On July 15, JV was invited to take part in the Share Our Strength – No Kid Hungry charity dinner in St. Louis, MO. The event was hosted by Chef Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe, and JV was among six guest chefs (including Stephanie Izard, Gerard Craft, Kevin Willmann, Michael Paley and Bob Zugmaier) who contributed to the meal, all with the common goal to help end childhood hunger.
JV prepared the first course — a dish of Dungeness crab, cucumber, preserved habanero, green coriander and lime, which was paired with Sterling Organic Sauvignon Blanc, Medocino 2009.
The event was a total success — raising $60K — which was two times the goal amount.
Aside from the evening’s fantastic turnout, JV couldn’t get over how impressed he was with the overall vibe and culinary scene in St. Louis. “It’s a charming city with serious food,” he said. “Plus, Nashan was an ideal host; they put us up in the Four Seasons, took our keys so we wouldn’t have to drive anywhere, and showed us the best food the city had to offer, including our welcome meal catered by Pappy’s Smokehouse … awesome St. Louis style ribs, kinda sweet and tangy.”
In JV’s words, St. Louis is the type of place that could be home. “It’s kind of like Northern mentality meets Southern hospitality; everyone’s an extremely hard worker but they’re also super gracious, always smiling, look you in the eye and say ‘nice to meet you’ … they have this totally kill-you-with-kindness kind of attitude. Not to mention, there is some insane cooking talent there, including the kids on the line. ”
All in all, while it’s easy to get caught up eating at the same restaurants over and over again (especially when living in a huge food city like Chicago), consider making the drive to St. Louis the next time you need a weekend getaway. If JV’s first-hand experience can tell us anything, both the food and dining experience will be unforgettable.
WHERE TO EAT:
- Sidney Street Cafe (Kevin Nashan & Bob Zugmaier)
- Pastaria, Niche, Brasserie by Niche, Taste (Gerard Craft)
- Farmhaus (Kevin Willmann)
- Pappy’s Smokehouse
Want to see more from the Share Our Strength dinner? Check out additional photos here!