The Splendid Table
St. Louis is home to multiple James Beard Award-winning chefs, a vibrant food scene, and a vast array of highly praised locally-owned restaurants.
The Splendid Table’s Francis Lam will be exploring some of them as he visits St. Louis restaurants ahead of a conversation with some of those chefs on-stage at a live recording of his show!
Join Tamara Keefe of Clementine’s, Ramon Cuffie of Herbie’s, and Michael Gallina of Vicia as they talk with Francis about the thriving St. Louis culinary scene.
And because no Splendid Table event would be complete without good food, stick around after the show to mingle with the chefs and sample some of their favorite dishes.
Francis Lam is the host of The Splendid Table, produced by American Public Media.
A regular contributor and frequent guest host on The Splendid Table since 2010, Lam is the former Eat columnist for The New York Times Magazine and is Editor-at-Large at Clarkson Potter, a division within Penguin Random House that is a leader in cookbook publishing.
For two seasons, Lam was a regular judge on Bravo’s hit show, Top Chef Masters. An award-winning writer, Lam has written for numerous publications, including Gourmet, Bon Appetít, Food & Wine, Lucky Peach, Saveur, Salon, Men’s Journal, and the Financial Times.
He graduated first in his class at the Culinary Institute of America and holds a bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. He lives with his family in New York City.
Tamara Keefe, CEO and self-anointed “Flavor Temptress” of St. Louis-based Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery, has always had a deep passion for not only ice cream itself, but also for what it represents: family, community and, in her words, “moments of connection.”
Her life’s journey from a girl born into an economically disadvantaged family - growing up on food stamps, to a self-made ice cream entrepreneur is nothing short of extraordinary.
Keefe has over 25 years of experience working across global brands including Ensure, Coca Cola, Nestle, Kraft, ConAgra, Heritage Foods, Campbells, and Mars in the consumer packaged goods industry. It’s only fitting that Forbes did a solo feature on Keefe and her budding ice cream empire this summer.
Alum of the Goldman Sachs 10KSB program, Keefe serves on the board of the St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation. She is an active member of EO Entrepreneurs Organization, currently serving as the MyEO Chair 2019 helping businesses grow and thrive, and was recently chosen as one of the 2019 Tory Burch Foundation Fellows.
Executive Chef Ramon Cuffie’s whole career has been an exploration of technique, tradition, seasonality, and getting out of the way to allow ingredients to take places of honor on the plate.
While still in high school, Cuffie started out working in the kitchen at The Chase and Al Baker’s, before landing at Bar Italia where he spent a decade.
Like all great chefs, Cuffie has traveled. He explored the Pacific Northwest for a year. He spent a few years in Avignon where instincts learned in St. Louis were reinforced and his understanding of hospitality was fully formed.
After moving back to St. Louis, Chef Ramon took over the reins at JaBoni’s, in the not-quite-yet The Grove. During which, Cuffie took time to attend the Culinary Institute of America.
After graduating, Ben Poremba recruited Chef Ramon to his new restaurant in Clayton, Parigi, where he spent three years. Once Parigi closed its doors, he took a break from the kitchen; reading cookbooks from around the world, and honing in his culinary skills.
Early in 2019, owner, Aaron Teitelbaum brought Ramon on as his Executive Chef of Herbies.
As Executive Chef at Vicia, Michael Gallina is thrilled to bring a taste of the world he’s explored back home to St. Louis.
Sourcing fresh ingredients, Michael creates dishes that change with the seasons. His thirst for experimentation has helped him earn Vicia many accolades since its opening in March 2017, including 4-stars from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a Best New Restaurant in America by Eater, Esquire & Bon Appetit, as well being named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine.
Most recently, Vicia was named the #1 restaurant by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Michael was a James Beard Foundation Finalist for Best Chef in America Midwest. Michael left St. Louis at 22 to begin his own food-focused journey.
After attending the California Culinary Academy, he found a home in Campton Place’s kitchen under Chef Daniel Humm, and then Eleven Madison Park, in NYC, as sous chef.
In 2007 he joined Dan Barber at his acclaimed restaurant Blue Hill.
After four years, Michael became chef de cuisine at Blue Hill Stone Barns, where he stayed for 5 years and met his now-wife and business partner, Tara. Gallina traveled in Sweden and Spain where he found inspiration in nature and foraging for ingredients.
That education continued during his time at BHSB, and his passion for harvesting food, working closely with farmers, and creating a cuisine that supports local farms, is, for Gallina, forever intertwined with what occurs inside the kitchen.