A new chef is now at the helm of one of St. Louis' hottest restaurants.
As reported by Feast last week, restaurateur Ben Poremba has returned to the kitchen at Elaia and Olio, his neighboring restaurants in Botanical Heights, following the departure of executive chef Aaron Martinez.
Martinez has now been named the executive chef of Cinder House, Gerard Craft's Latin American-inspired concept located inside the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. Martinez, who officially started at Cinder House last week, says he feels like he's got the best of both worlds, as he'll help oversee the daily breakfast, lunch and dinner menus at the restaurant alongside the more upscale tasting menu concept, Dia's Room, located within the space.
"It's very exciting to me that we can have a three-meal restaurant with steaks and sandwiches that are very simply done, but also have Dia's Room, where we can present more intricate dishes," Martinez says. "Dia's Room features a little more provocative, detail-oriented cuisine."
"For most of my career, I've worked in fine-dining restaurants," he continues. "Once you have a taste of it, it never leaves you."
A Southern California native, Martinez has worked in acclaimed kitchens across the globe, including Addison in San Diego, Quince in San Francisco, Commis in Oakland and (the now-shuttered) In De Wulf in Belgium.
He says he was drawn to Cinder House's emphasis on live-fire cooking, a style he grew to love while working at Cotogna, the casual sister restaurant to the acclaimed Quince in San Francisco. "I just love cooking with those elements. I love those flavor profiles; they're kind of nostalgic and remind you of when you had barbecues with your family. I just really gravitate toward that style."
Cinder House at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, 999 N. Second St., eighth floor, Downtown, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.881.5759, cinderhousestl.com