Chef Chat: Barry Kinder on Playing the Washboard and His Shameless SweeTart Habit

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Barry Kinder of Grove East Provisions. | Jennifer Silverberg

Barry Kinder was more likely to be a performer at one of Grove East Provisions' (3101 Arsenal Street; 314-802-7090) music nights rather than its owner. An accomplished drummer, Kinder spent several years living in London and touring Europe with various bands. No matter what city he was in, he relied on the neighborhood markets daily, whether to simply grab some beer and a snack, or to gather the fixings for a home-cooked meal.

See Also: Review: A Drummer Finds a New Calling with a Charming Neighborhood Bodega at Grove East Provisions

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Chef Chat: Such and Such Farm's Autumn Sij Is a City Girl Gone Country

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Autumn Sij with her goat, Lucy Ricardo-Ball. | Virginia Harold with compliments of Such and Such Farm

"If you hear the sound of pigs squealing in the background, don't pay any attention to it," laughs Such and Such Farm's Autumn Sij. These days, her life is filled with animal sounds: the clucks of her chickens, the bleats of her goats, the gobble gobble of her turkey named Jive.

See Also: Chef Chat: Sous Chef Josh Poletti is the Libertine's Unsung Hero

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Chef Chat: The Dam's Matt Galati Turns South City into Amsterdam

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Chef Matt Galati of the Dam. | Cheryl Baehr

Perhaps there has never been a better fit between chef and restaurant than Matt Galati and the Dam (3173 Morganford Road; 314-771-3173). "Can I say smoking pot is my daily ritual," the irreverent burger master laughs (ahem, joking, of course) as he buttons up a fresh chef coat over a loud T-shirt. Indeed, there's no mistaking the Amsterdam vibe at the Dam -- it's the monstrous, juicy burgers and over-the-top accoutrements make the little south-city burger shack a paradise for those with the munchies.

See Also: The Dam Cooks Up Bar Food Fit for the Fried

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Chef Chat: Mary Boehne Is a Strange Kind of Pastry Chef

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Chef Mary Boehne of Strange Donuts. | Noah Besheer

"I'm a pastry chef's worst nightmare," Mary Boehne laughs. "I don't measure things all of the time. I've gotten really good at eyeballing. I probably shouldn't admit this."
Perhaps it's this irreverence that led Boehne to leave her job as pastry chef at the Four Seasons to take on her new role as corporate chef for start-up-minded Strange Donuts (2709 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-932-5851). It wouldn't be the first time she has made such a move.

After graduating from Forest Park's culinary school, Boehne worked at St. Louis Country Club, and then left that position for the anarchist Black Bear Bakery. "It comes down to the fact that I prefer to be in an environment where I feel like I am more connected to the overall picture," Boehne explains. "I like smaller-scale situations where I know that my decisions are having a direct impact on the business."

See Also: Women Chefs of St. Louis Talk About Whether Gender Matters in the Kitchen [Q&A]


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Chef Chat: D. Scott Phillips Is Balaban's Resident Artist

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Chef D. Scott Phillips of Balaban's. | Courtesy of Carol Miller for Balaban's

Modifications and special requests? "No problem," says chef D. Scott Phillips of Balaban's (1772 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield; 636-449-6700). In fact, he encourages people to ask for what they want. "I love it when people come to me and say, 'I had this dish at this one place years ago,' and ask if I can recreate it for them."

See Also: Balaban's Wine Dinners Shine the Spotlight on Little-Known Vintners



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Chef Chat: Bixby's New Chef Corey Ellsworth on Going from Dishwasher to the Boss

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Chef Corey Ellsworth of Bixby's Restaurant at the Missouri History Museum. | Sara Ketterer

Chef Corey Ellsworth didn't realize his dishwashing gig in Bloomington, Illinois, would lead to a stint working for Thomas Keller's mentor. He was just an angsty seventeen-year-old looking to make some cash. That was, until over the din of clanking plates and the dish machine, he paid attention to the guys and gals working the restaurant's line. He was captivated.

See Also: Bixby's Named One of the Best Brunches in America

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Chef Chat: Grace Dinsmoor on Going from Jell-O Shots to Gourmet

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Grace Dinsmoor (far right) shares a laugh with her colleagues. | Corey Woodruff

Ask Grace Dinsmoor why she cooks, and she'll tell you that it isn't really a choice. "I'm a chef by blood," she says. This doesn't mean it's come easy; this self-taught culinarian has spent the last twenty years working her way up in some of the city's hottest kitchens (Blue Water Grill, Modesto, Nico) and traveling the world to hone her craft. People have taken notice. At the age of 27, while serving as executive chef at Modesto, the restaurant was picked as one of America's best tables by Gourmet magazine -- not bad for someone whose first restaurant gig had her making Jell-O shots for raucous college students.

See Also: Women Chefs of St. Louis Talk About Whether Gender Matters in the Kitchen [Q&A]

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Chef Chat: Mark Sanfilippo Is Salume Beddu's Cured Meats (Philosopher) King

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Mark Sanfilippo of Salume Beddu. | Cheryl Baehr

Mark Sanfilippo, the man behind Salume Beddu(3467 Hampton Avenue; 314-353-3100), didn't set out to be St. Louis' king of cured meats. The former academic spent years studying Hegelian philosophy and German, priming himself for a career as a professor when reality set in. "There are only two or three philosophy jobs in the country available any given year," Sanfilippo explains. "I realized that my chances of becoming a professor were pretty slim."

See Also: Best Deli/Sandwich Shop St. Louis 2013 - Salume Beddu

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

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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

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

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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

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