"He wanted a piece of meat, so I gave him a whole chicken," Cody James Wyatt says. "The next thing I knew, Ted Nugent was inviting me to have lunch at his table."
A decade later, he's still washing rock stars' dishes. But Wyatt, 27, also cooks their meals, as the chef and co-owner of Cool Guy Foods.
"I grew up backstage at concerts," Wyatt says. "I played with David Crosby's kids and stuff. I love music and I love food, and I guess that's where it all started."
We asked a few local candy connoisseurs to remember Halloweens past and tell us about the sweets they coveted (and those they were happy to release back into the wild).
Don't worry, the eggplant fries dripping with Missouri honey are not going off the menu at Remedy Food + Drink at 500 West 75th Street.
"We could never take them off the menu," the pretty server told me. "Almost every table that comes in here orders them."
In fact, very few of former executive chef Max Watson's culinary innovations (Watson left Remedy last April to "do his own thing") are being changed at the Waldo saloon. The owners did, however, give the new chef, Marcheski Hervey the go-ahead to trim the menu, and he has.
"There were too many labor-intensive entrees," says Hervey, who has been cooking professionally in the metro for two decades, most recently at Room 39, "and the kitchen is simply too small for that."
One of the first cuts Hervey made was Watson's fried-chicken dinner. The smoked-bologna sandwich was also eliminated.
Chef Liz Huffman had a gut feeling that a help-wanted post on Craigslist would lead to the right job for her. Huffman's instincts were good. The gig was at the Majestic Restaurant (931 Broadway), and it would start with an unusual task. The Majestic's owner, Frank Sebree, was looking not for an executive chef but for someone who could create a new breakfast and brunch menu. The challenge: The Majestic had never offered breakfast or brunch before.
"Frank told me he was looking for a chef who could be very creative, with a more diverse culinary background," Huffman says. It's working out just fine. She has been with the Majestic for two years, and Sebree just promoted her to the executive chef position. (Jim Nelson, the longtime executive chef at the Majestic, is taking a sabbatical from the industry, Sebree tells me.)
Huffman is also taking on executive chef duties at Sebree's new bakery-restaurant concept, Baked in Kansas City - it's scheduled to open this fall in the former Napoleon Bakery location in Westport and will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. Huffman can't say much yet about her plans for that location ("I'm working on a lot of different ideas right now," she says), but she still likes a challenge. Even as she formulates a plan for Baked, she's putting up a new menu at the Majestic in September.
Liz Huffman, the former head chef at the Blue Bird Bistro from 2002 to 2007, joined the culinary staff of the Majestic Restaurant two years ago. Today, owner Frank Sebree announced that Huffman will become that restaurant's executive chef on August 15, replacing longtime executive chef Jim Nelson.
"Jim is taking a break from cooking for a while," Sebree said.
Huffman will also be the executive chef for the new bakery and restaurant, Baked in Kansas City, that Sebree is opening in the former Napoleon Bakery location at 706 Westport Road. "Liz will be involved in the culinary development of both locations," said Sebree, who plans to open the Westport venue in mid-September.
Huffman, who helmed the Majestic's brunch menu, will be making some changes to the Majestic Restaurant menu, Sebree acknowledges, but will continue to focus on the restaurant's core menu items - steaks, chops and seafood - with assistance from sous chef Steve Frink.
Brian Bromwell is hoping that 4 will be his lucky number.
He is, after all, the fourth executive chef to oversee the kitchen at Anton's Taproom & Restaurant since it opened 10 months ago. But if that turnover sounds a bit dramatic, Bromwell is philosophical. He knows that owner Anton Kotar has a reason for everything he does. And he's finding the gig to be a fitness booster. Since he joined the staff at Anton's two months ago, Bromwell has lost 20 pounds.
"It is a very physical job," Bromwell says, "and I'm working a lot harder than I ever have before."
Kotar, a larger-than-life personality with a snappish temper, knows what he wants and expects his staff to meet his expectations. When a previous chef failed to deliver a couple of promised additions to the menu, Kotar all but swept him out the front door.
Andrew Zimmern - the food host, writer and well-traveled eater - has a Q&A with Garrelts that covers his new restaurant, what's in his fridge and where he likes to eat. Miller High Life makes a cameo as does Novel, the new restaurant from Ryan Brazeal (you can read Charles Ferruzza's interview with him here), slated to open July 9 on the West Side.
Chelsea Williams is performing again.
You can see her most days at the Opera House Food & Coffee Emporium at 500 Walnut, in the building that's still called the Gillis Opera House, even though it clearly isn't a theater of any kind. The real Gillis Opera House - one of this town's most luxuriously appointed theaters in 1883 - burned down in 1925, but a stipulation in Mary Troost's will requires that any building on the property, which she had donated to the city, must include some kind of stage. (There is one in the current building, but you'd be hard-pressed to find it.)
Williams has been one of Kansas City's most popular pastry chefs for years, and at the seven-month-old Opera House Food & Coffee Emporium, she's the resident baker, making her scones, cookies and granola-style "Star bars" in an exhibition-style space ("It's sort of like a greenhouse," she says) that gives her much more personal interaction with her customers than she's ever had before.
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