Chef Chat: Hiro Asian Kitchen's Bernie Lee Is Proud of His Roots

Categories: Chef Chat

Bernie.Lee.jpg
Bernie Lee, owner of Hiro Asian Kitchen. | Jennifer Silverberg

Hiro Asian Kitchen (1405 Washington Avenue; 314-241-4476) owner Bernie Lee had been dreaming of opening a restaurant on Washington Avenue for years. The cosmopolitan feel of the street, the bustling energy and the neighborhood vibe all made the spot on the corner of Fourteenth Street and Washington Avenue seem like the perfect fit for his vision of a southeast-Asian eatery.

Still, Lee -- a Malaysian ex-patriate -- wondered if he would have to Americanize his food to make Hiro successful. After struggling with what to do with his concept, he sought advice from his biggest culinary influence: his mom.

See Also: Hometown Hiro: Hiro brings Eastern Asian comfort food to St. Louis

More »

Chef Chat: Ed Heath on Moving from the Mountains to the Prairie

Categories: Chef Chat

heath.jpg
Cleveland-Heath's Eric "Ed" Heath. | Jennifer Silverberg

Ed Heath had a plan: cook in restaurants to support himself while in school, then start his career in natural-resource management. The path was clear for the Utah native, until he graduated, got a job working for the government, and realized something was missing. He quit, bounced around from restaurant to restaurant, and felt lost. Then he met Jenny Cleveland.

See Also: Chef Chat: Jennifer Cleveland's Guilty Pleasures and Not-So-Secret Crush

More »

Chef Chat: Julie Weldele Is Scape American Bistro's Sweet and Sour Pastry Chef

Categories: Chef Chat

Thumbnail image for julie.weldele.2.jpg
Julie Weldele of Scape American Bistro and Crepes Etc. | Brittany Zehr

Jumping from interior design to the world of pastry wasn't that big of a leap for Julie Weldele. "I've always been artsy," she explains. "Pastry was just a different medium."

It was this creative spirit and penchant for aesthetics that led Weldele to a casual cake-decorating class. She was instantly hooked on the craft and honed her talent for sweets while working with acclaimed mentors in some of the city's top kitchens: Christy Augustin, Simone Faure and Nathaniel Reid. When the opportunity came up to head the pastry program for both Scape American Bistro (48 Maryland Plaza; 314-361-7227) and Crepes Etc. (52 Maryland Plaza; 314-367-2200) in the Central West End, she jumped at the chance. "It allows me to have the best of both worlds. I get to do plated desserts at Scape, which I love, but I also get the feel of running my own bakery at Crepes Etc."

See also: Chef Chat: The Vampire Faure of La Patisserie Chouquette

More »

Chef Chat: The Vampire Faure of La Patisserie Chouquette

Categories: Chef Chat

faure.cb.jpg
Simone Faure, owner of La Patisserie Chouquette. | Mabel Suen

"I'm not saving lives. I'm making chocolate shoes."

What Simone Faure says may be true, but you wouldn't always know it. People line up at her shop, La Patisserie Chouquette (1626 Tower Grove Avenue; 314-932-7935), desperate for her ornate baked wares as if their lives depended on it.

See Also: La Patisserie Chouquette Crafts Couture Cake Toppers


More »

Brewer Chat: 4 Hands Brewing Company's Martin Toft IV

Categories: Chef Chat

martin.toft.jpg
Martin Toft at work at 4 Hands Brewing Company. | Kevin Lemp

Martin Toft IV laughs when he recalls his first foray into making beer. "It was awful. Technically, I suppose it was beer. I don't know why I kept going with it, but it eventually got better," he says.

It certainly did. As a brewer and brewery manager at 4 Hands Brewing Company (1220 South Eight Street; 314-436-1559), Toft is responsible for some of St. Louis' finest craft beers.

See Also: Bottled Wisdom: An Oral History of St. Louis' Craft-Beer Movement

More »

Chef Chat: Alex Cupp Is Adam's Smokehouse's Pit Boss

Categories: Chef Chat

alex.cupp.jpg
Alex Cupp of Adam's Smokehouse | Cheryl Baehr

After cooking for the city's well-to-do at a private club, Alex Cupp was looking for a new culinary path. He never expected it would lead to the barbecue world, but when he saw the sign for a then-unopened Adam's Smokehouse (2819 Watson Road; 314-875-9890), something told him to go inside.

See Also: #75: Smoked Salami Sandwich from Adam's Smokehouse

More »

Chef Chat: Jennifer Cleveland's Guilty Pleasures and Not-So-Secret Crush

Categories: Chef Chat

cleveland.jpg
Jennifer Cleveland and her partner, Ed Heath | Jennifer Silverberg

Following college, the siren song of the mountains drew Jennifer Cleveland to Salt Lake City where she met her two great loves: cooking and her partner, Ed Heath. After culinary school at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and stints at some of the country's top restaurants (ad hoc, the French Laundry), Cleveland returned to her southern Illinois roots and opened Cleveland-Heath (106 N. Main Street, Edwardsville, IL; 618-307-4830) in downtown Edwardsville in 2011. There, she treats patrons to unpretentious, elevated comfort food that's more than worth the drive across the river.

See Also: Cleveland-Heath's Old Fashioned Cherry Pie



More »

Chef Chat: Chris Bolyard Is a Butcher with a Soft Side

Categories: Chef Chat

bolyard.jpg
Chris Bolyard | Cheryl Baehr

Chris Bolyard is a busy man these days. Technically still the chef de cuisine at Sidney Street Cafe, Bolyard has been hard at work getting ready for the fall opening of his much-anticipated Bolyard's Meat & Provisions. It's the realization of a dream for the Culinary Institute of America grad, who is looking forward to parlaying his passion for butchering into a shop of his own in downtown Maplewood. There, this self-described "meat geek" will offer St. Louisans locally and humanely raised beef, chicken, lamb and pork and educate his patrons on whole-animal cooking.

See Also: Chris Bolyard Says Goodbye to Sidney Street Cafe; Plans to Open Maplewood Butcher Shop

More »

Chef Chat: Marianne Moore on Going Out Czech and Italian Style

Categories: Chef Chat

Marianne.jpg
Chef Marianne Moore | Liz Sloan for L Photographie

Chef Marianne Moore's path into the kitchen wasn't exactly straight. While on a sabbatical from her interior-design career, Moore was recruited to attend a "just for fun" culinary class with a friend, only to walk out with a new calling. Now, with a resume that includes stints at some of the city's most upscale hotels, Moore is putting her mark on the St. Louis culinary scene as the creative director for the Dierbergs culinary program. There, she oversees the market's six in-store cooking schools by designing menus, creating recipes and inspiring others to take the leap into the kitchen like she did.

See Also: Chef Chat: Lassaad Jeliti Is Spare No Rib's Resident Mathematician

More »

Chef Chat: Lassaad Jeliti Is Spare No Rib's Resident Mathematician

Categories: Chef Chat

Jeliti.jpg
Lassaad Jeliti of Spare No Rib | Jennifer Silverberg

Barbecue and tacos together under one roof may not seem to add up, but mathematician-turned-restaurateur Lassaad Jeliti found the common denominator. "It's all street food," he said back in March of his inspiration for Spare No Rib (2200 Gravois Avenue; 314-202-8244). Obviously, he was on to something -- Zagat recently named Spare No Rib one of the 15 Hottest Barbecue Joints in America.

See Also: Critic's Notebook: Inside Lassaad Jeliti's Beautiful Mind

More »
Loading...