Although Jamie Davis, chef and kitchen manager at Cafe Berlin in Columbia, Missouri, most recently spent time in Spain and Switzerland, his culinary roots were formed closer to home. He's worked at local institutions Uprise Bakery, Sycamore and The Wine Cellar & Bistro, as well as renowned St. Louis fine-dining restaurant Sidney Street Cafe. While working with chef-owner Kevin Nashan at Sidney Street, Davis says he first saw his ideas come to life on a menu and gained the confidence to run with what inspires him in the kitchen.
At Cafe Berlin, Davis is freshening up the menu while drawing inspiration from Missouri farmers – including sourcing local eggs, chicken, beef, pork and produce – and showcasing flavors using simple yet classic cooking techniques. Preparing one ingredient multiple ways in one dish, for instance, is an approach he learned while cooking at Sidney Street.
When he made the move from St. Louis back to Columbia, Davis sought a creative outlet and developed his pop-up restaurant, BirdHouse Fried Chicken, serving fried chicken sandwiches with collard greens, potato salad and peach cobbler. He makes most of the ingredients himself, from pickles and sauces to buns and biscuits, and has also experimented with from-scratch drinks like watermelon-basil soda and celery soda. The series caught on, and now Davis is considering how to adapt it into Cafe Berlin’s lineup – perhaps as a dinner menu during the restaurant’s frequent small concerts and events. Long-term, Davis hopes to find time to create a cooking program for area kids and families apart from his work at the restaurant. (Photo by Aaron Ottis)
Café Berlin, 220 North 10th St., Columbia, Missouri, 573.441.0400, cafeberlincomo.com