By now, we all know the obvious about chef Cassy Vires. She has made lightning strike twice with her two restaurants, Maplewood's Home Wine Kitchen (7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-802-7676) and Table (1821 Cherokee Street; 314-449-1888) in Benton Park. She is a master of refined rustic cuisine, and her writing prowess has earned her national acclaim.
In honor of her award for Riverfront Times' Best Chef 2013, we wanted her to pick her brain about local food trends and why the St. Louis culinary scene is something special.
See Also -Best Local Chef 2013: Cassy Vires
What is one thing people don't know about you that you wish they did? I'm kinda a nerd. I wasn't born that way; I married into it.
What daily ritual is non-negotiable for you? My life is far too chaotic for rituals. I think the closest thing would be that I have to read before bed. It is the only thing that will shut my brain off at the end of the day.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Telekinesis. And I think about that all the time! At the end of a crazy shift, I think to myself, "Man, if I only had telekinesis, I could float right now and give my feet a break!"
What is the most positive trend in food, wine or cocktails that you've noticed in St. Louis over the past year? Getting back to the basics. If I see one more foam, freeze dried or essence of on a menu, I will scream. Good food, cooked well, with great ingredients: That is what it is all about, and I love that I am seeing more and more of that.
Who is your St. Louis food crush? Chef Chris Bork. Every time I eat his food, I want to propose marriage to the man. I don't think my husband would mind...too much.
Who's the one person to watch right now in the St. Louis dining scene? Call me biased, but my pastry chef is killing it. Her desserts are so creative but still so approachable and recognizable. And she isn't afraid of anything. She uses beer, fresh produce, pretty much anything she can get her hands on. And it doesn't hurt that all of her desserts make you nostalgic for your childhood.
See also:-Table: Save Room for the Sweets
Which ingredient is most representative of your personality? Steak. Well seasoned and to the point.
If someone asked you to describe the current state of St. Louis' culinary climate, what would you say? One word: collaborative. I have never lived in, worked in or visited another city where the chefs and restaurant professionals in general work so well together. There isn't constant competition, back-stabbing, recipe stealing and all that nonsense. We help each other. We support each other. And that notion makes our scene that much stronger as a whole.
Name an ingredient never allowed in your kitchen. Canned food.
What is your after-work hangout? Anything still serving food at 11 p.m. Diablitos, Mission, Chocolate Bar and 1111 Mississippi are probably my most frequented locations. Also Pi and Square One.
What's your food or beverage guilty pleasure? Fried chicken. I love fried chicken. With mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, biscuits, apple butter, sweet tea ...
What is your "death row meal"? See above!
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