Perkins said he could not comment on who would replace McDonald at his Central West End establishment, but that his former CDC’s talents would serve him well at Truffles. “Obviously Ryan was really important to the growth of Juniper over the past year, and I expect that he’s going to do very well at Truffles and into the future, whatever that ends up looking like,” he said.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 5 p.m. Oct. 23 with a comment from Juniper chef-owner John Perkins.

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