Pimento Cheese, Heavy Metal and Learning to Salt Your Food: A Q&A with Brian Moxey of Pastaria
Though a native son of Sikeston, Brian Moxey made his bones as a young cook on the world's biggest stage: New York City. After graduating from the French Culinary Institute (now known as the International Culinary Center) in Manhattan, he worked at Craftsteak, from the acclaimed (and now television-famous) Tom Colicchio, and then at two of Marco Canora's acclaimed Italian restaurants, Insieme and Hearth.
Brian Moxey slides a pizza into Pastaria's wood-fired oven. | Jennifer Silverberg
The love of Italian cuisine -- not to mention the dedication to working ever harder -- that Canora instilled in Moxey prepared him for his return to St. Louis as the executive chef of the acclaimed Pastaria (7734 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-862-6603).
Moxey and I met on a recent afternoon to talk about his journey from Missouri to New York and back again (read my profile of Moxey for that story), his early impressions of the dining scene in St. Louis and his love of pimento cheese and heavy metal.
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What's a typical meal at home for you? I gravitate to simple pasta dishes when my wife and I do have time to sit down together. She's a school teacher, so we have polar-opposite schedules. Then with our [two-year-old] daughter and trying to get her to bed. [Afterwards,] we're like, 'Are you still hungry?' I try to keep it simple -- one-pan stuff. Maybe a nice salad, roasted vegetables and a roast chicken is one of my favorite things to cook. I like to roast meats at home for sure -- a big steak or something. On a weeknight, probably just a bowl of pasta or something.
Is your daughter an adventurous eater yet? When she was younger, I remember, we were out to dinner, and she ate salt cod, she ate octopus and all this different stuff. And now, no. She's not super open to it. That's another thing about why I love where I work right now. When she comes in, macaroni & cheese? No problem. She's a big fan of the Bolognese sauce, too. That's fun. But she's in a picky-eater phase right now.
Any guilty pleasures? Something we'd be surprised you like? Pimento cheese and gummi bears.
Together? [laughs] Not combined.
That would be surprising. Anything else? One of my favorite late-night snacks is the Oberle sausage, Haulty pimento cheese and Triscuits.
Pimento cheese is having a moment, you know. I know. Now it's like this huge thing, but I remember my dad eating those sandwiches when we were kids, and I still love it. It's delicious.
What's on top of your pizza? Canadian bacon and pineapple. I love it. If we're doing a delivery sceniaro, I'll probably destroy it with sriracha when it gets there.
What's your drink of choice? Probably a negroni. I like the balance.