Meet the creators of Sprouted Radish Supper Club

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End

I first met Katie Yun and Sachi Nagase, above, last October 29 as they effortlessly danced around each other putting finishing touches on a 10-course pop-up dinner in the tiny kitchen at TechArtista. That was also the night of the CWE’s Halloween bash, so I was not able to stay for the dining experience (which had sold out well in advance), nor could I expect that the enterprising W. U. seniors would be able to interrupt their preparations to answer questions about their business, Sprouted Radish Supper Club.

Here’s what I learned in a subsequent interview: “For the past year we were preparing dinners for friends, but we had a desire to reach a larger community. We were seeing private dining clubs on (W.U.) campus and thought it was ridiculous that these events were so exclusive. Since eating is communal, we wanted to create an inclusive experience and bring people together.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End

They were assisted at last fall’s event for 35 guests – the largest they had ever hosted – by friends and fellow classmates who helped set the tables and serve. Relatives offered to do whatever they could.  Katie’s mother flew in from Pasadena, CA, and Sachi’s parents and sister drove in from her hometown of Normal, IL, “We’re so lucky to have parents who fully support us.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End

Before winter break I was invited to stop by Sachi and Katie’s house near the W.U. campus as they were preparing for a supper club event they were hosting later that evening. While there I met their newest member, W.U. sophomore Elena Downs, left, who has worked in professional kitchens in her hometown of San Francisco.

What drew you to the culinary field? Sachi: “My parents both love to cook and so I was always surrounded by good food growing up. My mom loved baking sweets every holiday and so my sister and I would help. As my own interest in food grew, I started reading cookbooks and watching cooking videos to learn more. Some of my closest friendships have strengthened through the kitchen and cooking experiences. I think I realized from a young age the potential of food to connect people.”

Katie: “Neither my mother or father cooked very often. Instead, I had a Korean nanny, Mrs. Huh, who would cook for my sisters and me as we were growing up. She only knew how to cook Korean food so feeding us was a way of telling us she loved us. We didn’t know how to speak Korean well, but I learned that a meal was a tool for translation, which is why the idea of feeding others is extremely personal to me. I also wanted to better my relationship with food because I had an eating disorder earlier in life. Food is a way of healing as well.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End

Sprouted Radish Supper Club hosts a dinner once a month. They invite 8 guests chosen by lottery from those who “like” their Facebook page.  When I expressed surprise at how little they charge, $12 to $16 per person, Katie said they realized many students have never had a “fine dining” experience, which is why they decided to keep their dinners affordable. Obviously this is a labor of love, not a money-making venture.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End

The surprise dish (each dinner includes an item not listed on the menu) of supper club iv was crostini topped with ricotta, mushroom duxelle, herb salad, and a smoked paprika aioli (photo courtesy of Jun Lee).

How do you plan the menu? “We start by thinking about dishes that we have never made but want to try, and build dishes from there. Creating the menu is a collaborative effort. We come from different backgrounds which automatically feeds what we want to cook. We’re making food that means a lot to us and reflects our experiences.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End

Jun Lee’s photo shows communal dishes, an assortment of Korean banchan, that was served at the last supper club.

Where do you find  your ingredients? “We get our ingredients from various grocery stores as well as Soulard Farmer’s Market. We hope to source from more farmer’s markets in the future and are currently in contact with Burning Kumquat, W. U.’s student-run urban garden to see if we can establish a relationship to source ingredients for future events. One of our favorite stores is Seafood City on Olive Street.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End

Sous-vide pork tenderloin, roasted apple and onion gastrique, wasabi carrots, and fried lentils was also featured at that dinner. You can find more of Jun Lee’s photography of Sprouted Radish Supper Club events on Facebook here.

How do you balance preparing the dinners with your busy class schedule? “We usually start a supper club day around 9 a.m. and finish around 11 p.m. We plan the menu a week in advance and pick up the groceries a couple of days before, but if we have a class deadline we will wind up shopping the night before. The more we host the dinners we find we’re getting better at managing our time, so we can pull it off without too much stress.”

Learn more about future Sprouted Radish Supper Club events on their Facebook page.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Education Food and Drink  Washington University TechArtista supper clubs St. Louis Sprouted Radish Supper Club Sachi's Cakes Sachi Nagase MO Katie Yun Central West End

 

When I walked into the house for the interview last December, the most gorgeous cake was sitting on the dining room table ready to be delivered to a client. I had no idea that Sachi’s talents extended to cake-baking extraordinaire. Her creations start at $45 and serve 10 t0 12 people. She’s booked ’til the end of February. Email her at sachiscakes@gmail.com or contact her through her Facebook page for more information.

Thanks to Eric Hamblett and Christopher Holt at TechArtista for introducing me to these talented young women. I am so grateful that they agreed to let me stop by on a busy afternoon for an interview. Cooking is a passion of mine, so to learn about these fearless cooks who share their love of food with others is really inspirational.

Di Olivas opens in the CWE

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

Earlier this week Robert Palleja, proprietor of Di Olivas, an Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Emporium, opened his third location in the St. Louis area at 115 N. Euclid. His other shops are located in West County Center and on Historic Main Street in St. Charles. Palleja had been looking for a storefront in the CWE for a couple of years and early last November, after returning from an olive oil harvest in Cortona, Italy, he settled on an 1800 s.f. location next to Subway and across from Whole Foods.

The shop is stunning and a fabulous addition to the retail mix of the neighborhood. The photo above shows from left, sales associate Melanie Corwin, proprietor Robert Palleja in white shirt, and far right, store manager Codey Shaffer.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

Di Olivas stocks approximately 2 dozen extra-virgin olive oils from Italy, Spain, Greece, Sicily, Portugal, Argentina and Australia. I learned that olives are harvested in October & November in the Northern Hemisphere, and in March and April in the Southern Hemisphere.

“Conventional wisdom is that well-made, well-stored olive oil with good chemistry can be used for anything you want, ” Palleja said. “Inferior oils cannot stand up to heat, so always buy the best olive oil you can afford.” Olive oils start at $13.99 for 200 ml up to $37.99 and more for a 750 ml bottle.

When I looked at the array of choices, I quickly became a bit overwhelmed. Happily, I found manager Codey Shaffer to be tremendously helpful and settled on the Olio Nuovo from Tuscany. It has a wonderful buttery flavor that’s really delicious.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

There is also a selection of nut oils – avocado, sesame, walnut and almond – that range from $13.99 to $14.99 for 200 ml.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

Another section of the shop is devoted to balsamic vinegars. There are approximately 2 dozen to sample, $13.99 to $37.99. I tried a delicious, syrupy 25 Star Premium Balsamic Vinegar, $15.99 for 200 ml, made by a 3rd generation Italian family who started production in 1889. Other vinegar flavors include Red Raspberry, California Fig, Double-Dark Chocolate, and Amaretto. Di Olivas carries 3 honey balsamic vinegars from Washington State as well.

Bottles can be returned clean and dry for a discount on your next purchase.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

An interesting selection of jams and mustards are $6 to $9.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

Left: An “a fusti,” a ceramic container for olive oil, hand-thrown by a craftsman in Deruta, Italy is exclusive to Di Olivas, $249.99.  Bottom left: Private label pasta sauces, including “the best sauce in the history of pizza sauce,” according to manager Codey Shaffer (he got the recipe from The Brick Oven when he was a chef there). The sauces range from $4.99 to $6.99. Right: There is also an assortment of kitchen gadgets, such as cheese graters, at the front of the shop.

I was delighted to learn that Palleja plans to build out a kitchen area at the back of the shop where Di Olivas will host cooking classes. A Grand Opening is planned for the weekend of March 4 and 5. Look for live food demonstrations, olive oil and vinegar give-aways and discounts on purchases over $30.

Di Olivas, 115 N. Euclid, Mon. thru Thurs. 10 to 7, Fri. & Sat. 10 to 8 and Sun. 11 to 6, (314) 367-OILS.

A CWE Valentine’s Gift Guide – Part II

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A Chocolate Trio with a crisp heart-shaped waffle at jeni’s, 389 N. Euclid, may send you into a swoon, but isn’t that what Valentine Day’s all about? The selection features scoops of Darkest Chocolate, Milkiest Chocolate and Roxbury Road, $6.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza

Josh Castleberry at Q Boutique at The World Chess Hall of Fame, 4652 Maryland Ave., pulled together some clever Valentine ideas. From top left: xoxo dish, $13; red-beaded necklace with elephant charm that doubles as a bracelet, $15; Zenzii beaded multi-chain necklace, $99; Love Sonnets by William Shakespeare & “fill in the blank,” $15, & What I Love About, another “fill in the blank” book, $11; 20 Vouchers for Lovers, $9; Quotable card, $3.50; World Chess Hall of Fame Kakao Chocolate Chess Pieces, $15.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza

At East + West Brian Simpson suggested gifting leather goods from Portland-based Tanner Goods. Card cases, wallets, valet trays (not shown) and passport holders, far right, $60 to $120. The scent of the Blind Barber candle, $32, made in Brooklyn, is reminiscent of a barber shop.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza

Left: CWEnder artist Sarah Doriani creates handsome all-occasion and Valentine’s cards, $5. Right: Proprietor Simpson describes Chance, above, as “off the wall” at home but mellow as can be in the shop, located at 387 N. Euclid.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza

Chris Lanter, proprietor of 10denza, 44 Maryland Plaza, suggested presenting your Valentine with a Daniel Wellington watch, $175 to $249. Or right: a simply beautiful necklace by St. Louis designer Salma Dena featuring an 18 carat gold charm on perodite and gold chain, $98.

Check out the Winter Sale at 10denza, men’s & women’s apparel & shoes are 50 to 75% off.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza

The staff at AG Jeans, 36 Maryland Plaza, commented that Valentine’s Day and their new spring colors make a perfect match. From left: Noah cotton cashmere turtleneck in wine, $168; biker jacket in cotton, modal, polyester & elastine has a “fun edge,” $355; and blush prima crop skinny jeans are $178.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza   Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame St. Louis Q Boutique MO jeni's East + West Central West End AG Jeans 10denza

From left: Men’s Highland Tech jacket is 100% polyester and 100% wind- and water-proof, $298; slim white khaki pant is 98% cotton & 2% elastine, $168.  Slanted pockets make them, I was told, “dressy enough for the golf course.”

With appreciation to the proprietors of CWE shops for their assistance in assembling this post.

Have a wonderful weekend and a lovely Valentine’s Day.