Best Local Chef - 2009
Josh Galliano - CLOSED
Hurricane Katrina forced Josh Galliano to relocate from New Orleans to St. Louis. His impressive résumé — including stints at the legendary Commander's Palace and at chef John Besh's celebrated August (both in the Big Easy) and at Daniel Boulud's namesake restaurant in New York City — landed him at Larry Forgione's An American Place. He eventually became Forgione's chef de cuisine, and the refined technique, creativity and Southern touches he brought to An American Place's focus on seasonal food from local producers gained him quite a following among the city's dining cognoscenti — which has only grown since Galliano departed to become the executive chef at Monarch. Here the menu is solely his own, from appetizers to desserts, and at each course you will struggle to find new synonyms for "Wow." His dishes can be simple (the divine bacon-and-egg slider), playful (chicken "nuggets," made with chicken confit), complex (his approach to tuna, especially, is an extraordinary interplay of spice) and, well, just plain Wow. Like most of the city's top chefs, Galliano's menu can change on a whim — or, just as likely, because a purveyor has brought him something extraordinary or a new crop has come in on his own personal garden. All the more reason to return to Monarch again and again.