By Alive Magazine
Kevin Nashan, head chef and owner of Sidney Street and Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co in St. Louis, has more than a few of things on his mind this spring. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll limit it to two, beginning with fresh white asparagus from a family farm in Red Bud, Illinois. The other is the James Beard Awards Gala on May 1 in Chicago, where the three-time finalist is up against five other nominees to bring home top honors in the “Best Chef: Midwest” category. However, it’s the vegetables that really have him talking.
“I’m super excited about asparagus—especially white asparagus,” says Nashan. “Our local stuff is coming from the Ross family. They’re one of the last families in the Midwest that grow white asparagus. A good chef friend of mine, Josh Galliano [of Companion] connected me to them a long time ago. Now, after several years, I think of that as the beginning of spring, when I go see them and get the white asparagus. It’s very near and dear to me.”
He calls the James Beard award nomination “good and crazy all at the same time,” but acknowledges the team effort behind him. “I’m grateful that our team gets that recognition. It’s not just me—I have a lot of people who have been working for me for a long time. But it’s a mixed-emotion thing. You’re happy, but it’s nerve-wracking too, because you don’t know the outcome.” Besides, busy restaurants don’t run themselves. “You try not to think about it—just keep your head down and keep working.”