Chef Tyler Davis to Launch Elevated, a Modern Soul Food Pop-Up, in January


Davis will launch his new pop-up series on January 15. - COURTESY TYLER DAVIS
  • Courtesy Tyler Davis
  • Davis will launch his new pop-up series on January 15.

Some folks resolve to cut carbs in the new year — but not us. That's just one reason you'll find us frequenting Elevated, a new soul food pop-up series from the wildly talented Tyler "Tai" Davis.

With his own pastry business and a new coffee-table book featuring his beautiful desserts on the way, Davis has had an incredibly busy fall — and his winter will be just as chaotic. He's prepared for it, though, as his Elevated is the chef's chance to return to savory cooking. The series, which launches next month, is scheduled to run through September 2020.

Beginning with Elevated's first dinner on January 15, Davis says he's excited to serve menus that blend modern soul food dishes with St. Louis-style staples made with fine-dining techniques. With Elevated, Davis hopes to share with diners the range of what comfort food can be.

“We love our soul food here, but I think people’s misconceptions of what soul food is need to be diminished,” Davis says. “They think that it is all greasy and heavy."

Well known for his lauded work as a pastry chef in town at spots such as The Chocolate Pig, the now-closed Element and his own business, Alchemy Bakery, Davis says he's ready to share another side of his skills and experience with St. Louis diners. “I’ve only doing pastries for three or four years now," Davis says. "Pastries are still very new to me, but soul food is something that has always been near and dear to me."

For Davis, Elevated is as much a personal project as it is his next step professionally. Growing up with a single mom who worked hard to raise four kids, Davis remembers holidays and birthdays filled with excited requests for her comforting cooking and family recipes.

“Those meals always made us feel so loved, and I really want to share that nostalgia with others,” Davis says. “What makes it so vital, specifically for African Americans, is that it really is the only piece of our past we have to reflect on a lot of the time. I’ve been reading tons and tons of books about my heritage and old cookbooks from the 1700s and 1800s and seeing how the food evolved over the years."

This evolution is what Davis aims to present with the series, with dishes inspired by not only the American South but also the culinary traditions of West Africa and the Caribbean.

Elevated will showcase more than Davis' talents, though, featuring collaborations with musicians, artists and other area chefs. One dinner in particular will be based entirely on color hosted in partnership with yoga instructor and energy worker Jana Thomas.

On opening night, however, Davis will kick off the series with a menu of personal soul food favorites. That first dinner, titled “Coming Home” will serve the following dishes:
1. Grilled prawns, corn crème, Creole butter and Calabrian chiles
2. Yam bisque, puffed rice and peanuts
3. Charred okra, tomato and benne seed dukkah
4. “Drunken” hock, Carolina Gold grits, tobacco onions and black vinegar
5. Chicken and waffles with maple ice cream and chicken skin praline in a waffle cone

Tickets range from $75 to $125 per person for the first dinner and can be purchased on Eventbrite. Keep an eye on Davis' website to for ticket sales for future dates.

Here's the full Elevated calendar for 2020 including themes and collaborators:

1/15: "Coming Home"   

2/8: "Two Peas in a Pod" featuring Jordan Braxton of Miss Leon’s

3/20: "Walk with Me: Interactive Dining Experience" featuring yoga instructor and energy worker Jana Thomas

4/24: "Through Art We Found Healing" featuring artist Heather Polk and Art C.U.R.E.S. All

5/17: "Snap, Crackle and Pop" featuring Heidi Hamamura of The Saint Louis Club

6/16: "Exquisite Vines" featuring certified sommelier Alisha Calvert of Elaia and Olio

7/15: "Crossing Tracks"   

8/22: "It Takes Guts…"   

9/15: “Foraging the Way” featuring Rob Connoley of Bulrush

  • Courtesy Tyler Davis

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