This Week's Dish: Chefs On The Move At Central Table, Dressel's And Mad Tomato

By Molly Rippinger
In Food
Image courtesy of Central Table Food Hall

Image courtesy of Central Table Food Hall

Recently, Central Table Food Hall announced that Darnell Devine has been brought on board as the new executive chef at the Central West End eatery. Devine follows in the wake of Nick Martinkovic, who moved from Central Table to Blood & Sand earlier this year. Other changes have come with the news of Devine’s arrival, including a transformation of the space previously known as the market into a private room for events and classes. Also, look for an increase in vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu as well as a renewed emphasis on the sushi bar offerings.

More chefs are on the move at another Central West End spot, Dressel’s Public House, where Derek Roe (who previously worked as sous chef at Harvest and a line cook at the now shuttered Monarch) is now the new executive chef. As reported by Sauce Magazine, Roe replaces Mike Miller, who led Dressel’s kitchen for three years while simultaneously starting his own prepared foods and catering company with partner Chris Meyer, called Kitchen Kulture.

Chris Lee, a veteran of the St. Louis industry and twice-champion of the Budweiser Taste of St. Louis Chef’s Battle Royale, has teamed up with Vito Racanelli to launch a new restaurant group called Mustard Seed, which will act as the parent company for Racanelli’s Mad Tomato. Lee’s past experiences include acting as the corporate chef for In Good Company LLC (Sanctuaria, Café Ventana, Diablito’s Cantina and Hendricks BBQ) and more recently as the executive chef for banquets and events at the River City Casino. Look for the launch of Lee’s new menu at Mad Tomato on Saturday, May 10.

Area coffee professionals are also making a splash in the news this week thanks to Nora Brady, co-owner of Blueprint Coffee, and Kaldi’s Coffee roaster Tony Augerin who both competed in the finals of the United States Coffee Championships on April 26 and 27. Brady took sixth in the final round of the U.S. Barista Championship, for which she was required to prepare an espresso, cappuccino and a signature drink. Augerin competed in the U.S. Brewers Cup Championship, which focused on hand-brewed coffee, and was awarded third place.

Indulge in one of spring’s most delicate ingredients, white asparagus, at The Libertine on Wednesday, May 7. The five-course dinner will showcase the subtle flavors and often-unappreciated attributes that make white asparagus such a celebrated vegetable by executive chef Josh Galliano. The white stalks will be transformed into everything from chips and cakes to vinaigrette and ice cream. The dinner is $65 per person, with an optional wine pairing available for $30 per person. The Libertine’s standard a la carte menu will also be available during the dinner service. 7927 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.862.2999.

Soccer fans and foodies alike won’t want to miss Extra Virgin, An Olive Ovation’s special class, “Olive Oil, Wine and Soccer,” in honor of the upcoming World Cup competition. Led by certified sommeliers and soccer fans, Joyce and Ken DeNeal, the class will pair tastings of olive oils, wines and foods along with a little history about the culinary traditions of participating World Cup teams. The event will take place on Saturday, May 10 from 6 to 8pm and will specifically focus on items from the United States, Italy, Greece and Spain. $25 per person and reservations are required.  8829 Ladue Road, Ladue, 314.727.6464.

Updated: As of this afternoon, there’s an exciting addition to the Centene Plaza in the works: Cantina Laredo, a modern-Mexican chain with a reputation for its sleek décor and upscale take on south-of-the-border dishes. The Dallas-based company will be located in the more than 6,000-square-foot space with just under 200 seats at 7710 Forsyth Ave. Expect to see top-shelf cocktails, bold Mexican flavors and an elegant outdoor patio space when Cantina Laredo opens Nov. 4.

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