Behind the Scenes…

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If you’ve read my About Me page, you already know that I write part-time for Maplewood-Brentwood Patch, Clayton Patch, and Hazelwood Patch. How I manage to do this, along with my regular 40 hour a week job, plus this blog? I don’t know. It keeps me busy, that’s for sure. It’s a lot of fun – food has always been my passion, so I love being able to write about it!

My point is (yes, I do have a point – I think!) that I try my best to keep the two worlds separate. Patch is Patch; my blog is my blog. I don’t really like to mix the two. But what I’m about to share with you is so cool I just have to talk about it on the blog.

A few weeks ago I wrote a story for Maplewood-Brentwood Patch about Chef Wars. It’s a really cool Iron Chef-esque event where select chefs got together to prepare a five course meal using secret ingredients.

Jim Fiala, the owner of Acero, The Crossing, Liluma, and Terrace View (all St. Louis restaurants) started a competition where his executive chefs would face off against each other to create the best five course meal. The diners are the judges, and decide who goes on to the next round. The final round would pit the top chef against Fiala himself.

Pretty cool, right?

I covered the third event, which took place at Acero, a restaurant in Maplewood. It pitted Ian Vest (The Crossing) against Nick Cox (Terrace View).

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Ian’s on the left; Nick’s on the right.

While I could go on to wax poetic about the dishes that were served, that’s kind of boring. I didn’t try the food (although I was offered), and you won’t get to eat it. Pretty pictures can only do so much.

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Besides, you can go read my article if you want a play-by-play of the meal. Go do it, okay? Let me know what you think.

No, this blog post isn’t really about the food. It’s about something I’ve never experienced before – a restaurant kitchen!

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The chefs were nice enough to let me go backstage where all the action happened. Now this? This was cool. I was able to speak with the chefs themselves as they plated their dishes. I spoke with the waiters as they prepared to run the dishes out to the diners. I chatted with the assistants.

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I was able to see the magic in action.

I saw the food before it was plated.

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I was able to get up close and personal with the actual plating of the dish.

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As a frequent restaurant goer, I never really thought about what happened in the kitchen. I just knew that somewhere in between ordering my dish and receiving it, something went on in the kitchen. But I never gave it too much thought.

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I was blissfully unaware.

Back in the kitchen, between each course, it seemed like a madhouse upon first sight. Later I discovered that there was a method to the madness, and it was really more like a well-oiled machine.

The coolest thing? The fact that everyone pitched in.

Acero’s manager, Sam Foley…

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And even Jim Fiala himself.

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It was really a group effort. It has to be when you’re working with this many plates!

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So there you have it. I know this is a bit different from my typical restaurant review themed post, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Smile

Who won the contest? You’ll just have to read my article to find that out. Winking smile

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

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  • I can’t believe you write part time AND blog AND work and… sheesh! I’m tired now! I just wanted to share a recipe from one of the other blogs I read regularly — it’s for St. Louis style pizza, and it reminded me of one of your posts from over the summer, I think it was. One of these days I’ve got to actually TRY some of this Provel cheese! Anyway, here’s the link:
    http://threadedbasil.blogspot.com/2011/01/st-louis-pizza.html