Scroll below to learn more about the best chefs from the best local restaurants
that teach classes at Kitchen Conservatory.
Josh Allen, chef-owner of Companion Bakehouse, started his career in the San Francisco
Bay area working in small bakeshops. At the tender age of 24, Josh opened the doors
of Companion with a goal to provide the good folks of St. Louis with simple honest
food that tastes extraordinary. When he's not baking, Josh spends time with his
children, two great dogs, and close friends. Though his passion
is baking, he admits his guilty food pleasure is French fries with garlic! Chef
Allen teaches a bread class quarterly at Kitchen Conservatory which sells out every
time, so be sure to sign up early!
Chef Jean-Pierre Augé became an apprentice chef in his hometown of Vatan, France at the age of thirteen. He has cooked for President Charles de Gaulle, the Queen of England, President Dwight Eisenhower, the Kennedys, Aristotle Onassis, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, vice-presidents, secretaries of state, and several U.S. astronauts. When Assumption Abbey in Ava, Missouri, was developing their bakery and famous fruitcakes, they sought the help of world class chef Jean-Pierre Augé in providing the recipe for the fruitcake that graces many holiday tables.
Chef Jean-Pierre Augé has taught French cooking classes for forty years, including almost 30 years at Kitchen Conservatory. His memorable Saturday morning classes offer a sumptuous luncheon in addition to his entertaining stories. He has a flair for elegant presentations and sophisticated recipes.
Christy Augustin started baking pies and cookies at a young age with her grandmother and has been in love with sugar ever since. She attended both Saint Louis University and Florida Culinary Institute. Before opening Pint Size Bakery & Coffee in May, 2012, she had worked as the pastry chef at Sidney Street Cafe & King Louie's, taught at Le Cordon Bleu and earned her pastry chops in New Orleans and South Florida while working at restaurants, country clubs and hotels like the Ritz Carlton and Susan Spicer's Bayona.
Glenn Bardgett has been the Wine Director at Annie Gunn's Restaurant and the Smoke House Market since 2001. Glenn has taught classes at Kitchen Conservatory for 20 years.
From his days of wine study at the University of Hawaii, he worked in the retail side of the wine business for 30 years, beginning at 905 Stores in St. Louis in the mid-70s. He co-owned the Wine Cellar for nearly 12 years, and then spent four years supervising the wine program at the Brown Derby Wine Cellar in Town & Country, MO. In 2001, Glenn made the move to expand his experience by entering the restaurant service area of wine with his move to Annie Gunn’s and Smokehouse Market.
He has been a member of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board for over 25 years, as well as Marketing Chairman for the Board. He has been an experienced wine judge in local, national and international competitions for many years. He is a member of many wine organizations and has written for several publications. He hosted a weekly wine chat on America Online for eight years.
Glenn has been awarded the designation “Certified Sommelier” by the Court of Master Sommeliers and “Certified Specialist of Wine” by the Society of Wine Educators. He was one of only 40 in the United States to receive the “Passionate Wine Service Award” from the Trefethen Winery in Napa Valley. Glenn was a contributor to the Kelly Twins TV series, “Twice Baked” on Charter Communications Network. Glenn also writes a monthly column, “Drink This” for Sauce Magazine in St. Louis. In 2009, he was given the Pioneer Award by the Missouri Grape and Wine Board. This is the highest honor given by the board.
Glenn was a James Beard Award semi-finalist for the 2011 Wine Service Award.
Bardgett is also well known for his pants.
After serving nine years in the army, Price Barrett started his bread baking career with Wonder Bread of Interstate Breads Corporation, spending four years learning the business. Price has been with Companion Bakeshop since 2000, working his way up to Operations Manager, and is always introduced in classes at Kitchen Conservatory by Josh Allen as the head baker of Companion. Price wittily refers to himself as a "mix"ologist and a whip-cracker! The Crusty Bread class they teach together is one of our most popular classes, and always sells out!
Chris Bolyard graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY in 2000. Upon returning to St. Louis, Chris joined the kitchen at Cardwell's at the Plaza working under chef Bill Cardwell and Dave Owens for three years. Chris then worked as sous chef, later becoming chef de cuisine in 2004 under Chef Kevin Nashan at Sidney Street Cafe. Chris is an extremely passionate chef and enjoys the diversity of St. Louis restaurants, and also finds much inspiration and pleasure in exploring other culinary metropolises with his wife. He is excited to show home cooks just how simple and fun it can be to prepare restaurant worthy dishes in the comfort of their own kitchens. Chris won the 2012 Sous Chef Iron Chef Competition at Kitchen Conservatory.
Chris Bork attended school at Westminster Kingsway College in London for two years, and worked under chefs who trained with Marco Pierre White and Michael Lamby. Chris returned to St. Louis in 2005 and became sous chef at Wild Flower, chef at Roxane, sous chef and chef at Revival, chef at The Mud House, and executive chef at Blood and Sand.
Bradley Burns works at Lorenzo's Trattoria on the Hill and he teaches the secrets of delectable
Italian potato gnocchi, plus the perfect sauces to accompany the gnocchi.
Danielle Luisi Bush grew up in Staten Island, NY and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America with a Bachelor's degree in Baking and Pastry in 2006. She moved to St. Louis in 2006 and has worked for places such as Companion, Dierberg's, Sarah's Cafe, has taught at Forest Park Community College, and is now the Pastry Chef at Annie Gunn's. She lives in Cottleville, MO with her husband Michael Bush, who is the Sous Chef at Racquet Club Ladue.
Jane Callahan, owner of Pie Oh My!, grew up on a farm in Minnesota, and learned to bake pies from her mother, whose effortless and experienced hands made the task seem simple. Since her mom whipped out pies practically with her eyes closed, Jane assumed that everyone had access to mouth watering pies made from scratch. After moving away from the farm, she began baking pies on her own and loved incorporating her Mom's deft techniques while experimenting with new recipes. For Jane, making pies is a rewarding sensory experience - touch, smell, sight and taste. And, more than anything she loves the simplicity of bringing a contented smile to someone's face as they bite into a delicious homemade pie and say...."oh my!" Jane's pies can be delivered right to your door, and are also available at her retail location in Maplewood.
Chef Steven Caravelli has had an interest in food since he was young, but his culinary career didn't begin until after completing a degree at the Missouri School of Journalism in 2002. While writing for Sauce Magazine, Chef Caravelli realized he wanted to do what he loved.
He took a position at Chez Leon where he would later become pastry chef. Then, he seized the opportunity to work for Certified Master Chef Aidan Murphy at Old Warson Country Club. This position led him to the American Culinary Federation and the St Louis junior team of 2003, where he competed across the region.
His career quickly accelerated while working at Larry Forgione's An American Place, and his knowledge and confidence grew as an instructor at L'Ecole Culinaire. As sous chef for Gerard Craft at Niche, he developed bonds with local farmers.
In 2007 he was hired as opening sous chef at SLeeK Steakhouse where he was quickly promoted to chef de cuisine. Working closely with Chef Hubert Keller and Chef Laurent Pillard, he helped to create a steakhouse that is unique and rivals other great steakhouses across the country.
Steve Caravelli is the executive chef of Pi.
Robert "Bob" Colosimo was born and raised in Warren, Pennsylvania and upon graduation from high school attended the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 1980.
Bob began his traveling food career in 1981 by joining Holland America Cruise Line sailing on board several oceangoing cruise ships, including a world cruise in 1984.
In 1984, Bob joined St. Louis-based Clipper Cruise Line as executive chef. During this period, Bob had the opportunity to work on passenger ships, river boats in Europe, and on the American Orient Express Luxury Train. Bob also has worked as an adjunct instructor at St. Louis Community College, Forest Park.
In 2008, Bob joined the Eleven Eleven Mississippi Restaurant team and in 2009 became the general manager/executive chef.
Bob is a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Administrator.
A St. Louis native, chef Patrick Connolly first unearthed his talent for culinary creativity in 1999 while working at Dressel’s Pub in the Central West End. In 2002, chef Connolly moved to Rhode Island to attend Johnson and Wales and to work as a Rotisseur at Empire in Providence.
Within a year, Connolly’s hard work earned him a position at the world class restaurant Radius in Boston. By 2004, he was named Executive Chef, and in 2006 he was awarded four stars by The Boston Globe. Connolly’s meteoric rise received national attention the following year when he was nominated for the James Beard “Rising Star Chef” Award. In 2008, Connolly achieved one of the industry’s top honors winning the James Beard “Best Chef Northeast” Award.
Following this win, Connolly took charge of the kitchen at the New York’s bobo and was honored by StarChefs as one of their 2009 Rising Star Chefs.
In 2012, Connolly became the Executive Chef of The Kitchen NYC, an event space and food studio in Midtown Manhattan, while working with food marketing firmIntellivent to develop and test recipes for their clients as part of creative business development.
On a recent visit home, Connolly toured the under-construction Basso and was convinced to take the lead. And so begins the next chapter in Connolly’s impressive culinary career.
The owner of Kitchen Conservatory, Anne Cori has taught cooking classes for twenty years. She trained by working in restaurant kitchens in Italy, France, and
New Orleans. She operated a catering business, Amuse-Bouche Catering, in St. Louis
for ten years. She has produced several videos on cooking called Mastering the Kitchen.
She is a Certified Culinary Professional by the International Association of Culinary
Gerard Ford Craft
Gerard Ford Craft, the chef-owner of Niche, Brasserie by Niche and Taste by Niche, is one of the most celebrated chefs in St. Louis and has been honored by Food and Wine
magazine as one of the ten best new chefs of 2008 in the United States. In 2009, Gerard was a best chef finalist for the James Beard Award, and is a finalist for 2010. Chef Craft and Niche have been named Chef of the Year and Best Restaurant by Sauce Magazine readers for the past four years.
Derek Craig is the executive chef at Jimmy's on the Park, a lovely restaurant in the DeMun neighborhood in Clayton. Derek has taught cooking classes for many years at Kitchen Conservatory.
Mike Craig, sous chef at The Crossing in Clayton, is from Charleston, Illinois and moved to St. Louis in 2003. Mike is a graduate of the Culinary School at Forest Park Community College, and has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens in St. Louis, including Norwood Hills Country Club and Taste by Niche.
Linda Daniels, award-winning donut baker, bakes gluten-free breads and cookies with premium whole grain ingredients. Linda fancies herself as a frequent blogger (www.freerangecookies.wordpress.com) and cookievore. Linda has been teaching sold-out gluten-free cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory since 2010. (photo courtesy of Corey Woodruff)
Chef Jay Dedkard, of Ocha Thai and Japanese Restaurant, creates beautiful and delectable sushi, teaching one of our most popular classes. His knowledge, expertise, and patient teaching are always appreciated by students.
Chelsea Reyne DeShetler graduated from Kendall College in Chicago 2008. A woman who is not afraid to take what life has to offer, Chelsea started off in Chicago as a head baker. She then left the city life to finesse her techniques lakeside in Branson MO, as wedding cake decorator for Big Cedar Lodge and then worked as the pastry chef at Truffles in Ladue. Currently she aims her pastries to give fellow St. Louisans a taste of nostalgia with every bite with her new business, "Chelsea's Delicacies."
Locally born and raised, Anthony Devoti is proud to be able to showcase the flavors of hishome region. His Italian immigrant grandparents had a small restaurant in North County where his father worked as a short order cook. Anthony began his formal training in the culinary program at St. Louis Community College and moved on to graduate from the French Culinary Institute in New York City.
He returned to St. Louis working at restaurants
that include David Slay's ZuZu Petals and Bistro Eau at The Chase Park Plaza.
Wanting to further his education and focus on farm-to-table cooking, Anthony moved to San Francisco working under James Beard
Award winning Chef Judy Rodgers at Zuni Cafe. Anthony returned to St. Louis and is the chef-owner of Five Bistro.
Ben Edison is the executive chef of DeMun Oyster Bar in Clayton.
Corey Ellsworth realized that restaurant life was his calling after washing dishes and bussing tables, then enrolled and graduated from Kendall College in Chicago. Corey has worked in restaurants from California to Savannah, Georgia, and is currently the executive chef at Chandler Hill Vineyards, pairing food with wine and promoting Missouri wines.
Mark Engel has taught several hands-on cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory over the last 6 years. Mark loves cooking ethnic foods and while he has taught classes on regional Italian and Mexican cooking, he has a particular fondness for Asian foods. Mark spent almost five years living and working in Asia, including Japan, Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong and loves to share recipes and his experiences in his classes. Mark is self-taught and loves to explore the kitchens at restaurants he frequents, especially on his travels.
Pete Fagan has been at Tony's for 25 years, working directly under executive chef Vince P. Bommarito. As the night chef, he is his right hand man developing seasonal specials and incorporating them into the menu, passing down his knowledge to ensure the highest possible quality and attention to detail at point of service.
For Wil Fernandez-Cruz, born in the Dominican Republic, food has always been about celebration, passion, family and nourishment. Wil moved to New York City at the age of 20 and fell in love with the restaurant world. After working his way through the ranks, Wil accepted a position working with Marc Meyer, developing a love for everything in its season. Wil worked as Sous Chef at Cookshop, before moving to Five Points as Chef, and then returning to Cookshop to head up the restaurant again. Wil moved to St. Louis in August, 2012 to open The Restaurant at the Cheshire, and is now executive chef at Winslow’s Home. (photo by Ashley Gieseking)
Helen Fletcher is an accomplished cook, baker, and writer who has been teaching engaging and decadent cooking classes for decades. She specializes in beautiful and delicious cakes, pastries, and other desserts. For 25 years, Helen operated Truffles, a wholesale bakery which featured upscale cakes and pastries, plus gorgeous wedding cakes. From 2001-2007, Truffles had a retail gourmet take-out shop that sold handmade entrees, soups, and salads, in addition to her famous desserts.
Helen Fletcher's first love is writing about food. Her blog, The Ardent Cook www.theardentcook.com , features many exciting recipes that she has developed and perfected, plus beautiful food photography from her husband, who is a professional photographer. She published The New
Pastry Cook in 1986. She has written articles for Bon Appetit, Chocolatier, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was a consultant for Cuisinart and developed several amazing recipes for food processors, including her famous 60-second brioche.
Helen is the pastry chef at Tony's, and her love of teaching is equaled by her enthusiasm for all things food.
She considers it a privilege to teach at Kitchen Conservatory.
Ericka Frank is owner of the Cakery Bakery in Dogtown. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, she made her first wedding cake at the age of 14 and has been passionate about pleasing the eye as well as the palate ever since. Her enthusiasm for all things culinary led her to St. Louis to complete her master's degree in dietetics.
While the transition from nutrition to buttercream may seem like quite a stretch, dessert fans everywhere are glad she took the leap. After years of baking for friends and family out of her home, Ericka opened the Cakery in March of 2005. She has now been baking and decorating cakes for over 25 years and is eager to please even the most exacting clients with her exquisite creations. She has an incredibly talented team of individuals working with her to consistently ensure the highest quality cakes, cupcakes, and cookies available.
Pizzaiolo Mitch Frost teaches The Art of Pizza Throwing and Italian Lira at Kitchen Conservatory for Onesto Pizza and Trattoria.
Larry Fuse, Jr.
Larry Fuse, Jr., chef-owner of the acclaimed Lorenzo's Trattoria on the Hill, has been teaching cooking classes on Italian cuisine at Kitchen Conservatory for over a decade.
Growing up in South Louisiana gave Joshua Galliano a great appreciation for the
life of the city and the ways of the country. After working at various restaurants
in Baton Rouge, Josh was lucky enough to find two mentors who encouraged his
passion for food. The quest for knowledge and experience in cooking led Josh past
a Master's degree in Political Science to a Grand Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu in
London. Josh has worked at Commander's Palace and Brennan's in New Orleans, and
also with Daniel Boulud in New York.
After evacuating New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, Josh and his wife have
begun a new life in the Midwest. Josh was the executive chef at Monarch where he highlighted
the bounty of local farmers and modern interpretations of American regional cuisine. Josh Galliano is the chef of Libertine in Clayton.
Kelly Green Gardner
Kelly Green Gardner joined the Kitchen Conservatory staff in 2008. A cookbook
addict and self-taught cook, Kelly chronicles her kitchen adventures on her food
blog Sounding My Barbaric Gulp (www.barbaricgulp.com). She is also a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher and an occasional contributor to Sauce Magazine. Kelly teaches English at East Alton-Wood River High School and was named Teacher of the Year in 2012.
Father Dominic Garramone
Father Dominic Garramone, OSB is a monk of Saint Bede Abbey in Peru, IL. He was the host of the PBS cooking show “Breaking Bread with Father Dominic” from 1999 to 2001, and has written six cookbooks. His newest book, a beginner’s baking book titled How to Be a Breadhead, is available at Kitchen Conservatory from Reedy Press. Fr. Dom says he got his culinary education “between my mother’s kitchen, PBS and the public library” and when not baking or teaching can usually be found in the abbey herb garden.
Jeannie Gearin has always loved baking, but her passion for cake decorating began over 15 years ago when she took her first class. Since then, she has studied under Nicholas Lodge, Bronwen Weber, Cheri Elder, and many others. She loves teaching the art of cake decorating in all of its forms. She is the past president of the St. Louis Sugar Art Guild.
Her work has appeared in American Cake Decorating, Woman's Day and on the cover of Mailbox News. She is thrilled to be teaching baking and decorating classes at Kitchen Conservatory.
Rebeca Davila Graboyes
Rebeca Davila Graboyes is a native of St. Louis who specializes in decorating cookies and cupcake classes. She started medical school, but after realizing that her true passion was in education, she earned a Master's degree in special education from St. Louis University. She is now completing her teaching certificate in secondary biology. Rebeca frosted many cupcakes at the Cup in the Central West End before joining the Kitchen Conservatory family. She loves the way cooking and baking allow her to fuse her artistic and creative talents, and has shared a number of her baking and decorating tips with students. Through her vegetarian husband, Rebeca has expanded her repertoire of delicious vegetable dishes. In her free time, she stays busy by catching up on the latest issue of Fine Cooking magazine and sampling new local foods.
"Find something you love to do, and you'll never have to work a day in your life" - Harvey McKay
One of Senada Grbic's earliest memories of cooking was at the age of three or four years old sitting on the kitchen counter helping her mother cook dinner. Senada's parents moved to America in the 1970s from the former Yugoslavia and brought a heritage of butchery and cooking. Her mother graduated cooking school in Bosnia. Grbic's Restaurant was a surprise Valentine gift to Senada's mother, and became a reality in 2002. Senada graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago in 2009, and returned to St. Louis to be the executive chef at Grbic's, truly a family-run business. Senada's father, Sulejman is still the butcher, and her mother, Ermina, continues to run the kitchen. Senada is passionate about all of the culinary riches of the world, but especially to her roots of Eastern Europe.
George "Skip" Guthier
Born George N. Guthier Jr., everyone calls him “Skip”, and is one of George Sr. and Rose Anne Guthier’s seven children. Skip was raised in Little Flower Parish, attended Bishop Du Bourg HS, and joined the Marines serving in South Carolina, Iwakuni Japan, Okinawa, & Rota Spain. After completing several Marine culinary schools, he attended Johnson & Wales University and earned an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts. He is married to Anna and has two sons, Ben and Kyle. Locally he has served as the Banquet Chef at Schneithorst’s Hoffamburg Inn, Night Baker at the Ritz Carlton, Bakery Manager at Washington University, Wedding Cake designer for Steven Becker Fine Dining, a Baking and Pastry Instructor at L’Ecole Culinaire, and is currently the pastry chef for Companion Baking. Skip is a member of the St. Louis Chefs de Cuisine Assn., the Bread Bakers Guild of America, and the Retail Bakers Association. Although he loves to make artisan breads, cakes, and pies, he gets the most satisfaction from making bakers out of willing students.
Nate Hereford, chef de cuisine at Niche, grew up in Massachusetts and is an anthropology graduate of the University of Vermont. Nate attended the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, and worked at several Chicago restaurants, including Bonsoiree, Graham Elliot, and Moto. Nate has been with Niche since 2009 and is currently the chef de cuisine.
Chicago native Andrew Jennrich is the chef de cuisine at Farmhaus.
Wes Johnson, chef-owner of Salt, is a complete food junkie. He has spent the last fifteen years traveling across the United States perfecting his craft and sampling the best flavors America has to offer. Having found his way back to his home state, Wes set to work preparing dishes that combine the gourmet food of his travels with the comfort food of his youth in a delicious and whimsical way. Wes has cooked delicious food at The Scottish Arms, Shaved Duck, Eclipse, and Salt restaurants.
Margi Kahn, who bakes fresh bread in her home every day, has been teaching bread
baking and other cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory for over twenty years. Her engaging and passionate personality inspires all of her students to start sourdough starters, hand-knead doughs, and bake irresistable breads. Many local and national publications have featured her excellent bread-baking skills. Margi writes the food column for the Jewish Light and has judged many food competitions.
Ashley Schuster Kempf
Ashley Schuster Kempf graduated from L’Ecole Culinaire in 2009, then staged with some of the best chefs in St. Louis, including Gerard Craft, Kevin Willman, Josh Galliano, and Kevin Nashan. Ashley became part of the Sidney Street Cafe culinary team and had the honor of joining Kevin in preparing dinner for President Obama in 2011. She began working with her former teacher at L’Ecole Culinaire, Mark Sanfilippo, and mastermind of Salume Beddu in 2012, where Ashley wears many hats in a growing business of artisan cured meats.
Chef Mickey Kitterman found his passion for food and cooking as a second career -- he attended culinary school at the age of thirty! Mickey grew up in Peoria, Illinois, graduating from Western Illinois University with a degree in business administration and journalism. His first career was as a European clothing importer in Chicago. In 1983, Mickey got his culinary degree at the New School in New York City, and returned to Chicago to work with chef Michael Foley and mastering the art of French cooking. Mickey moved to St. Louis, worked with Richard Perry at the Jefferson Avenue Boarding House, and then opened Pro-visions on Cherokee Street, which was his life for twenty years. Mickey continues to influence the St. Louis cooking scene as the executive chef at Gallagher's in Waterloo, IL. In 2009, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch declared Gallagher's fried chicken as the best fried chicken in the region. Mickey has taught cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory for twenty years.
Christopher Lee grew up in St. Louis and graduated from Francis Howell High School.
He then enlisted in the United States Navy where he worked long hours in an environment
with an average temperature of 160 degrees. To this day, the heat in the kitchen
does not bother him. He then went to work for the late Jean Claude Guilloussou at
L'Auberge Bretonne, who he considered his mentor and friend. He has also worked
at Cafe de France, the Ritz-Carlton, the Chase Park Plaza, and Melange, which was
owned by his family.
Chris takes a simple, light approach to food, with a serious interest in food as
a restorative and he cooks with lots of spices and herbs. He was the executive
chef at Cafe Ventana, Sanctuaria, Diablitos, and Hendricks BBQ. Chris thoroughly enjoys the opportunity
to teach and to share his passion with so many people. Chris is currently at River City.
Raised in rural Wisconsin on a family farm, Simon Lehrer has had a passion for locally grown, sustainable, artisanal foods. He is an award winning cheesemonger with an exceptional record of service for locally notable establishments including Niche, Tony's, Pomme, and The Scottish Arms. He has been featured in articles in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sauce Magazine, and various industry periodicals. With more than eight years of working in all facets of cheese and specialty foods, he is an expert in all things cheese! (Photo courtesy of Corey Woodruff.)
Lauren Loomis (aka Lulu) and her husband, Robert, own and operate Lulu's Local Eatery, a food truck with a rooftop herb garden! Lulu's specializes in serving globally-inspired vegetarian and vegan recipes using local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Their knowledge and passion for plant-based cuisine was enhanced by living and working on organic farms in Australia and New Zealand. Lulu's Local Eatery was voted Sauce Magazine Reader's Choice Favorite Food Truck in 2013 and received a four star certification in sustainability from the Green Dining Alliance. Lulu is most passionate about changing peoples' minds about vegetables. Her daily mission is to help people understand how delicious and hearty plant-based foods can be! Lulu has taught classes at Local Harvest Cafe and is a featured freelance writer for ALIVE Magazine.
Jon Lowe, Executive Chef at Oceano Bistro, was born and raised in Central Kentucky.
Since the age of eleven, he has been working toward his goal of becoming an executive
chef. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University in 1998, Jon accepted
a sous chef position at a catering company in Charleston, South Carolina.
Vanna White and Bill Murray were just a few of the celebrities he entertained with
his artistic culinary skills. Shortly after, Jon obtained a position at The Charleston
Grill under renowned Chef Bob Waggoner. While there, he experimented with what the
locals in the area call low-country cooking and combined it with French influences.
In 2000, Chef Lowe moved to Memphis to open a Mediterranean concept for a small
company outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Eventually the company transferred him
to St. Louis where he was able to contribute with handling daily operation and creating
special dinners for the community.
Jack West MacMurray, III
A native of New Jersey, Chef Jack Mac found his way to St. Louis after spending
10 years as a chef in Vail, Colorado. A 1992 silver-medalist graduate of the Academy
of Culinary Arts in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Chef MacMurray has cooked for many
famous people, including Emeril Lagasse and President Gerald Ford. He has held the
executive chef position at Wild Horse Grill and Old Hickory Country Club in St.
Louis. Chef MacMurray
was the executive chef at Sage, which opened in 2007 to rave reviews, and recently as the executive chef at Schneithorst's Restaurant & Bar. Jack's engaging teaching style and passion for cooking make his participation classes especially fun.
Christie Saali Maggi
A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Christie Saali Maggi was the pastry chef for Sidney Street Cafe for two years. She has been passionate about cooking delicious food for many years. She worked at the St. Louis Club and in France. She has taught cooking on a wide variety of cuisines and themes. Christie has taught cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory for three years and spent four years in Chicago teaching cooking classes. Her favorites include French pastries, homemade ice cream, Indian food, and anything made with pork.
Ivy Magruder was born in St. Louis and graduated from Vianney High School. He attended
Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina, and after working
at various restaurants, including Flying Fish Cafe at Disney's Boardwalk, he moved
back to St. Louis in 2001. He had been the chef at Eleven Eleven Mississippi since
it opened, moved to Vin-de-Set as the executive chef, and most recently has become the corporate executive chef for the Gamlin Restaurant Group, which includes Sub Zero Vodka Bar. Ivy's cooking motto is KISS (keep it
simple stupid), and his fun-loving and "simple" approach are evident in
his teaching style.
Julie Malloy is a familiar face at Kitchen Conservatory, working in the retail store, and teaches many of our cake pops classes. Julie is from Alabama, and moved to St. Louis when she got married, and is now the mother of three, including a set of twins - and she considers her children the toughest critics in the kitchen.
Tony Marchetto's dream of becoming a chef came from growing up in a very culinary driven household and was fueled by beginning his career at one of the best farm-to-table restaurants in St. Louis, Cardwells at the Plaza. After being mentored by Chef Bill Cardwell, Tony honed his craft at fine-dining restaurants like Tony’s and Harvest Café. His passion for farm-to-table, home-style cuisine inspired B.C.’s Kitchen, which Tony opened with Chef Cardwell. This experience brought great passion for and familiarity with local and sustainable produce and products. In early 2013, Tony was called to his dream job as the Executive Chef of Prasino where he could bring his local sensibility and sustainable philosophy to the contemporary American restaurant in St. Charles, Mo.
Barry Marcus is a pastry chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education
(ICE) in New York City. A one time instructor in the Microcomputer Program at the
University of Missouri-St. Louis, he "got the New York bug" and with his
wife and dogs close behind, moved from the Midwest to find his place in the big
city restaurant scene. He succeeded, landing positions in the prestigious pastry
and confectionery kitchens of Payard Patisserie, The Tribeca Grill and Le Cirque
2000, before being offered a full-time faculty position at ICE by Chef Nick Malgieri,
dean of Pastry Arts.
Now residing once again in St. Louis, he makes the trip east to teach
specialty professional development courses in pastry, confectionery and sugar art.
His three- and five-day seminars in the Art of Pulled Sugar are popular with recent
graduates of the Institute's Professional Pastry Program as well as with seasoned
culinary professionals in and around the New York area. A blue-ribbon graduate of
ICE, Barry studied the art of pulled sugar under the tutelage of Ewald Notter at
the International School of Confectionery Arts in the U.S. and with Othmar Fassbind
at the Fabilo International School of Sugar Art in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Vincent Marsden has been working in the restaurant business for 22 years. He started cutting off the tops of strawberries for pies at the now closed Tippins restaurant and has progressed through the years holding almost every job in the industry up to owner of Mirasol which was in the East Loop from early 2003 through 2007. Since then, Vincent ran multi-million dollar corporate restaurants and even managed the outlets at The Chase Park Plaza. Through the more recent years, he has honed his sights in on a life long addiction/passion; doughnuts. The co-owner/operator, main dough maker, at his new business Vincent Van Doughnut has brought Saint Louis a higher level of doughnuts with artisanal creations and spins off of classic desserts. The doughnuts at Vincent Van Doughnut include everything from your basic glazes to lemon meringue, bananas foster, creme brûlée, and their widely popular French Toast doughnut.
Frank McGinty, the director of sales and marketing for Kaldi's Coffee, attended Apicius Culinary Institute of Florence, Italy, and studied business administration at Lindenwood University.
Neville McNaughton's career started on a 30-cow dairy farm in Riverton New Zealand where his father as a Director of the local Dairy Cheese Factory. No coincidence that Neville gravitated to another local Dairy operation when he graduated High School in 1972. In 1977, Neville graduated from Massey University in Palmerstone North with a Diploma in Dairy Technology. In 1975 Neville had commenced employment with The New Zealand Cooperative Rennet Company as a Cheesemaker, it was here that his extensive knowledge of cheese began. Having moved from a Conventional Cheddar Cheese plant it was hear that he gained knowledge in Blue, Havarti, Danbo, Gouda, Edam, Emmental, Romano, Feta, Parmesan and Process Cheese. When Neville departed this company in 1975 sales had increased 600% and he was managing 55 people. But the entrepreneurial spirit saw him team up with Ross McCallum in 1983 and begin what was to become a bellwether operation for the New Zealand Dairy Industry. Kapiti Cheese became New Zealand's premier brand for specialty cheese in the 1980s and 1990s and achieved sales of nearly $25 million prior to being sold in 2003. In the USA Neville has held various positions with The New Zealand Dairy Board, Marin French Cheese, Imperial Biotechnology, Innovative Ingredients and since 2001 has operated CheezSorce, L.L.C. a consulting company providing technical services to the emerging and existing cheesemakers in North America. Neville is a member of the board of directors for the American Cheese Society (www.cheesesociety.org) and has a contract with the DBIC (Dairy Business Innovation Center) since its inception.
Jesse Mendica, a Webster Groves native, has been executive
sous chef at the award-winning Annie Gunn's restaurant since
2007. She has been cooking with Chef Lou Rook and his
talented kitchen staff since 2000.
Jesse started in the business at 16 at her hometown
favorite, Two Nice Guy's. She quickly moved from salad, to
pizza, to the hot line quickly realizing that with the fun
and excitement of working in a kitchen came great reward and
pride. The feeling never left her, and she strives to
share her love of playing with food, laughing, and enjoying
hard, dirty work with everyone who will listen!
Jesse had the great benefit of traveling to New York with
Chef Lou Rook and Annie Gunn's restaurant in 2007 to cook a
St. Patrick's Day meal in the prestigious James Beard House,
and burst onto the Kitchen Conservatory scene as the only
female competitor in the 2012 Sous Chef Iron Chef
Aruna Menon grew up in Bangalore, India, but hails originally from the southern-most state in India, called Kerala - the land of fish, rice and coconut! Aruna is a financial services professional with a passion for cooking. Her "career" in the kitchen started at age 11 under the guidance of her mother and later on by other family members. She has been cooking for family and friends ever since and enjoys it thoroughly. Aruna's biggest fan is her teenage daughter, and she also caters for parties and local events.
Dawn Meyer has been teaching cooking classes
for over ten years. She specializes in the cuisines of Mexico and Spain, which trace
her family heritage. Plus, she enjoys teaching charming classes for children and
gingerbread house making. She team-teaches couples classes with her brother-in-law
and amateur cook, Larry Meyers.
Jean Millner joined the staff of Kitchen Conservatory in 2009 and often says she feels privileged to be able to express her love of all things food by teaching cooking classes. Jean is a self-taught home cook whose culinary anchor lies in simple comfort foods but she loves to explore new cuisines. Jean reads cookbooks as if they are novels. She enjoys sharing tips and techniques in her classes and believes that we all have an inner-chef waiting to be coaxed out. When she's not working at Kitchen Conservatory, Jean enjoys gardening and spending time with her family and friends, which often includes food and board games.
Ryan Modde, a native St. Louisian from a family of five children, learned at an early age the joys and comforts of enjoying a meal with family and friends as their house was always full! Ryan received a degree in Elementary Education at Washington University, but discoverd a new passion for food late in his college years, and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY in 2001. He worked as a private chef that gave him the opportunity to travel and experience the seasonal bounty that different regions had to offer. Ryan worked for Catering St. Louis as an event chef, chef at the Boathouse in Forest Park, and eventually executive chef. He worked for Bon Appetit at Washington University, and is now the corporate chef for Major Brands Liquor Distributor. His passion for food grows every day and he love sharing that passion with others.
David Molina started his cooking career nearly fifteen years ago at the Blue Water Grill in St. Louis. After a few years of working his way through the kitchen, he helped open the Kirkwood location of Blue Water. As a Texas native, David was exposed to many different styles of southern and Mexican cuisine. After many years in St. Louis, David moved to Nashville, TN, where he worked at Boundry, an upscale restaurant that served global cuisine with a southern twist. David was exposed to ingredients from around the world.
After a year stint in Nashville, David moved back to St. Louis to open Figaro, a French/Italian restaurant with Frank Schmitz and Mike Johnson. David was then transferred one block over to open BARcelona Tapas.
Since 2002, BARcelona tapas has grown into the Clayton hotspot. In 2007 BARcelona expanded and David moved to Indianapolis, IN to open a second location and the first tapas restaurant in Indianapolis, which was named best new restaurant.
In 2009 David returned to St. Louis to work on other restaurant projects with Frank Schmitz, including opening Bocci Bar in April 2011. David has returned to his roots, joining Mike Johnson as executive chef at Sugarfire Smoke House, which is receiving many accolades for it's barbecue.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Clara Moore has enjoyed a diverse culinary career so far. She started working at Duff's at just age 16 as a busser. There she learned the culinary basics under the guidance of the talented Jim Voss, who imparted the value of utilizing seasonal and local produce. Driven by food and cooking, Moore went to culinary school in Baltimore and learned Mexican Cooking in Guanajuato, Mexico. During her time living in St. Louis she has worked at Trattoria Marcella, Mangia Italiano, and found an exceptional opportunity in opening Local Harvest Cafe and Catering in 2008, where she realized her dream of working with local, small farm produce and artisan products for over 5 years. Clara is currently living in Seattle but returns to St. Louis to teach classes, go out to dinner, and finish her guidebook on food shopping in St. Louis.
Barb Nack is our fabulous director of the Kitchen Conservatory cooking school. Barb
had a mid-life career change; she followed her heart and love of cooking when she
quit her job in the medical field and went full-time to culinary school. She is
a graduate of the culinary program at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park.
Barb loves to cook and entertain for her family and friends, and enjoys being with
fellow foodies. Her favorite cuisine is American comfort food.
Kevin Nashan, owner and chef of Sidney Street Cafe, studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Kevin had memorable working experiences in France at Restaurant Georges Blanc and in Spain at El Bulli. Honored as a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards 2009 - Best Chef Midwest, Kevin is also an avid tri-athlete.
Phil Nekic of Bob's Seafood
Phil Nekic, who has worked at Bob’s Seafood for many years, teams up with
local chefs for very popular classes on how to cook fish. He brings in a market basket of fresh
fish and shows how to select and cut the freshest fish. Phil enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge of fish varieties, seasons, and sourcing the best fish and shellfish.
Janice Neuwirth loves to work in every capacity at Kitchen Conservatory, from retail sales to kitchen assistant to buyer for the extensive collection of cookie cutters. Janice graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1997 with a degree in business administration and management and worked at AT&T for 16 years. She is a graduate of the culinary program at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. When Janice is not in the kitchen or retail store at Kitchen Conservatory, she is busy as a consultant for WineShop at home, and taking Italian classes.
Brendan Noonan, the sous chef at Harvest, is a native of St. Louis. Brendan has been working in the industry in various capacities since high school. Leaving St. Louis to study in Chicago and Rhode Island, Brendan began to develop his signature style. Upon returning to St. Louis, Brendan worked as the executive chef at the Scottish Arms and then helped open the Shaved Duck where he once again served as executive chef. Combining European techniques with American sensibilities, Brendan oversaw the kitchen of a favorite restaurant. Brendan was the sous chef at Eclipse and is now the sous chef at Harvest.
Thu Rein Oo
Thu Rein Oo arrived to St. Louis as a Burmese refugee, and is now a United States citizen. Thu Rein began as a dishwasher at The Crossing, and quickly rose to poissonier - fish "ninja" because of his expertise and creativity.
Rebecca Osborne is a dedicated foodie. Her childhood in the Southwest imbued her with an appreciation for spice and the complexity of chiles; she rounded out her palette eating vegan in the Pacific North West. Born into a food loving family, she honed her skills cooking alongside award winning chefs asking questions, exploring techniques and soaking up knowledge. She now works as the Catering and Events Manager for Local Harvest Café, where she also has a hand in designing menus and recipe testing.
A certified elementary school teacher who taught pre-school for ten years, Cindy Ott has taught the children's gingerbread house making classes at Kitchen Conservatory for over 12 years. Her enthusiastic and easy-going style inspires everyone to enjoy cooking.
Jess Paddock, pastry chef at Home Wine Kitchen and Table, is a South Saint Louis native who has the food industry in her blood. She started the restaurant business when she was five years old in her uncle’s bar and grill. Jess also spent a lot of time with her grandmother who owned a local catering company. Jess graduated from the Culinary Institute of America with a Bachelor’s degree in 2006. Since then, Jess has worked many positions in restaurants in Saint Louis and also along the east coast, including Jean Georges Restaurant in New York City. Working as a chocolatier at Kakao in Maplewood taught Jess a lot. She always found herself taking a savory cook’s approach to pastry, and she loves putting a fun spin on nostalgic desserts that make people happy.
Brian Pelletier is the owner and chief chocolatier at Kakao Chocolate, where he and his team make all-natural chocolates and other confections, all by hand. Brian spent nearly 20 years in marketing before diving off the corporate ladder and starting the chocolate company in 2008. Kakao was been named "Best Chocolate in St. Louis" several times and has won other local and national awards. Brian serves on three non-profit boards, has taught at the University of Missouri at St. Louis and Webster University, and has a passion for helping other people succeed.
Wil Pelly started cooking as a youth, watching his Cuban-born mother and grandmother in the home kitchen, using his passion for these Latin roots to create unique spins on Spanish dishes. At age 17, Wil started working at local St. Louis restaurants and worked his way from bus boy, waiter, line cook, and now executive chef of Sanctuaria, Diablitos, Hendrick’s BBQ, and Cafe Ventana.
Malou Perez-Nievera is the creative driving force behind the food blog, Skip to Malou, named one of Babble's Top 100 Food Mom Blogs. She acts as the blog's recipe developer, writer, cook and photographer. Through Skip to Malou, she shares her easy and simple recipes that specialize in Filipino and Asian dishes. Malou has contributed to the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook, where her dish was among the 100 selected out of 1,500 recipes. Malou's recipes have also been featured in New Asian Cuisine, Food News Journal, and Adoboloco. She's a regular contributor of The Yahoo Voice, The Daily Meal, Foodipino and Filamnation. She has also been featured on KSDK News Channel 5 in St. Louis.
Bruce and Anne Piatek
Bruce Piatek II has worked as the executive chef at several St. Louis restaurants, including Eleven
Eleven Mississippi. His wife, Anne Piatek, is a personal chef. Together, they have team-taught memorable
cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory.
Chef Bernard Pilon, of Norwood Hills Country Club, has been teaching classes regularly
at Kitchen Conservatory for over 15 years. Hailing from Montreal and fluent in French, Bernard Pilon refined his culinary craft in restaurants, hotels, and country clubs. It is also important
to note that he spent a year in another “St. Lou” – St. Lucia
in the Caribbean – because it was where he met his future wife while both
were working at the renowned Club Med Resort.
A resident of St. Louis since 1996, Chef Pilon is very active in the local cooking community.
He is on the advisory board for L'Ecole Culinaire, is an active member of
the Chef de Cuisine Association of St. Louis, and is involved in Operation Food
Search. He mentors young cooks starting in the profession. When he's not cooking, he can be found running marathons, playing ice hockey, quoting
Shakespeare, or enjoying jazz music with a glass of wine on one of his yearly visits
to Napa. Everyone (including the staff at Kitchen Conservatory) looks forward to his patient teaching at his monthly cooking classes with his amazing food preparations. Chef Bernard specializes in seafood dishes and his delicious tweaking of classic French cuisine.
Stephanie Pilon began teaching at the Kitchen Conservatory 2010 and has been teaching children to cook since 2005. She spends most of her days as a preschool teacher at the Shirlee Green Preschool at Shaare Emeth, and her evenings baking treats for her family, driving carpools, and tap dancing. Really! Stephanie is currently enrolled in the Baking and Pastry program at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. Her favorite things to cook are chocolate chip cookies and anything Vietnamese.
Born and bred in St. Louis, Missouri, Josh Poletti was born with a knife in his hand. From as early as Poletti can remember he found himself knee high in his families home kitchen, inquisitive and eager to help. Josh began his culinary career at nineteen years of age at Il Bel Lago where his passion for the culinary arts was first nurtured. It was this experience that brought Poletti to Portland to attend the Oregon Culinary Institute. Upon graduation Poletti returned home to St. Louis where he has been able to express himself in many acclaimed St. Louis restaurant institutions including Harvest, Araka and Monarch and Niche. Today Josh Poletti is an integral part of The Libertine family acting as Executive Sous Chef.
Stefani Pollack has always enjoyed baking from scratch. At dinner one night, some
good friends mentioned that they were trying to decide where to buy cupcakes for
their wedding. Having never baked a cupcake before, Stefani decided to master the
cupcake for this occasion. She has been experimenting with all kinds of cupcakes
ever since. Stefani writes a cupcake blog, Cupcake Project, which is read by over
40,000 people a month. On the blog, she shares with her readers the lessons she
has learned from all of her experiments - both what works and what doesn't.
A native of Israel, Ben Poremba moved to St. Louis to earn a BA in philosophy from the University of Missourii, St. Louis. He learned the art of cooking [and eating] from his mother Rachel who has been a chef and a culinary educator for nearly forty years. An extensive world-traveler, Ben staged in kitchens in France and Italy, and attended the Universita degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche [University of Gastronomic Studies] in Parma, Italy where he studied Food Culture and Gastronomy. Ben owned and operated a small catering company called Taste - Fine Catering, and was the executive chef at Winslow's Home in University City and The Maryland House in the Central West End. In 2009 he joined Salume Beddu as co-owner. Salume Beddu is an artisan salumi company that is dedicated to utilizing hormone-free and antibiotic-free locally-raised pork for their products.
Naam Pruitt is a Thai cuisine expert and author of Lemongrass & Limes,
a colorful introduction to Thai cooking. A Thai native, Naam was raised
in Prachuabkirikhan, Thailand. Her father, raised by Thai Buddhist monks, worked
as a Thai government spy in Burma and later as a journalist. Naam learned the secrets
of Thai cooking from her mother, who taught her how to find the best fruits, vegetables
and meat at the lowest prices. She learned how to master the subtle techniques and
skills of Thai food by watching her mother cook every day.
Naam first came to the U.S. in 1987 as a high school exchange student, spending
a year in Maryland. After returning to Thailand, she met her future husband, an
Iowan who had moved to Asia as a teenager along with his family. They were married
in 1990 and moved to Texas, where she worked as a special food assistant at the
athletic dining hall at A&M University, creating attractive food presentations
for hungry football players. She graduated from the Wilton School of Cake Decorating,
where she learned to decorate cakes and make pulled sugar creations. Later she operated her own catering business.
After living in Independence, Kansas for the past decade and teaching Thai cooking, Naam and her family moved to Saint Louis in 2008. She has taught at New York’s Institute
of Culinary Education. She also has regular Thai demonstrations at The Giant Eagle
Market District in Pittsburgh, PA. She returns to Thailand at least once each year
to find new flavors and ideas. She and her husband Dennis have two children.
Naam is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and
Women Chefs & Restaurateurs.
Vito Racanelli Jr. says, "Food has been my life since I was a little boy. My parents are from Italy and I was very blessed to grow up around traditional, homemade, fresh Italian food."
Chef Vito's passion is to cook with fresh, local ingredients. His love for food is apparent in the artistic, inspired dishes that he creates. A native New Yorker, Vito is a graduate of the prestigious Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island and has been cooking for over 20 years. His culinary background includes the Le Parker-Meridian in Manhattan, and the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis. He has a fun, passionate, kind-hearted attitude. "I love food; it is so much of my life and soul." Vito is the chef-owner of Mad Tomato in Clayton, MO, which opened in May 2011.
Chef Vito has been voted one of Sauce Magazine's Best Chefs, and has received numerous awards for his restaurant Mad Tomato, including: St. Louis Magazine Best New Restaurant, RFT Best Italian Restaurant, Sauce Magazine Favorite Italian Resturant, and Alive Magazine Best New Restaurant. Vito has recently been nominated by his peers, and chosen to be published in this year's book, "Best Chefs America." Vito is the Executive Chef of The Taste of St. Louis, managing the culinary stage and chef culinary battles. He also spends time regularly at Kitchen Conservatory, where he teaches Italian and pasta-making classes. Every December his mother helps him teach a cooking class in honor of their family Christmas traditions. Vito and his wife Amy Racanelli share a passion for cooking, travel, culture, and spirituality. They are both involved in the planning of a vocational school with the organization Send Me. They will be traveling to Guatemala in January 2014, with other members of their church, to assist in the construction and development of the school.
Akila Ramakrishnan is from Chennai, a city in South India and has lived in St. Louis since 1997. Akila is an IT professional and loves technology and cooking, particularly for a crowd. She is a food blogger and very passionate about growing herbs, vegetarian cooking, fusion cooking, exploring new ingredients and nutritional analysis of food. Akila taught herself how to cook and believes anyone can cook Indian food if they understand the ingredients and have a compassionate teacher.
Her blog, TamBramTwist (tambramtwist.blogspot.com) is the essence of her style of cooking, which is urban and vegetarian.
Lou Rook has been the executive chef for Annie Gunn's in Chesterfield for 18 years, and has transformed Annie Gunn's from a little known local spot with good pub food, to a nationally recognized, Zagat award-winning restaurant with an outstanding wine list and consistently superb food.
Lou grew up in the restaurant business, beginning at the age of thirteen he helped in his family's diner, King Louie's in Wood River, Illinois. By the time he was sixteen, he was managing the restaurant himself, and establishing a thriving catering business. From that early experience, his career path was decided. He went to the University of Missouri, Columbia and graduated with a B.S. in Food Service and Lodging Management. He then attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Throughout college he worked at various restaurants and caterers, gaining as much practical experience as he could. He worked for two years at the Trellis restaurant in Williamsburg, VA under the tutelage of chef Marcel Desaulniers. He returned to St. Louis and worked as assistant chef at Cardwell's in Clayton and was chef-owner of Grappa in the Central West End. Lou has taught cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory for over 20 years.
At Annie Gunn's, Lou offers hearty, American cuisine. He changes the menu on a monthly basis to incorporate the freshest quality ingredients, as well as seasonal produce. Lou uses the highest-quality, farm-fresh produce. Annie Gunn's has received numerous prestigious awards including Top Tables from Gourmet Magazine, the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine, and Lou and Annie Gunn's were featured on the Food Network's Taste of the Nation, representing the best restaurants in the Midwest. Lou was a James Beard nominee for the Best Chef in the Midwest. Married to his wife Shannon for 14 years, Lou has three daughters and resides in Wildwood.
Cookbook author and St. Louis native Laura Byrne Russell took her very first cooking class at Kitchen Conservatory in the early 1990s. Later, after attending culinary school in Chicago, Laura spent four years as a recipe developer in the test kitchen at Food & Wine magazine. After switching to a gluten-free diet in 2007, Laura now focus exclusively on gluten-free recipes as the gluten-free columnist for the Oregonian, author of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen, and her new cookbook, Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables. You can also find her recipes in many magazines, including Prevention, Easy Eats, Living Without, NW Palate, and Portland's MIX magazine.
Mark A. Sanfilippo
Mark A. Sanfilippo received a B.A. in German Literature as well as a B.A. in Philosophy
from the University of Missouri - Saint Louis. He then went on to earn his M.A.L.A.
in Philosophy from St. John's College in Santa Fe. He spent the next few years working
as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, before joining the culinary arts and landing
a Prep Manager position at Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton's three-star Pizzeria
Mozza. He worked his way up the ranks at the restaurant, and ultimately managed
a team of prep cooks, in addition to helping develop the restaurant's nascent salumi
program. At Mozza, Mark trained in the traditional Italian art of curing meats,
including guanciale, lardo, pancetta, coppa, and salami. Mark and his wife recently
relocated back to his hometown of St. Louis to start a small artisan salami company,
called Salume Beddu. He specializes in high-quality salumi, fresh salsiccia, and
other Italian delicacies. Salume Beddu is dedicated to utilizing hormone-free and
antibiotic-free locally-raised pork for their products.
Maria Sakellariou is a true lover of Mediterranean cuisine. After many years in
the corporate world, and living abroad in Greece, Belgium, and Switzerland, Maria
moved to Florida and joined her family in the restaurant business. In 2002 she moved
to St. Louis and expanded her love of cooking when she created and opened a
personal chef service, Culinary Odyssey LLC. Be sure to tap into Maria's
culinary genius by joining her in a class at Kitchen Conservatory (hint: her phyllo
classes are tops!).
Fabrizio Schenardi, executive chef at Cielo Restaurant & Bar, Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, was born in Rivoli, Italy and received his culinary arts diploma from Istituto Alberghiero Ravizza in Torino, Italy.
Schenardi has extensive experience at admired hotel restaurants across two continents, including Pelagia Trattoria, Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza; St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa, Dana Point, California; Regent Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons, Los Angeles; Four Seasons Resort Maui; Hotel Europa, Rapallo, Italy; Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.; Renaissance Jamaica Grand Hotel, Ocho Rios; Nikko Hotel, Essex House; REMI Restaurant, New York; and Forte Village Hotel, Sardinia.
Fabrizio fashions modern Italian food at Cielo with the freshest ingredients, Mediterranean inspiration, and always an unexpected twist.
Schenardi arrived in St. Louis by way of Tampa, where he opened a hotel hotspot in 2004 that became renowned as much for his personal warmth as his scintillating cuisine.
"If you want something, you have to give something. It's amazing how relationships can develop simply by talking to people," he says.
He is intent upon an artifice-free operation “I can't stand pretension.“ Schenardi focuses on freshness and simplicity. His uncomplicated dishes are often created with just five or six ingredients.
Kat Schonberg-Hamar is a Seattle Culinary Academy graduate focused on encouraging healthy, sustainable food choices for everyone, but especially school lunch programs. Living in Seattle gives her the perfect opportunity to cook with her favorite ingredients: fresh seafood! When she's not in the kitchen she works as a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska and sees personally the necessity of protecting the integrity of our food supply. In her off season from fishing she prowls Farmers Markets and food festivals for anything fresh, new, and unique to taste.
For Elizabeth Schuster, chef and mastermind of the exciting Tenacious Eats, every major event in her life is centered around food. Her family has always celebrated life and mourned loss, using food as the catalyst. It was not just about sustenance, it was their way of communicating with each other. “Eat. Try this. Its good for you”. Really meant, “I love you. I care about you.”
Her father’s family owned a bakery, so she grew up amidst German-influenced cooks and bakers.
Elizabeth’s culinary career has been influenced by a multitude of chefs and restaurants, including Chef Chris Desens as his Tournand at Racquet Club Ladue, then the Banquet Chef at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, Culinary Event Coordinator for L’Ecole Culinaire and most recently the Executive Chef at The Scottish Arms. Tenacious Eats is a lifelong culmination of the two mediums in art that have inspired and driven Elizabeth forward artistically, both as a lover of great film and as a professional chef. It is a challenge to encapsulate the Tenacious experience - It is part performance art, part film showing, and always great food and tremendous fun with like-minded souls who become immediate friends!
A veteran of the knife business, Clark Stone of Wusthof-Trident Cutlery teaches
great classes on how to choose, use, sharpen, and maintain knives at peak performance.
Participants in the knife classes learn confidence in using this most important
tool in the kitchen. Clark makes everyone feel comfortable with sharp knives.
Ruth Sparrow, the Director of Marketing for Kitchen Conservatory,
has been teaching children and adults for 30 years and loves to cook! Ruth
books our fabulous classes with the best chefs from the best restaurants in the
St. Louis area and writes our newsletter, What's Stirring. Yes, Ruth creates the clever titles that make every class sound irresistable. She also works
in our store part-time, and when she is not busy with her passion for cooking, she
is running her needle art design business, Twisted Threads.
Jason Tilford's resume of restaurants with his brother Adam, continues to grow and includes Barrister's in Clayton, Tortillaria in the Central West End, Milagro Modern Mexican in Webster Groves, and their newest endeavor will be in the Delmar Loop, with a working name of Mission fashioned after a San Francisco district known for its taquerias. Jason started teaching at Kitchen Conservatory in 2012, and shares his passion for fresh and authentic Mexican cuisine.
Stephen Trouvere combines years of experience in the natural foods movement and 12 years as a culinary professional. He apprenticed with Bryan Carr of Pomme Restaurant in Clayton, then teamed up with restauranteur David Bailey to improve and expand Rooster, the busy downtown creperie and cafe. He returned to Pomme as the chef de cuisine in 2009.
Francie Valenta, owner of Encore Baking Company in Maplewood, opened her first
cake business in 1989. Francie combined her art background with her love of baking and worked several
years developing her skills and knowledge with some of the best pastry
chefs and bakers in St. Louis. Francie continues to wow her customers, including many brides with her distinctive decorating style and delicious cakes.
Brenda Vanden Bos
Brenda Vanden Bos is a native of the Sacramento, California area. Her love for food and cooking started while she grew up on her family's farm. She spent her childhood learning to prepare meals using fresh, garden-grown produce and farm-raised meats. This love for food carried her into the food industry after high school. Brenda graduated from New England Culinary Institute. From there, Brenda's culinary adventures led her to work in a number of interesting places including Napa Valley, on a catamaran sailing to Micronesia, with an Indy car team, and most recently in Saratoga Springs, NY. Brenda also spent six years working at Kitchen Conservatory starting in 1998. While at Kitchen Conservatory, she managed the school and store along with teaching several classes. Today, Brenda focuses her cooking talents on feeding her husband and three hungry kids. She believes cooking does not have to be complicated and likes to teach things that people can try at home. And, yes, your kids can eat food other than pizza and chicken nuggets and like it.
Chef Cassy Vires is the owner and Executive Chef of Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood, and Table in St. Louis.. She received her culinary training in Houston, Texas at The Art Institute. There she gained an appreciation of American cuisine as a true melting pot of cultures, traditions, ingredients and techniques. Since then, she has put her talent to work as a chef, instructor and food writer. During her time at The Viking Cooking School, she was able to expand her technical knowledge while also finding a way to adapt classic techniques to the home cook. Since then, she has used the same philosophy as a monthly columnist for Feast Magazine, for which she was nominated for a James Beard Award. Her knack for recreating dishes people know and love comes across on her menu as she re-imagines American classics like pulled pork, BLT and her award-winning grilled cheese sandwich. (Photo courtesy of Feast Magazine.)
Recently retired from her full time day job, Doris enjoys expressing her culinary interest at night. She has been on the Kitchen Conservatory staff for ten years and has instructed several cooking classes on Swiss fondue. With over twenty years of hospitality and cooking experience, Doris has exceptional professionalism and attention to detail which will definitely enhance your adventure in the kitchen.
Phatcharin Wanna and Saengwan Paisley
Saengwan Paisley and Phatcharin Wanna are from Chiang Mai Thailand. In 2012, the mother and daughter opened Fork & Stix Restaurant, specializing in Northern Thai food.
Raised in a family rife with food traditions, Kevin Warner is a local foods advocate and avid home cook. He works as Project Manager at Fair Shares CCSA, a community-supported agriculture business that sources food from over 75 St. Louis-area farmers and artisanal food producers for a membership of over 450 families. As a Slow Food St. Louis board member, Kevin is a co-creator of the St. Louis Farm to Table Food Loop, helping to better define and promote the St. Louis foodshed.
Kevin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Opera Performance, and when he is not cooking or working with area farmers, he can be heard singing in various choral and solo settings around the city.
A native of Paw Paw, Michigan, Kirk Warner began his restaurant career at a young
age. In his mother's small bistro adjacent to the family winery, he was both
waiting tables and preparing simple bistro fare before he was a teenager. Following
college, and after working in a variety of restaurants, traveling extensively and
reading every cookbook he could get his hands on, he landed in St. Louis where a
cousin had opened a tavern called King Louie's. In just over five years as executive
chef at King Louie's, he helped transform what was once a fledgling college bar
into one of the most respected restaurants in St. Louis. In the process, he garnered
numerous local and national accolades for both the restaurant and himself. Kirk
signed on to help open Savor in April 2004.
As chef-owner of Kirk's Traveling Kitchen, Kirk’s goal is to bring the craftsmanship
and dedication of a professional restaurant into the home kitchen for those who
love great food.
Chef Gregory P. Ziegenfuss has been working within the catering industry for 30 years. Though Greg is a native St. Louisan he has traveled the world extensively in order to broaden his culinary knowledge. He finished first in his class from the Culinary Institute of America and in 2008, he competed in the Food Network Challenge Series, "BIG Bash Catering Challenge." Where is he now? Greg has returned to his hometown and has been with Butler's Pantry for nine years. He is the Executive Chef and Vice President of Operations there, specializing in creative food design and presentation. His motto in the kitchen? Stay calm and focused, work hard and, most importantly, have fun. Fun for Greg includes sailing, hiking, biking, gardening, walking his dogs, and of course dining with his favorite taste-tester: his wife, Melissa.
Bob Zugmaier started working at Sidney Street Cafe halfway through culinary school at L'Ecole Culinaire in 2009 as a line cook, and in 2012 became the pastry chef. Bob has very creative and innovative plated desserts at Sidney Street.