Best Local Chef Without a Restaurant - 2004
David Gilbert, formerly of Eau Bistro, believes the sensory element of the St. Louis dining scene is missing in action. He wants to change that and challenge diners to expand their culinary comfort zones. As he says: "After I'm certain that I've covered all the basics -- texture, sight, aroma, taste and sizzle -- I give very close attention to the emotional aspects of the food, such as humor, surprise and delight." During his ten-month run at Eau, Gilbert honed his words through whimsical touches. Like the atomizer he'd fill with concentrated fruit nectar and present at your table encased in a mini-block of ice drilled with holes that he'd filled with whole vanilla beans. You sprayed the nectar in your mouth and whiffed the vanilla in lieu of the standard sorbet intermezzo. Now that's cool. Alas, Gilbert recently left Eau Bistro. We miss the full-blown sensory experience he brought to local dining; let's hope he finds another local place to ply his trade.