This Week's Dish: Local Chefs Up For 'Best Chef Midwest,' PieCraft Launches Kickstarter For Vegan Options

By Molly Rippinger
In Food

St. Louisans will soon have the opportunity to enjoy offerings from The Libertine in the comfort of their own home—and no, we’re not talking about to-go orders or doggie bags. Beginning April 15, The Libertine will kick off their CSA-style program called “Growing Season,” which will provide subscribers a weekly bag of local goodies. Tucked inside will be seasonal produce from local farmers along with items made by The Libertine, such as fresh baked bread or their delicious kombucha tea. Those with dietary restrictions need not worry because there will be options for omnivores, Paleos, vegetarians and vegans. Each session will last 9 weeks and subscribers can also choose between full or half portions. Call for more information. 7927 Forsyth Ave., Clayton, 314.862.2999.

Image courtesy of PieCraft

Image courtesy of PieCraft

There is another round of St. Louis chefs up for a top culinary honor on the national level. Ben Poremba of Elaia and Olio along with Cassy Vires of Home Wine Kitchen are up for Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best Chef Midwest.” The two chefs and owners are going up against eight other talented culinarians with restaurants in Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota and western Missouri. Since this is a people’s choice award, it’s up to us to ensure that our chefs have a shot at the title. Today is the last day that the polls are open, so be sure to vote.

National attention has also been drawn to St. Louis’ Euclid Hospitality Group—Pi Pizzeria and Gringo—for implementing a $10.10 minimum wage for all workers. The $2.60 jump from the current $7.50 minimum wage was highly supported by Mayor Francis Slay and also President Obama, who commended their efforts in his weekly address on March 22. “Small businesses like St. Louis-based Pi Pizzeria are raising their wages, too; not out of charity but because it’s good for business. And Pi, by the way, makes a really good pizza.”

Local restaurant Crushed Red has increased their commitment to St. Louis by implementing a profit share program called “Community Table.” After a successful benefit night with a Washington University student group, the Urban Bake and Chop Shop decided that a program to help facilitate fundraising was a terrific idea. Now every Monday, area groups are welcomed to schedule a profit share event, meaning that 15 percent of diners’ checks will be donated to their cause. The one stipulation is that guests must declare their intent to partake in the Community Table prior to paying for their meal. For more information, head to their website.

Another local eatery, PieCraft, has turned to a Kickstarter campaign to help their effort to expand into vegan pies. With the raised funds PieCraft will be able to expand their production enough to incorporate a vegan menu that includes all of their fruit pies as well as a handful of their cream varieties. PieCraft can often be found around town at area festivals and the Ferguson Farmers Market, or is available through ordering. Look for their Kickstarter to be launched in the coming days.

With warm weather hopefully here to stay, St. Louisans are happily firing up their grills for the season. This year, take your barbecue to the next level by learning from Cardinals great Ozzie Smith and Weber’s grilling master Kevin Kolman in a live cooking demonstration hosted by Schnucks in Des Peres. The demonstation will take place on Saturday, April 12 from 12:30pm to 2:30pm. Don’t miss the chance to learn a little more about Weber’s line of grilling seasonings and also to meet a Cardinals legend. 12332 Manchester Rd., Des Peres, 314.965.3094.

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