This is part two of Chrissy Wilmes' Chef's Choice profile of Jeff Robtoy of the Bleeding Deacon Public House (4123 Chippewa Street; 314-772-1813) in south St. Louis. To read part one, click here. Part three, a recipe from Robtoy, can be found here.
Did your family cook when you were a child? My family had a garden growing up, so not only did we do a lot of cooking at home, we used homegrown produce as much as possible.
How old were you when you started cooking? I remember cooking for my brother when I was about twelve.
First cooking job? Cardinal Carberry Senior Living Apartments, when I was fifteen.
Did you attend culinary school or college? I received a Bachelor of Studio Arts degree from Southern Illinois University.
What do you eat? Anything that tastes good!
What do you cook at home? I use my kitchen at home to experiment for potential ideas at the Deacon, so pretty much anything that interests me. I made saltines one time, just to see how to do it. Last night I made pesto-stuffed turkey breast with an orange-marmalade glaze, braised mushrooms and Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and leek mashed potatoes.
The local chef who most impresses you? Chef Marc Del Pietro of Luciano's.
Your favorite restaurant elsewhere? The O, Pittsburgh.
Your favorite food city? New York.
Favorite recent food find? When you take a nest of rice-stick noodles and flash-fry it, it makes a really cool texture and tastes good!.
Most essential ingredient in your kitchen? Salt.
Favorite local food find, and where do you get it? I love fresh morels, I'm not exactly sure where to find them myself.
Five words to describe your food. Eclectic, comforting, surprising, traditional, tasty.
One food you dislike. Fast food.
A food you can't live without. Mushrooms.
An ingredient never allowed in your kitchen. Pretty much anything can be allowed if it fits the concept or dish.
Culinarily speaking, St. Louis needs more... Daring menu items and risky chefs.
Best tip for home cooks? Stay positive!