Amy Zupanci of Fond and Township Grocer, Part 2


This is part two of Robin Wheeler's Chef's Choice profile of Amy Zupanci of Fond and Township Grocer. Part one is available here, and part three, a recipe, can be found here.
  • Robin Wheeler

Did your family cook when you were a child? If so, what meals stand out? Yes. The everyday dinner. Family gathered around the table. No TV. Talking about the day, life.

How old were you when you started cooking? 4 at home. 21 as a job.

What was your first kitchen job? A bar and grill in Champaign, IL. Cook, dishwasher, et al.

Did you attend culinary school or college? Both.

What do you eat? Anything anyone else cooks for me.

We'd be most surprised that you eat... once a day.

What do you cook at home? I don't. I'm so very rarely there.

3 favorite restaurants in St. Louis, besides yours? Modesto. Sidney Street Cafe. Pappy's.

Favorite restaurants elsewhere? Il Buco, NYC. Taco trucks in Queens, New York.

Your favorite food city? New York.

Favorite recent food find? Castelvetrano olives. They're amazing.

Most essential ingredient in your kitchen? Salt.

Favorite local ingredient and where you get it? Hungarian peppers. from the Edwards' garden.

Five words to describe your food? simple. pure. natural. personal. love.

One food you dislike. Peanut butter.

One food you can't live without. Bread.

What's the first rule for your kitchen staff? Leave your personal shit at the door. I am not your mother.

What ingredient will never be allowed in your kitchen? Any pre-made base.

Culinarily speaking, St. Louis has the best...potential.

Culinarily speaking, St. Louis has the worst...culinary schools.

Culinarily speaking, St. Louis needs more...collaboration.

Your best tip for home cooks? Don't be scared.

Your favorite after work hang-out? Home.

One person, dead or alive, you'd love to cook for? Madeleine Kamman.

Favorite kitchen tool. Hands.

What's next for you? Sleep....maybe?

What inspires you? Change.

Chefs who inspire you? Galen Zamarra. Peter Hoffman. Dan Barber.

Favorite cookbooks? Charcuterie. The Joy of Cooking. The Art of Simple Food. Cooking by Hand.

Proudest professional moment? Opening my own restaurant.

Favorite music to have in the kitchen? A constant mix. We just shuffle the iPods.

What's on your pizza? Tomato, mozzarella, hot peppers.

What's in your omelet? Spinach, gruyere.

What are you drinking? Bourbon.

What's the most surprising food you've eaten? Pickled pig's nipples.

Most difficult lesson you've learned in this business? Boys in St. Louis don't like girls in the kitchen.

When did you know for sure that the chef's life was for you? After my first kitchen shift.

{to be continued...}

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