After opening Niche in 2005 in St. Louis, MO at the age of 25, Gerard Craft has extended his restaurant group to include Taste by Niche, a modern speakeasy, Brasserie by Niche, a classic French bistro, and his latest approachable Italian concept, Pastaria. His creative yet simple food has earned him recognition as a Food & Wine Best New Chef, Inc. magazine’s “Star Entrepreneurs under 30,” as well as a four-time James Beard Foundation Finalist for Best Chef: Midwest thanks to his innovative interpretations of what he calls “humble” Midwest ingredients sourced through relationships with more than 100 area farmers.
“As a chef, it gives me a sense of purpose to embrace the region around me. Like some of our greatest culinary capitals of the world, I want the food to reflect my passion for my own backyard.”
1. What is your favorite food memory from childhood?
As a kid I grew up eating a lot of Brazilian food because my nanny and somewhat of a second mother was from Brazil. Mostly, it was a simple dish of black beans with rice and a little bit of salted pork. It was always topped with Farofa which was pretty much manioc root, onion, and a little pork fat. I still crave it to this day.
2. You’re moving to a new kitchen in 5-minutes and can only take one gadget along with you. What do you grab and why?
A scale. No one ever seems to have a digital scale in their kitchen but it's almost essential.
3. No one is looking. What's your secret food fetish?
Ice Cream. It’s impossible to resist! It makes it really bad that we have a Gelato case at Pastaria! (*Note that Pastaria has 11 rotating gelato flavors and pastry chef Anne Croy has created over 80 in the first six month of being open! Watch out chef Gerard!)
4. For my last supper, I would like __________ to prepare a meal for me and we would eat it with a glass of ___________.
...my wife, Suzie, to make me a Roasted Chicken and we would eat it with a Giuseppe Quintarelli Amorone .
5. Congratulations, you have carte blanche to dine anywhere in the world! Where would you go?
Asador Etxebarri in Spain, without a doubt.
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