Sidney Street Cafe
St. Louis, MO
As a child, Kevin Nashan spent as much time in the kitchen as he did in the classroom. Born in Chicago and raised in Santa Fe, his family owned La Tertulia, a beloved Northern New Mexican restaurant, for 27 years. Started by his Hispanic grandfather in 1972, Nashan helped out doing everything from washing dishes and working front of house. Upon graduating from St. Louis University, Nashan enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
Following an internship at Commander’s Palace under Chef Jamie Shannon, Nashan immersed himself in French cuisine and practicing impeccable technique under the guidance of celebrated Chef Roland Liccioni at La Francais in Chicago, at the time considered one of the best restaurants in the country. In 1998, Nashan moved far from home to stage at famed three-starred restaurant, Martin Berasategui, which would ultimately make a lasting impression on Nashan and broaden his culinary path.
After close to a year in Europe, Nashan longed to return to the states and accepted a position at Daniel in New York City, where Chef Daniel Boloud’s high expectations pushed him to do things beyond what he thought possible. In 2002, Nashan returned to his adopted hometown of St. Louis with the intentions of opening a restaurant. He learned that the owners of local standby Sidney Street Café were looking to pass the torch after 16 years in business. Kevin loved the beautiful building and decided, along with his wife Mina, to buy the restaurant in 2003.
Nashan seamlessly incorporates his wide variety of culinary experiences and influences in to seasonal, locally-sourced creations. His French training shines through his food in dishes like a play on Bouillabaisse with eel and uni or foie gras with olives and citrus; while his time in Spain shows its lasting impact in soulful sofrito-based dishes and the innumerable cured products in the pantry. The New Mexican cuisine of his childhood is also never far from his mind—posole and aji paired with chilles rellenos are favorites to this day—and his love for Southern cuisine shines through in the form of ingredients like ham hocks, sorghum, and speckled grits. Nashan believes that sourcing locally should be expected, not celebrated, and it doesn’t get much closer to home than the micro greens he grows in the basement or the spring garden occupying 100 yards of the Sidney Street Café parking lot.
Nashan has been a semifinalist for the James Beard Award four times, cooked for President Barack Obama, and competed in Cochon 555. When he’s not in the kitchen, you can find him training for triathlons and ironman competitions (he’s done six!), playing sports, hunting, and being outdoors. He loves enjoying all St. Louis has to offer with his wife Mina and their two sons, Max and Miles.