Chef Chat: Joy Christensen Makes Sundaes and Merriment at the Fountain on Locust

Categories: Chef Chat

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The Fountain on Locust's Joy Christensen. | Mabel Suen

Looking back on it, Joy Christensen admits she didn't know what she was getting into when she opened the Fountain on Locust (3037 Locust Street; 314-535-7800). She thinks that's a good thing. "I think that is how a lot of stuff gets done," she muses. "If people knew how hard some things would be, they wouldn't even try to do them."

See Also: The Fountain on Locust's "Banana Bourbon": A Sundae with a Shot of Booze

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Chef Chat: Joe Everett Is Scape American Bistro's Fish Out of Water

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Executive chef Joe Everett of Scape American Bistro. | Courtesy Scape American Bistro

Joe Everett's grandma was skeptical at first about his enthusiasm for being in the kitchen. As a little boy, Scape American Bistro's (48 Maryland Plaza; 314-361-7227) executive chef would pester her while she was hard at work whipping up her Italian specialties -- sampling everything and always in the way. Eventually, she stopped chasing him out and began teaching him, instilling a love for food that he just couldn't shake.

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

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Chef Chat: Barbecue Master Mike Emerson on Becoming Pappy

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Mike Emerson of Pappy's Smokehouse | Robin Wheeler

Long before the legendary barbecue, the throngs of adoring fans lined out the door and that famous beard, Mike Emerson was a little kid who loved the outdoors. "My family was always hunting and fishing -- I've been doing those things since I could walk," the Pappy's Smokehouse (3106 Olive Street; 314-535-4340) pit master recalls. "We were always doing some sort of outdoor cooking. It's what I grew up with."

See also: Danny Meyer Was in St. Louis Which Obviously Means We're Getting a Shake Shack

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Chef Chat: Heather Stone on Living Farm-to-Table

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Chef Heather Stone of Taste. | Kate Woolverton

For Heather Stone, farm-to-table is more than just a buzz phrase or food trend: It was a way of life. The soon-to-be executive chef of Taste (4584 Laclede Avenue; 314-361-1200) (she will take over for Matt Daughaday when he leaves to open his own place) grew up on a dairy farm in rural Iowa, tending to calves and drinking milk fresher than us urbanites can imagine. It's an experience that shaped who she was to become as a chef, though her biggest influence was her grandmother's vegetable garden. Tasting produce fresh from the garden, watching it change with the seasons and tending it with her own hands was revelatory: This is how food should be.

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

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Chef Chat: Cinnomin Brothers on Better Eating Through Chemistry

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Cinnomin Brothers can do it. | With compliments of Cinnomin Brothers

Cinnomin Brothers laughs about her departure from politics. "I just got tired of all the late nights, early mornings and drinking." It's an irony that isn't lost on the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel (800 Washington Avenue; 314-621-9600) pastry cook -- the service industry is known for its "play-hard" ways, but Brothers insists that the political scene was far worse.

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

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Chef Chat: River City Casino's John Johnson Knows How to Rock a Bacon Hat

Categories: Chef Chat

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River City Casino's chef John Johnson in his signature bacon hat. | With complements of River City Casino

"Did you know that a pineapple is actually a berry?" John Johnson asked when we first met. The River City Casino (777 River City Casino Boulevard; 314-388-7777) executive chef is filled with these sorts of fun facts. One guesses they come from his time spent as a history major in college, but actually, it started much earlier. "My mom would have us learn about a different country every week when we were growing up. We'd sit around the table, talk about different places, their foods -- it's where I first got interested in cooking."

See Also: Have Lunch Inside a Life-Size Gingerbread House This Holiday Season

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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

Categories: Chef Chat

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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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