When more than a dozen St. Louis chefs traveled to Swiss Meat & Sausage Co. in Hermann to watch the butchering of a Mangalitsa pig — a prized breed originally from Hungary — Kevin Nashan watched raptly as the master butchers took apart the hog and then was the first volunteer to attempt one of the unfamiliar cuts. His eagerness won't surprise fans of Nashan's work at Sidney Street Café. His passion for good food is evident in every dish, whether something new crafted from Mangalitsa pork or the who-knows-how-manyeth plating of Sidney Street classics such as the applewood-smoked duck or the confit of sweetbreads. It's evident in how he wants not only his own Benton Park restaurant but the entire St. Louis dining scene to prosper. In early September Nashan organized a weekend workshop for local chefs to learn about the art of charcuterie from renowned chef Fritz Sonnenschmidt. "[Charcuterie] is one of those lost arts that's been around forever," he said at the time. "It needs to be channeled into St. Louis." That desire for more knowledge and the humility to admit that St. Louis needs said knowledge — it's Nashan in a nutshell. What St. Louis needs is more chefs like him.
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