Best Local Chef - 2012
Many a chef will talk your ear off about the virtues of seasonal, local produce. But few, if any, are as committed to the concept as Anthony Devoti. Peruse the menu at Five Bistro and you'll see that almost every dish features at least one ingredient (usually the plate's focal point) from a local grower or rancher. Of course, finding top-quality local produce means nothing if you don't know how to prepare it properly, and Devoti's passion is evident in the plates he and his kitchen staff turn out night after night — a simple chilled summer soup of puréed tomatoes from Rissi Farm in Washville, Illinois, say, or the smart pairings of tastes and textures in entrées like a half-chicken from Benne's Farm in St. Charles served with Japanese eggplant, tomato, hickory-smoked bacon, kale and crook-neck squash from the restaurant's own garden. As befits a chef devoted to local produce and relentless in his pursuit of excellence, the menu changes frequently; the dishes described here, from this past summer, will likely have changed by the time you read this. No matter: Since 2006, first at Five's original location in the Grove and now in its home on the Hill, Devoti has proven himself not merely one of St. Louis' greatest advocates for changing how we think about the source of our food, but also as one of our finest chefs.