Little Fox Craig Rivard

Little Fox's Craig and Mowgli Rivard.

While doing their part to maintain social distance, home cooks everywhere are honing their skills in the kitchen. Feast consulted with some of St. Louis' finest chefs for their best advice on how to make easy, wholesome meals using simple pantry staples. Find out how to make the most of your groceries in this Q&A series, which outlines some pro tips for creating nutritious and comforting from-scratch meals, baked goods and more.

Chef Craig Rivard co-owns Little Fox with his wife, Mowgli. The modern neighborhood restaurant, which debuted last December, is currently offering a variety of contact-free patio pickup options including natural wines, batched cocktails, ready-to-grill items and prepared food items as well as a selection of grocery staples and specialty goods. A weekend takeout food menu will tentatively roll out this Friday. For updates and to view the online shop, visit the Little Fox website

What are some of your go-to meals at home when you're seeking something comforting? Tacos are one of our go-tos for sure. We will typically make a big batch of cochinita pibil once a year and freeze packages for later dates. We also love chicken thighs in about any way. We also tend to cook a lot of Thai, Vietnamese and Korean food at home. It is a good escape from what we do at Little Fox and allows us to be versatile in our cooking techniques.

What are some of your favorite products currently offered via your online market? The pork we are offering is simply the best. Newman Pork Farm raises Berkshire heritage breed pork. The flavor with just even salt and pepper is amazing. Some cuts are almost as red as beef. We also love the Beecher's Flagship Cheddar. We became familiar with Beecher's while living in NYC. Their Cheddar is cloth-bound and aged 15 months. It has these salt crystals that pop in your mouth as you eat it, but it isn't so aged that it won't also melt if you want it to.

Can you share ideas for how customers can combine some of these goods to cook a wholesome meal at home? We spent a lot of time thinking about this when building our store. If navigated correctly, you should have everything you need for a full meal. In addition to pre-marinating or brining the meats, we offer sauces that could pair with any of them, such as Marcona almond romesco sauce or arugula and ramp salsa verde. You can then pair that with some of the local greens, arugula or asparagus and our sherry vinaigrette. These will all continue to change.

What are some of your best tips for creating a light and refreshing vegetable-based dish as the temperatures heat up? It's grilling season, so utilize the grill as much as you can. A good olive oil, salt and pepper can get you a long way in the summer. Typically ingredients that grow together pair well together. Toss everything separately in olive oil, salt and pepper. Lightly grill the veggies (keep some crunch to your veggies!) and then combine. Hit them with some acid at the end. Lemon zest and lemon juice are perfect for the hot weather. Finish with some fresh herbs and a nice finishing olive oil. 

What kind of cool beverage do you like to pair with all of the above? We drink a lot of rosé during the summer, but a chilled orange wine is where it is at. Orange wine is essentially white wine that is allowed to sit on its skins for a period of time during the winemaking process. Orange wine can vary on its orangey-ness, but it is all about how long it is allowed skin contact. Our favorites right now are the Calcarius Orange from Puglia, which is a Falanghina with five days of skin contact, or the Koppitsch "Touch" from Austria. It is a Welschriesling with 14 days of skin contact.