Eric Heath Destroys a Giant Vase and Bans Death Metal in His Kitchen: A Q&A with the Cleveland-Heath Chef

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What are your three favorite St. Louis and/or Edwardsville restaurants, not counting your own? We have a couple favorites. We love going to Taste and Pastaria. Up here, we always go to the Indian place, Taj Indian Cuisine. It's great. They've got a goat dish with curried basmati, which is maybe my favorite thing I've ever had.

Which St. Louis chef most impresses you? A lot of the guys that get mentioned a ton: Kevin Willmann [Farmhaus] and Ben Poremba [Elaia and Olio] and Kevin Nashan [Sidney Street Café].

I met Gerard Craft [Niche] and Kevin Nashan in Napa at the Cochon tour. We hosted it at Farmstead [where I worked then]. And what I liked about those guys was that of all the stuffy chefs who were there, those guys had the most fun, and they were just out to cook good food. They've both been super welcoming to us. And that's most impressive to us. Kevin Willmann's is one of those guys we really appreciate. He's just got a really warm spirit. Never says anything bad about other people.

What's your favorite restaurant elsewhere? There's a place in St. Helena, California, called Cook. It's tiny, 25 seats, but all the pasta is made in house. They're small plates, but so rich and delicious, you leave happy. The wine list is awesome. Also, lots of little spots, delis -- Moochie's in Salt Lake does one of the best Philly cheesesteaks I've had in my life.

With Cheez Whiz? American cheese. [laughs]

Next best thing. What's your favorite food city? I've never been to New York. I would kill to go. A lot of our influences have come from Philadelphia. JoLe [in California where I worked], the chef Matt Spector is from Philadelphia. A bunch of my friends have cooked there. It's hard to pick. San Francisco has everything from dim sum to Korean barbecue to little divey burger bars to all the Michelin-starred places you could want. And you go down and eat all day long and never really feel full.

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