A Brasserie chef is bringing his personal touch to a pop-up dinner at the Central West End's BBQ Saloon in April.
Austin Dubinsky, a saute chef who also works in pastry two times a week at the restaurant, will host his pop-up dinner April 30. While there is no particular theme, the seven-course dinner is guaranteed to have some smoked meats as well as fermented and pickled foods, which are Dubinsky's latest food fascination.
Dubinsky never thought he'd work in food; the idea never even crossed his mind as a kid.
"In fact, I was one of the pickiest eaters I knew," he says. "It was a joke in my family."
About three and a half years ago, Dubinsky faced some medical issues and had to do a "complete diet 180." Before that, he could pretty much only cook boxed mac 'n' cheese. He had to move out of his fraternity house at Mizzou and into an apartment and quickly had to learn to cook for himself – and he fell in love with it.
"I love food," he says. "I love the challenge of taking ingredients that are raw, or that are in some different form, and melding them into this tasty dish that everyone can enjoy."
In particular, it's special to him that he can make the people he cares about feel good with his food.
"I really loved making my friends and family happy with the food I made," he says. "I loved seeing that smile on their face when they eat good food, anywhere, but especially if it was mine."
In June, Dubinsky took the leap into the food industry after working in nonprofit and political fundraising and event planning. He started the Taco Pocket Food Group, named after his concept of a taco pocket: a corn tortilla stuffed with smoked meats, cheeses and veggies that is sealed and deep-fried. He was wanted to start his own food truck, but when he joined Brasserie in December, his eyes were opened to the culinary world.
The last four months of 2019, Dubinsky held a series of intimate pop-up dinners for six to 10 people in his home.
"That was a lot of fun, but I kind of wanted something bigger," he says.
The BBQ Saloon opportunity came around because Dubinsky frequents the nearby restaurant when he gets off work at Brasserie. After he talked about wanting to do a pop up, the restaurant's co-owner said, "Well, why don't you just do it here?"
Dubinsky hopes to host 40 to 50 people for the dinner. Besides general smoked meats and fermented foods, expect homemade sourdough and charcuterie boards, among other things.
Tickets are $60 and available here.
BBQ Saloon, 4900 Laclede Ave., Central West End, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.833.6666, bbqsaloonstl.com