Best Local Chef

Cassy Vires

This is Cassy Vires' moment. With a second successful restaurant under her belt and a nomination for Food and Wine's "People's Best New Chef-Midwest," 2013 has been a very good year for the Illinois native. Perhaps this is in repayment of sorts for her kindness shown to the St. Louis community — since the opening of Home Wine Kitchen, Vires has been blessing the area with her rustic yet refined comfort food, served in a warm and unfussy manner. At a time when such terms as "local" and "seasonal" have become so commonplace as to be deserving of skepticism — if not completely meaningless — Vires diligently lives these words, changing her menus at an exhausting pace. To do this well takes the talent and dedication of a master, and Vires has these in spades. Her new Benton Park gem, Table, solidifies her reign as queen of the St. Louis culinary scene with its whimsical style (items are categorized according to terms such as "Swimming," "Snout" and "Hoof") and communal-dining concept. As if two restaurants weren't enough to keep her busy, Vires is also a James Beard Award-nominated writer. We have no idea what more this overachiever can accomplish, but we are pretty sure that this is only the beginning.Readers' Choice: Josh Galliano
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