January might be coming to a close, but there's still time to make a New Year's Resolution – and here at Feast, we're hoping for an even tastier 2016. We reached out to a few local chefs from across the region to find out how they plan on eating and drinking through the year.
"Getting back to basics and really honing down on flavor is one of many goals for us this year. Really showing the cooks proper braising, sautéing, grilling and poaching techniques. I also want to use my mortar and pestle a lot more." — Kevin Nashan, Sidney Street Cafe and The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.
"This year we really want to get an early start on the spring season, with vegetable cooking, precisely. We are looking to feature more vegetarian-based dishes that are quite unique. During the spring and summer, we also want to spend more time with live wood (open-flame) cooking, particularly at Rye with some featured dishes utilizing this technique!" — Colby and Megan Garrelts, Rye and Bluestem
"I've been cooking a lot of Asian-inspired food lately. In the new year, I want focus primarily on that. Everything from cooking perfect jasmine rice, to homemade curry paste, mapo tofu, and soup dumplings. My focus with home cooking this year is to explore simple, rustic food across the Asian continent, from cooking a lot more Indian cuisine to refining my love for Schezuan and Thai cuisine. It's awesome that we have stores like Global Foods, Jay's, Seafood City, etc. With places like that all around town, there's few ingredients we can't get to stock up an Asian pantry." — Nate Hereford, Niche Restaurant
"My resolution is to stop surviving solely on Sonic burgers, onion rings and diet blackberry limeades with easy ice." — Liz Huff, Catalpa
"I am experimenting more with wild yeast/sourdough bread baking and gearing up for creative takes on gelato and sorbet pops for Porano. I've also been playing around with concentrated fruit and vegetable powders in baking and desserts." — Anne Croy, Pastaria
"We want to 'play with fire' in 2016. I think we’ve just scratched the surface of what we can do with our custom designed wood-burning grill at Público. With the opening of Randolfi’s, we’re doing a lot more dishes beyond pizza in our oven, but there’s so much more to do there too. I also want to create an environment at Randolfi’s reminiscent of that old school Italian dining – think '50s and '60s New York, where you sat and enjoyed a meal for hours. You’ll see our menu format reflect that encouraging guests to order insalata/antipasta starters, then primi and secondi piatti (first and second courses), and dessert. We want to bring back that type of hospitality and experience with our own twist." — Mike Randolph, Público, Half & Half and Randolfi's
"To be in the Katie's Pizza & Pasta kitchen more. 90 percent of my kitchen staff has been with me since the day we opened, and they execute the menu so well. When you're running a business, you can't be in the kitchen all the time. I end up on the floor a lot and in meetings, and my goal is to spend more time in the kitchen, whether it's even necessary or not, because the team does such a good job. Even if it's just working a station. It's very relaxing for me. I love cooking and being back there with my staff." — Katie Collier, Katie's Pizza & Pasta Osteria
"My main goal this year is to create more designs that are authentically mine. Custom cakes take a long time to make. You can spend many, many hours, if not days, on one cake. My goal this year is to only create more custom orders where my creative input is fully represented from design to presentation. Oftentimes in a bakery setting, we get into a routine of making the same thing over and over again because it's the "popular" design of the wedding season. I can't tell you how many times I've made that all-white, cascading rose petal cake in the last two years. I'm done with it. I'd like to have a hand in deciding what's the IT thing. I think we can do it." — Simone Faure, La Patisserie Chouquette
"My New Year's resolutions are to bring in new things to my culinary team all the time. Most people I have on staff now have never cleaned a flat fish, for instance, so I will get them and and put them on the menu so they can learn and have the opportunity to practice it a lot." — Celina Tio, Julian, Collection and The Belfry
"Sitting down for family meal with the staff every day. I tell myself that I'm too busy to sit and eat but want everybody else to sit and eat and not eat standing up out of a quart container or hiding in the back hallway. It's important to take the time to sit, be with your peers and nourish yourself, so I need to practice what I preach! Going to a new restaurant every month with my husband is another one. We are both very busy and don't get a lot of time together so going out is difficult. When we do decide to go out, we always fall back on the same few places. It's faster and easier to agree on a place when we've been there and know we like it! St. Louis has so many good restaurants to choose from; it can be overwhelming when you have a limited amount of time, but this year we are up for the challenge! As a culinary team at Pastaria, we are trying to do more special dinners. More specifically, themed dinners that showcase different regions of Italy. We've been talking about it for a few months now, but in 2016, we are going to try to make a push to put these conversations into action!" — Ashley Shelton, Pastaria