by Holly Fann
Did your family cook when you were a child? Agi Groff: My granny is Hungarian, so we ate a lot of Hungarian foods. Whenever you would go over to her house, she always had baked a roulade -- something simple, like a sponge cake with jam, or a strudel.
How old were you when you started cooking? Agi: I was fourteen and worked front-of-the-house in a café in Germany.
Aaron Groff: I was a busboy.
What was your first cooking job? Aaron: I was a fruit cutter at the Doubletree Hotel.
Did you attend culinary school or college? Agi: I went to school in Germany and got a master's in teaching with a specialty in languages. I then went to the Culinary Institute of America.
Aaron: We met when we were both enrolled in the associate program at the CIA. Then a few years later, we decided to get our bachelors' from the CIA as well.
What do you eat? Agi: Fresh foods. A lot of items from the local farmers' markets. A lot of stews in the winter.
We'd be most surprised that you eat _______. Aaron: Calf's heart.
Agi: We have one in the freezer right now! You want it?
What do you cook at home? Aaron: Stews, salads, a lot of pasta. And, of course, baked goods.
Local chef who most impresses you? Aaron: Jamie at Stellina Pasta.
Favorite restaurant elsewhere? Aaron: Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan.
Your favorite food city? Agi: Munich. Or maybe Berlin?
Aaron: Yeah, they have great international food in Berlin.
Favorite recent food find? Aaron: Durum wheat flour. It's used a lot in Indian cuisine, and it's super-tasty in bread.
Most essential ingredient in your kitchen? Aaron: Butter, homie.
Favorite local food find, and where do you get it? Agi: We get these beautiful eggs from a family farm in Boschertown.
Five words to describe your food? Agi: Fresh, tasty, simple, real...
Aaron: ...Phantasmagoric. Just kidding. Hopefully, addictive.
One food you dislike. Agi: Olives.
One food you can't live without. Agi: Chocolate.
Aaron: Is beer a food?
What ingredient will never be allowed in your kitchen? Agi: Corn syrup, and hydrogenated shortening.
Culinarily speaking, St. Louis needs more _______. Agi: Bakeries! Neighborhood bakeries.
Your best tip for home cooks? Agi: Always add a pinch of salt to your baked goods.
Aaron: Don't underbake! Don't be afraid to add color to your breads.
Your favorite after-work hangout? Aaron: Our home, with Alina, our baby, and Maja, our baby dog.
Favorite kitchen tool. Agi: Aaron has a little spatula he calls "my precious."
Aaron: My precious, or my bench scraper.
What's next for you? Aaron: World domination!
What inspires you? Agi: Going to the library to read old cookbooks can be such a huge inspiration.
Chefs who inspire you? Aaron: My wife.
Agi: Jacques Pepin. He makes simple, beautiful food, he doesn't jump on his cutting board. Mark Sanfiippo from Salume Beddu as well. He started out with a German literature degree and was a writer and worked his way up, taught himself. And he's super-humble.
Favorite cookbooks? Agi: Wolkemmer Chef, Baking with Julia.
Aaron: The Joy of Cooking. The recipes work. Charlie Trotter's cookbook -- man, those recipes don't work, but you know every time you cook something out of Joy, it's going to work.
Proudest professional moment? Agi: Opening the bakery.
Aaron: Opening the bakery, having our baby and doing it all, just the two of us.
Favorite music to have in the kitchen? Aaron: I like techno in the morning to get things going, and then NPR in the afternoon to chill out
What's on your pizza? Aaron: Goat cheese.
Agi: I like pineapple and ham.
What's in your omelet? Aaron: Goat cheese. Goat cheese on everything, please!
Agi: Fresh herbs.
What are you drinking? Aaron: Right now I'm drinking Oktoberfest.
What's the most surprising food you've eaten? Aaron: I've recently started liking Brussels sprouts. And that sauerkraut roll we had in Germany was yummy.
Most difficult lesson you've learned in this business? Agi: Long, long hours.
Aaron: It's a lot of work, man.
When did you know for sure that the chefs life was for you? Agi: When I was living in New York and catering.
Aaron: My first job -- cutting fruit at that Doubletree Hotel.