Transcript for episode 412 Tapping into Fresh & Seasonal Cooking: A Convo with Zane Dearien
Interview is 42:44 long
Janice Person [00:00:02]:
Food is more than just what’s on our plate. It’s the places where it’s grown. It’s the people who grow it, and so much more. Join me, Janice Person, your host on Grounded by the Farm every other week as we talk about the foods we love. Hey, everybody, this is Janice, and we’re in St. Louis again. I love doing shows locally. I sometimes have problems connecting them directly to farming. So, you know, I get creative. Today we are at a place that I don’t know how many St. Louisans knew about. It’s in the central west end. It’s called Bowood, and it is a strange property, I gotta say. It’s not very many places like this in this part of the world. Maybe out west, I don’t know. But we’re going to be talking to Zane Darren, and Zane is the executive chef here at Bowood by Niche. Bowood and Bowood by Niche are two separate things intertwined in weird ways. So he’s the executive chef. We’re going to be talking all about food and fresh and seasonal and all those great things. So why don’t we explain why I say Bowood and Bowood by Niche is a strange experience compared to most restaurants or most garden centers.
Zane Dearien [00:01:16]:
Yeah, I would say probably a little bit of both. So here we have Bowood by Niche within Bowood nursery. I think Gerard acquired it in 2020 when it used to be Cafe Osage. So the parents of the current owners, or the dad of the current owners now had a little cafe in here and all that jazz. But now we’ve acquired it, and it’s Bowood by Niche. We are located inside of a nursery. We have the inside kitchen and restaurant. You dine inside of the greenhouse where you buy plants and all that stuff. And now we have this beautiful outdoor patio that’s literally inside of the nursery of the outer walls where you’re amongst the birds, the bees, the flies, the plants, the gravel, the smells, the textures.
Janice Person [00:02:00]:
People are going to want to watch the video, I’m going to tell you.
Zane Dearien [00:02:02]:
Yeah, it’s absolutely wild. One of the driving forces of me moving up to St. Louis to continue my working with Gerard and Niche food group was to work at this location. Yeah, so it’s a unique spot once you’re in these four walls. Honestly, I don’t think that I’m in, you know, I compare it to more like an Italian villa or the French countryside or something like that. It doesn’t feel like you’re in the middle of a major city more or less inside of, I don’t know, a restaurant at all, to be honest with you, in the best way possible.
Janice Person [00:02:34]:
Yeah. A chef who doesn’t want to work in a restaurant, it’s an interesting dilemma. So let me provide a little background on my view of Gerard and the Niche group, because I’ve really seen it grow from what was like, one restaurant. I remember Niche in Benton Park it was a pretty high end restaurant. I would say he was still relatively undiscovered. He’s now won multiple James Beard Awards. Like, it seems unbelievable how often he’s in it. And he has an incredible group of people that are all together working on different specific things. Here in St. Louis. Is it six, eight restaurants? Eight.
Zane Dearien [00:03:14]:
I think he’s at eight. Probably going on a little more.
Janice Person [00:03:16]:
Yeah, yeah. And each of them are very accessible to regular people. Niche has lived through its lifespan as a restaurant. It might come. Was there’s a couple of dishes I’ll put on the list? If we get know at some point, Gerard, call me. But really, it is one of those amazing things where the right chef found the right city, and he’s found ways to grow that very much fit this area and also grow our culinary scene significantly. Is that what you’ve seen?
Zane Dearien [00:03:49]:
Janice Person [00:03:50]:
Zane Dearien [00:03:51]:
Janice Person [00:03:51]:
All right, so tell me, how did you get started in food? Like, your early beginnings? What made you think, I really love food. This is a place for me. This is the way I like to engage with food or whatever it is.
Zane Dearien [00:04:04]:
So for me, like, the beginning parts of what drives me to want to be in the culinary industry or hospitality would definitely stem from my immediate family. So my mom’s side of the family is Italian. So this little town called Tiny Town in Northwest Arkansas, right outside of Springdale in Bentonville, Arkansas, that most people know now, or Fayetteville. It was all about, like, on the weekends gathering. So our family was 30, 35 people with the cousins. Everybody included. A lot of weekends where we would spend out there on the farm.
Janice Person [00:04:35]:
Zane Dearien [00:04:36]:
Yeah, at Bobby is what we call her. Grandma sent out there cooking all day long. We would usually start the day before. So the pasta or the polenta, whatever gravy or red sauce we were making.
Janice Person [00:04:47]:
Glad you’re calling it.
Zane Dearien [00:04:49]:
Absolutely. So, you know, if it was the squirrels that we hunted, the rabbit, or if it was beef or chicken, whatever we had laying around that we could make into it is what we did. But the camaraderie and the loudness of everybody there, the energy that you felt as soon as you showed up was astronomical. And it was something that I always looked forward to as a kid and something that, as I got older and as the family grew, we stopped doing a lot of and we missed a lot of it. I started missing that. And so growing up and then starting to think about what I was going to do the rest of my life, it kind of was like, I had to sit and think, what do I want to do? What makes me happy? And all the time, every single time every thought ended well, I was always happiest at these moments. So lead myself to here. Like, how do I get those.
Janice Person [00:05:34]:
How do I get can you make that happen on a weekly basis?
Zane Dearien [00:05:37]:
Yes. And so it was being a chef, didn’t know that’s what I wanted to do. I for sure couldn’t boil water before I started cooking. Kraft macaroni cheese was the pinnacle of my culinary existence. Before culinary school. Besides stirring the pot of polenta or.
Janice Person [00:05:52]:
The gravy and anything somebody else had cooked, you could stir it.
Zane Dearien [00:05:55]:
Oh, I could nail that. Yeah. I was the stirrer in the family. You give me a big pot of polenta, I’d stir that sucker for 8 hours nonstop if I had to. Yeah. Became mechanical.
Janice Person [00:06:04]:
The reward of the polenta meant you could stir.
Zane Dearien [00:06:07]:
Exactly. So I knew I got to eat it at the other end of the tunnel. And the homemade ice cream machines. I was the guy that had to sit there and crank it.
Janice Person [00:06:13]:
Zane Dearien [00:06:14]:
I was just a little workhorse. That’s okay.
Janice Person [00:06:16]:
Yeah. So one of the things that really surprised me, you said you went and were fishing for the summer in Alaska when you were a teenager.
Zane Dearien [00:06:23]:
Yes. So as a birthday gift, one of my dad’s business partners, Howard Sanders, he went up there in the 70s, acquired property, fishing rights and all that stuff that he had to do. So growing up, he always told me or my dad, hey, when Zane turns 16, I’m going to take him up here that summer. We’re going to get him a license, we’re going to get him the permit, all that stuff, set him up, and he’s going to go. He passed right before that summer, but his son Brian took me up there, and it was instant love. Right. Hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Scariest thing for my mother to let her 16 year old go up to Alaska and start fishing with some grown men in stranger things. Nobody goes to Alaska because we’ve watched the deadliest. Yeah, it’s full of some unwanted people. But it was awesome. It was a life experience. So that kind of set in stone, like what it meant to be a part of food greater than the grocery store.
Janice Person [00:07:20]:
Zane Dearien [00:07:21]:
That started my love and my affection for farming, food production, production as a whole. What does it mean? Because it’s easy to go to a store and buy something in a plastic wrapper, open it and not know where it came from. Not even know that it has a head, that it has gills that had a heartbeat or whatever you’re into. It was in soil and it had roots, all that stuff. Like, I didn’t understand that growing up because I just knew it was around. Right, right. But knowing that the hard work and the lives, the danger, the amount of money, the effort that people put into this stuff was a reward for me to understand what that meant to bring the food to the table. And that was kind of like the first stepping stone of my career.
Janice Person [00:08:00]:
I mean, it’s hard work.
Zane Dearien [00:08:02]:
Oh, absolutely. Staying up for four or five, six days at a time, no sleep. You’re out there in big waves. You’re out there getting chased down by grizzlies. That did happen one time. Unreal stuff. Like, you can’t write a book about it. You see the deadliest sketch. That’s pretty spot on. It is not for the weary, it’s not for the faint heart. But it’s one of those things once you commit to it, you have to do it. If not, you’re going to be eaten up by something. If it’s your people on the boat with you, a bear, whatever, like, something’s going to happen and it ain’t going to be good. Mom’s going to be upset.
Janice Person [00:08:30]:
You carry your weight.
Zane Dearien [00:08:31]:
Yeah, exactly. Absolutely.
Janice Person [00:08:33]:
I love it. So your culinary tour got out of, like, a quick version. We don’t have to go in detail, but what are some of the things after you finally went to culinary school, you finally figured, maybe this is it?
Zane Dearien [00:08:47]:
Yeah. So culinary school in Seattle kind of solidified. All right, this is the no going back now. You spent some money on it.
Janice Person [00:08:53]:
You spent time you bought the right knives.
Zane Dearien [00:08:55]:
Yeah, that was all things I learned. But what I realized after that was like, all right, I wanted to do Live Fire. I wanted to do something that involved Live Fire cooking like a caveman, Renaissance esque, because I believe in working with your hands to quiet your mind kind of thing. And then what also was important was, to be honest, was the farming. Like, where is my food coming from that I’m about to feed people, even from a line cook? Although I wasn’t in charge of the menu, I wasn’t in charge of anything besides my station. It was very important to know what was being on my station and where we’re getting it from. Do I cut it the right way? Do I make sure that I’m not serving something that’s old or expired or making sure that we’re using the product before it gets to that point, so that way the time is not lost on these farmers? Yeah, we paid for the product. It’s ours now.
Janice Person [00:09:41]:
They don’t have to worry about it.
Zane Dearien [00:09:42]:
But it’s also, like, treating with respect to what they do. It was important for me to find those restaurants. So that would be the Hive in Bentonville at 21 C. Gray and Dudley at 21 C in Nashville. Husk Nashville for Sean Brock and then finally to now, I think, is my last hurrah with the restaurant group before I open something on my own. Who knows? But I hope it lasts for a lot longer is what Gerard crafted. Niche food group, honestly, is the pinnacle of that. Bringing proof is in. The pudding here in St. Louis wasn’t on the map, but he knew that there was something here. He knew that the food was here. He knew the farming was here. He just had to get people excited about it. And to see somebody do that is like, what I want to do with my story in my life. So what better way to learn than from him?
Janice Person [00:10:27]:
So the next step after Bowood, you think, or somewhere else in the niche group, maybe you’re going to open something yourself. You have that vision already.
Zane Dearien [00:10:37]:
The plan and the motions are there. As far as my thinking process, writing down this stuff, taking all the goods and bads I’ve learned from all the restaurants know it’d be amazing if Gerard is a part of it, but that’s not always the case. He has his own plan and his own things, and I hope I’m around to see a lot of his plans through and help him succeed, because it’s amazing to see. But, yeah, I definitely have something in mind and I would love for it to be in Arkansas back home with my family so they can kind of reap the rewards of my hard work and see what’s going on and be a part of that farming.
Janice Person [00:11:11]:
Do that Sunday dinner again?
Zane Dearien [00:11:13]:
Yeah, absolutely. Bring that.
Janice Person [00:11:15]:
That’s a pretty cool idea.
Zane Dearien [00:11:16]:
Share that love and that feeling you get smelling the food and hearing all the loud conversation going on.
Janice Person [00:11:22]:
Yeah, I love it. I love it. So help me understand how you connect the food production side and stuff here at Bowood.
Zane Dearien [00:11:30]:
The connection as far as, like, food and what we do is on a weekly basis, talking to our farmers that we have access to that are growing things for us, making sure that so right now, we’re using, like farmstead and eat here and a few other farms that we have single handed growing, like okra and peppers for continuing the conversations with them so that they aren’t growing things that nobody’s using. They’re growing stuff that we need. We use Black Hawk Farms out of Kentucky for our beef solely. They’re black angus and a five American wagyu. Only ones in the country doing that. So we have access to that, understanding what cuts they’re available, like making sure we’re using that just overall the availability and doing what’s in season for the farmers and not going out of their realm.
Janice Person [00:12:19]:
Zane Dearien [00:12:19]:
So the seasonality, like, if they’re not able to grow tomatoes, then we’re not using tomatoes. If they’re growing really gorgeous. Okra.
Janice Person [00:12:25]:
We’re going to find a way to use it.
Zane Dearien [00:12:27]:
Yeah, it’s understanding where they’re at and what’s best for them and their land and then being able to translate that into our menu. And so far it seemed to be going over very well.
Janice Person [00:12:37]:
So does that sometimes get complicated, though, because summers don’t always go as expected. Right. Like weather and people can’t get anything planted.
Zane Dearien [00:12:47]:
Yeah. So, I mean, this past year, this is my first, basically farming season in the Midwest. We had the drought, we had a bit of a flooding so the crops were very high and low, high and low, high and low. So the consistency factors always is the main factor. What are we going to be able to get on a consistent basis? Because that is the goal at the end of the day in a restaurant, is consistency. And I believe that to be true with farming as well. They’re trying to grow the most consistent crops day after day and harvest week after week. So that being flexible in that it’s like if their harvest isn’t great at that point. All right, where are we going outside of them to subsidize some of the product that we’re getting? Because you don’t necessarily want to turn your menu over every single day, as awesome as that sounds, because you may not have the guest return or you may not have the satisfaction every day.
Janice Person [00:13:41]:
The consistency, doing a seasonal menu, what all goes into that then?
Zane Dearien [00:13:46]:
Seasonality is well, I mean, obviously within certain month periods of growing seasons, it goes into discussion with the farmers. So what we’re doing now, we’re not really talking about now. We’re talking about what are they about to start growing and harvesting in November?
Janice Person [00:14:00]:
You’re talking to people like me on social media about what you’re doing now.
Zane Dearien [00:14:04]:
Honestly, it’s a team effort. It’s not just the farmers. It’s like, what are you experiencing out there in the real world? What is the next person experience? Who are they visiting? Who are they talking to? So it’s about a group collective conversation about where we’re at, how do we get there? Constant revolving door of ingredients, but making sure. So say if we’re having trout on the dish, what’s the next step versus what our trout set is now? How do we incorporate the same farmers and what they’re going to go to next? How do we stay relevant in that?
Janice Person [00:14:36]:
I have to tell you, the tomato season was blowing up at Bowood yes. This year.
Zane Dearien [00:14:41]:
Yeah, it did. It came in hard and it came in fast. I think one of the biggest takeaways was most people had never had a tomato sandwich up here, which blew my.
Janice Person [00:14:50]:
Mind, which is so weird to me.
Zane Dearien [00:14:52]:
Right. Just plain brioche, white bread, dukes, mayonnaise, tomatoes, salt and pepper, and you’re done. And it literally took it west end by storm. And I liked it getting a little.
Janice Person [00:15:03]:
Southern in the house. Right. Far from south.
Zane Dearien [00:15:07]:
No, it’s not. We’re just very minuscule taken away from it. But, yeah, it was great to see and just the simplicity of that. Right. So the farmers growing a really great tomato, putting all the effort into the seeds that they are planting, the variety of their planting, where it’s planted, what’s growing next to it, taking that and putting it on a plate with nothing more than some maldon salt, vinegar and oil. And the herbs that we’re growing here at the nursery or at the restaurant, that’s all we’re doing. To it. It’s nothing crazy, but it’s taking what people at the perfect time, at the perfect place and putting it in the perfect moment for people to enjoy. It’s easy to overcomplicate things, but it’s very hard to keep things simple and delicious.
Janice Person [00:15:54]:
So when you bring something in seasonally, how long does the season usually like? Is there a typical two?
Zane Dearien [00:16:06]:
That would be a good that would be nice. Yeah, that would be niche. But it’s wild up here. The tomato season that happens in the Midwest is much longer and later than it is in the south. Like the south, you get about June, July, and that’s about it here.
Janice Person [00:16:21]:
Then it’s too hot.
Zane Dearien [00:16:22]:
Yeah. And all of a sudden up here, it’s like we had them in June and we still have them. Which has faded off our menu now because we’re coming into later part of the season. But like, for peaches up here, peaches down there were a lot earlier, but they’re a lot later up here. But the window up here was very short for peaches because we had the cold, the wind, the rain, the hail, and it destroyed the crop. So now you build this peach waffle, the peach desserts, all these things with peaches on it, peach vinegars, peach panzanella. Like, you’re planting all these things around.
Janice Person [00:16:54]:
Zane Dearien [00:16:54]:
Yeah. And then it’s like, all right, a storm comes through. Hail damage. All right, now what are we doing? Instead of know that was a short window. Now we’re into plums and stone like nectarines, and now we’re already on the butt end of that. So now we’re thinking about apples. Apples. Right now we just got a good load of Gala apples. Jonathan apples from Eckerts and then Farmstead Foods next across the river. Squash, fall squash. We’re getting in the Cinderellas delicatas. Butternut, acorn, all those sweet sugary, roastable, pureeable, raw applications that you can have with that. That’s where we’re headed to. Now, plums grapes are still we have a few weeks left of grapes. Purple seedless grapes.
Janice Person [00:17:35]:
Yeah. So people who’ve never been to this restaurant, what are some of the kinds of offerings you guys have? I mean, I can tell you what I eat here, but I think the.
Zane Dearien [00:17:47]:
Biggest surprise and the most welcoming thing that we do is our variety of vegetarian and vegan options. I am a Southern guy at heart, born and raised. Will cook the crap out of chicken, pigs and all.
Janice Person [00:18:01]:
I could see you eating some bacon.
Zane Dearien [00:18:03]:
Yeah, like all that. I love that. I adore it. But the idea of we’re in the middle of flowers and plants and all these things that you can buy. So to take that aspect of things and put it onto the menu in vegetable form has been the greatest accomplishment.
Janice Person [00:18:20]:
Not every meal has to be meat centered.
Zane Dearien [00:18:22]:
No, absolutely not. Right now, one of our biggest sellers and people that are excited about is our vegan cauliflower entree at night. It’s just a simple white bean hummus, a whole half a head of cauliflower that’s been roasted in African spices topped with pickled raisins, salsa verde, and some fried chickpeas. It’s meaty, it’s vegetarian, it’s vegan, it hits all the spots. It’s spicy.
Janice Person [00:18:46]:
I was going to say it’s got good flavor to it.
Zane Dearien [00:18:48]:
Yeah. So things like that that we operate on and do on a daily basis is kind of like the surprise factor, I think, here, because you can go anywhere right now and get a steak. You can go anywhere and get a chicken breast. You can go anywhere and get this stuff, but you can’t go everywhere and get a good vegan or vegetarian dish.
Janice Person [00:19:05]:
That’S completely you have a few things on the menu. Folks could get other places. So if somebody’s not as food adventurous, they could certainly find things. Like today, I just had a burger because I was really hungry and I needed the meat. I think I needed red meat, maybe.
Zane Dearien [00:19:21]:
Janice Person [00:19:21]:
Because something just really stung me on it.
Zane Dearien [00:19:24]:
It’s not an overly done burger either.
Janice Person [00:19:26]:
It’s really well, it’s put together just with the right proportions of things. But I think it is this great mixture of things. So it can pull you out of your food comfort zone if you’re willing to go.
Zane Dearien [00:19:40]:
Yeah, absolutely. That’s one thing that we talked about with the chef team here and with Gerard. It’s like, what can we build that is people that they know that they are safe with, that they are welcome. All right, I can go there, I can get a chicken breast, and I know it’s going to be good every time, but if I’m feeling adventurous, they have those options.
Janice Person [00:20:03]:
The brunch menu really gets exciting.
Zane Dearien [00:20:06]:
Oh, it is. It’s one of the things that we’ve kind of toned back a little bit on to focus on the consistency part of things. But we’ve hit our stride, and I think that with fall coming up, we’re going to have a lot of fun new additions to the menu. Yeah, that’s another thing. Like, you can get cacho, pepe eggs, scrambled eggs with some black pepper pecorino. Great every time. But then you have this overly gluttonous Joe Beef esque French bread pudding or French toast style bread pudding that you can’t I mean, it’s almost two pounds in itself. Mountain of whipped cream, beautiful Canadian maple syrup. It’s gluttony to the tea. And then you have something as delicate as a local trout riet with some ritz crackers and a lemon or a good killed lettuce. We’re hitting all the marks of the hey, I want to be rambunctious and live life to its fullest. And you get the French toast, the pancakes, the waffles, or you’re like, hey, I’m just feeling low key and dainty, and I just want to have a few scrambled eggs and some salad. Like all that stuff you can do here. And we do it well. We’re happy about it and everything. We’re still sourcing. All that stuff local too. You eating here or us cooking this food is ultimately putting the money back into the ecosystem and the economy for the farms and stuff here, which is that is important. That is what we’re about.
Janice Person [00:21:26]:
Zane Dearien [00:21:26]:
Without them, we don’t have a good restaurant.
Janice Person [00:21:28]:
Right. So how would you determine a new like, if you needed something new, how would you find the right farmer for it?
Zane Dearien [00:21:40]:
Well, there’s a lot of ways. A people like yourself yeah, well, I mean, honestly, that’s an easy way to start.
Janice Person [00:21:45]:
Right. I can get you to low down on some horseradish across the river all day long. All day long. Right.
Zane Dearien [00:21:51]:
But not oddly enough. I think something that most people don’t understand is that farmers are a close knit community. Even though they’re competing against one another, they’re also right there next to each other to help each other out. So if I need a specific pepper, like, I’m just thinking of something random, a specific pepper grown. And I know that the farmer that I use grows, like, bell peppers, banana peppers, Anaheims, but I’m wanting something off kilt. But he may not have the space in his farm or his mix or that particular varietal might need to take something else that they don’t have, but they know a farmer down the road that can do it that’s also looking for something to plant.
Janice Person [00:22:28]:
Zane Dearien [00:22:29]:
So it’s like that kind of availability and knowledge that they carry. And honestly, nowadays with social media, you throw something out there, people are willing to give you their opinion on things. Yeah, exactly. So the information is there at your fingertips. You just got to know how to find it. But the best way is to start, like start with the farmers.
Janice Person [00:22:49]:
The network that you currently have, the.
Zane Dearien [00:22:51]:
Local farmers market, Tower Grove is I live over there by that going are there. All that information is there. It’s just you got to ask.
Janice Person [00:22:58]:
Zane Dearien [00:22:58]:
And they’re willing to do it, especially if it gets them in the community, in the spotlight, because their publicity helps us.
Janice Person [00:23:06]:
So do you feature the farmers on the menu sometimes?
Zane Dearien [00:23:09]:
Yeah, absolutely. That’s something that we do, looking around.
Janice Person [00:23:14]:
We’re out on the patio, and it’s pretty quiet, which is why we’re here. We will louden up the entire restaurant. If the two of us were inside, it would just be bouncing off the wall.
Zane Dearien [00:23:25]:
Just sit around and watch.
Janice Person [00:23:26]:
But entertainment next time we’ll sell.
Zane Dearien [00:23:29]:
Exactly. But yeah, like the main important part. So we’re about to start back up with Hawthorne honey. They grow local. His name’s scott. We just talked to him yesterday. We’re actually going to bring on the Tower Grove area code of his honey, something that I’d never put in perspective of honey. Right. So he taught me yesterday.
Janice Person [00:23:48]:
Learned the zip code?
Zane Dearien [00:23:49]:
Yeah. So he brought in five different zip codes, and we landed on the Tower Grove one specifically, 63110, because the amount of flowers and floral, you can literally smell what it is like walking through Tower Grove, walking through the botanical gardens. You smell it in the honey. Right.
Janice Person [00:24:08]:
And Tower Grove smells nice for people who haven’t been there.
Zane Dearien [00:24:10]:
Yeah. I mean, it is actually very lovely. I walk out there at night.
Janice Person [00:24:13]:
It’s a great park in that area and all that.
Zane Dearien [00:24:15]:
Yeah. So, like little things like that. So on the menu to be know, whatever the menu description with Hawthorne honey. So it gets them out there. So then next time when people come in like, oh, that was really good, where do I get it?
Janice Person [00:24:26]:
Well, hawthorne honey.
Zane Dearien [00:24:28]:
Yeah, hawthorne honey or beef or farmstead eat here or any one off farmers that we use, double star farms or Eckerts apples. We’re happy to promote them because they’re the reason why we have such good flavors, such good dishes, and we’re even.
Janice Person [00:24:45]:
Open and you’re always having these conversations with them because farmers are supplying you on a regular basis anyway, right? Three, four times a I noticed. You know, not that I creeped your social media or anything, but you may have gone to Eckards recently to check out Eckards.
Zane Dearien [00:25:01]:
Yeah. Went out there. They asked us out, and we did a little pop up for their hard side of pressing, I guess. First time I’ve been to Eckerd’s, heard about it. It’s like an orchard disneyland. It’s got everything you could want to do at an know, they got their tap room, they got their tasting room, they got their grocery store, they got their pumpkin picking, they got their apple picking. They got all sorts of stuff.
Janice Person [00:25:22]:
Zane Dearien [00:25:22]:
Clothes if you want it.
Janice Person [00:25:23]:
You missed strawberry picking then, because that was way early in I know. That’s the thing.
Zane Dearien [00:25:27]:
I didn’t know about that. And then they have pig races. Come to find out. So I will be attending a pig race out there at some time. Why not, right?
Janice Person [00:25:34]:
He’s got this dreamy look in his eye as he talked about pig races.
Zane Dearien [00:25:38]:
What if I was like the chairperson? That got to be the pig know.
Janice Person [00:25:42]:
The honorary calling of the you’re from Arkansas.
Zane Dearien [00:25:49]:
I know how this goes.
Janice Person [00:25:50]:
All right, let’s turn a totally different direction because you and I could talk pretty much all day. It’s clear. Tell me about the must haves. If you’re going to put together herbs, like, behind you, I’m going to take a picture and put it on the website. Behind you are herbs growing so that I could have fresh herbs in my meal.
Zane Dearien [00:26:11]:
The ones that personally, that I would pick Sherville mint or not cilantro? Sherville mint, chives, parsley and thyme. And if you really feeling wild, lemon balm. Yeah, I think.
Janice Person [00:26:26]:
No, Basil. You didn’t use the word basil.
Zane Dearien [00:26:28]:
Okay. Yes, basil is just a given. Yes, I use too much basil, probably.
Janice Person [00:26:35]:
I’m like passing.
Zane Dearien [00:26:36]:
Sorry, Gerard. I. Meant basil. I promise. I promise you. Basil’s in there. We have literally half the garden up top is all basil. Thai, purple, opal, all that stuff.
Janice Person [00:26:47]:
All the different kinds of basil.
Zane Dearien [00:26:48]:
Yeah, that’s just a given. I try to stay away from rosemary just personally, just because it carries such a punch. It has its applications. It does smell good.
Janice Person [00:26:58]:
Smaller amounts, yeah.
Zane Dearien [00:26:59]:
But like thyme, that gives you your woodiness, but it also can be delicate. Chives. It gives you that garnishing flavor. It gives you the raw onion flavor. Parsley. Well, it can go on everything, livens things up. It gives you the freshness mint. Has its I literally will tear mint on everything.
Janice Person [00:27:17]:
And it works well, the bojito.
Zane Dearien [00:27:20]:
Yeah, it really does. I’m not going to lie. Just a little fresh mint goes a long way on everything. Basil again, basil, thyme, parsley, chives, and Sherville are literally in everything that I cook.
Janice Person [00:27:31]:
Zane Dearien [00:27:32]:
Shervel brings that delicate Annie’s flavor that most people are unfamiliar with. It’s beautiful to look at. Little bunches of curly little pods of we don’t actually grow it up here yet. That’s our new next iteration of the garden we’ll have.
Janice Person [00:27:49]:
You weren’t here when enough of the planning was done for the yeah, I.
Zane Dearien [00:27:53]:
Received what was planted up there now, but I promise you, next planting is going to be epic of herb proportions. But, yeah, that’s what I would do. Also think of lavender. Lavender is good to have out there. A for color. That’s a good pollinator. So you attract a lot of good bees and other butterflies that pollinate as well. That, to me, is a perfect well.
Janice Person [00:28:16]:
And lavender lives on year after year. Yes, some of those do, some don’t.
Zane Dearien [00:28:21]:
Some are some don’t.
Janice Person [00:28:22]:
Yeah, I need to plant every year.
Zane Dearien [00:28:24]:
But think of that whenever you’re planting something. That’s what I always try to think is, like, how can I pollinate have something that’s aromatic to also smell if I’m not using it, but also help grow the other herbs that I’m using a lot of.
Janice Person [00:28:37]:
Zane Dearien [00:28:37]:
Because when you’re cutting and growing, you need them to keep continuing, but if you don’t have any kind of pollination happening around it, you’re only going to use them as far as you can.
Janice Person [00:28:46]:
I think fresh herbs is such an easy way to up your home cooking game.
Zane Dearien [00:28:50]:
100% away all the dried stuff, far.
Janice Person [00:28:54]:
Too many people overlook it. I mean, dried cinnamon is a good way to go. You’re going to want dried cinnamon, right? Like, there’s some of them you’re not going to be able to grow depending on where you are. But, man, I mean, it makes such a difference if you use fresh spices.
Zane Dearien [00:29:08]:
How often is it and I’m guilty myself. I’m like, all right, I’m making something at home. I don’t have a garden yet, but I’m going to go to the store and buy a whole bunch of parsley or one of those little plastic things of basil or mint or sage or something, and I use one out of it, and then it just sits in.
Janice Person [00:29:25]:
The drawer until it goes bad.
Zane Dearien [00:29:27]:
And then I’m like, oh, yeah, I forgot that was in there. But if you’re growing this stuff, you can take what you need, but you’re also providing something to the ecosystem as far as bees goes.
Janice Person [00:29:37]:
And in the winter, you can bring some of them indoors just with a little light. Yeah, just a little light on it.
Zane Dearien [00:29:43]:
Yeah. I mean, honestly, I do I don’t hate having plants, especially good smelling herbs in my house. That does not hurt me.
Janice Person [00:29:50]:
Pollinators won’t come in the house, hopefully, but you’ll be fine.
Zane Dearien [00:29:55]:
Set them outside on the warmer days.
Janice Person [00:29:57]:
Exactly. What about must haves in the kitchen? Like for cooking and things?
Zane Dearien [00:30:03]:
As far as cooking things go, olive oil is a must for me. Extra virgin olive oil, really good. Buy the best you can, but honestly.
Janice Person [00:30:11]:
You can also use some other stuff just whenever.
Zane Dearien [00:30:14]:
The California olive oil that you get at the store is really good. Good kosher salt, but really good sea flaky salt. Maldon is the one I use. JD’s out of Oregon is a really good one. They do make a really good product. Fresh cracked pepper. I don’t use a lot of pepper, but I only finish dishes with Mean.
Janice Person [00:30:35]:
How do you not use a lot of one of my nieces is like turning the podcast off. Keep it on Georgia, you’ll get better.
Zane Dearien [00:30:41]:
I think that stemmed from my time with Matt McClure. He was one of those that was like, hey, pepper is a garnish, not a seasoning attribute. Because in culinary school, people would really throw that pepper in there and then all of a sudden, that’s all you taste.
Janice Person [00:30:56]:
You can use it at the end.
Zane Dearien [00:30:57]:
Yes. That finishes the dish with it. It’s not something I just keep in there. Everything mushroom pellets, if you don’t know what that is, it’s an Asian you can get at PanAsia. It’s like mushroom season you get on Amazon.
Janice Person [00:31:10]:
Zane Dearien [00:31:10]:
For, umami and that’s it. Poultry, vegetables, it doesn’t matter. Throw a little bit of that in there and it’s wow. Green chili flakes are always in my staples. Vinegar. I make my own vinegar, so I have a lot of that around. But if you’re going to buy vinegar, like apple cider vinegar is easy to have it’s cross. You can use it on all sorts of things. Rice wine vinegar, use it on all sorts of things. Balsamic. If you’re going to buy balsamic, buy.
Janice Person [00:31:38]:
The buy Modina splurge.
Zane Dearien [00:31:40]:
Just yeah, do yourself a favor. Actually, Diatalia here in town, they have a good supply of it. You can walk in there and grab it or get it on there online. Not a sponsor, but little things like that, like acid, lemons, limes. Always have those around.
Janice Person [00:31:59]:
Zane Dearien [00:31:59]:
And if you can have a lime tree, citrus trees in your backyard. Good for you. I don’t have a spot for that, or I would now.
Janice Person [00:32:07]:
I’m thinking about the deck. I could roll it out there on back end. Yeah, they do really good thinking. Yeah.
Zane Dearien [00:32:14]:
And one food for thought, I learned this last year. Citrus trees like to grow in pears, like swans. They like to touch. They like to excite each other and grow. I didn’t know that because I tried to grow a lemon tree one year, buy itself a Meyer lemon tree. And then a guy that I knocks Finale out of Birmingham, Alabama, he owns foods like which is a purveyor. He was like, he went out to California, learned from lemons. He learned from an old bonsai tree guy from Japan. He came over to California and started doing all this stuff and he’s like, they want to grow in couples. They want to grow. They want to touch, they want to feel.
Janice Person [00:32:50]:
They want to know somebody else is out there.
Zane Dearien [00:32:52]:
And they said they grow. And next thing I knew I bought a yeah, put them side by side, flourished there. You yeah, but I don’t have those trees anymore.
Janice Person [00:33:01]:
But moved too many times.
Zane Dearien [00:33:03]:
Yeah. Wherever they go, they stay wherever I’m at. So I just haven’t had time to get them going here in St. Louis.
Janice Person [00:33:09]:
All right, so what about tools in the kitchen that you also think everybody needs?
Zane Dearien [00:33:14]:
Everybody needs a good chef’s knife. If you don’t know what that means, it’s the longer, like eight to twelve inch, one of those a bread knife and you’re good. I truly don’t think that you need good for you. If you want to buy the whole box set knife block thing, that’s great. But you’ll find that you don’t use them all, they look awesome. But just buy a really good knife. Try to buy it from local, if you can, somebody that’s hand making them support that. So that way you can spend $300 on a knife and get one good one versus spending a lot of money on other things. So bread knife, a chef’s knife, a paring knife to do a little small work, a good set of pans. And you really need probably one stockpot, like a pasta pot. So you can cook pastas or make stock in it. A good twelve inch saute pan and an air fryer. Get an air fryer.
Janice Person [00:34:07]:
I would not have expected a chef to tell me I need an air fryer. But I got one.
Zane Dearien [00:34:13]:
I have a Ninja Foodie. So it’s a pressure cooker, air fryer, sear and all that. I don’t hardly cook in pans anymore. I literally solely cook out of an air fryer.
Janice Person [00:34:22]:
That’s at home. As a home cook.
Zane Dearien [00:34:24]:
As a home cook.
Janice Person [00:34:24]:
Here, you cook in the kitchen.
Zane Dearien [00:34:26]:
There’s lots fire. Yeah. It’s too much cast irons. On that note, I truly believe you need a good set of cast irons. Buy what you can. If you can afford a really good one, buy one. They are heirlooms. They will never go back. I have my some. Like, my grandma hasn’t given me mine.
Janice Person [00:34:44]:
Yet, because she’s like, well, my grandmother’s.
Zane Dearien [00:34:46]:
No longer with So, but I’m happily counting down the days that she stays alive, but also the days that I get the cast iron. I’m really looking forward to that. If those could talk.
Janice Person [00:34:56]:
I have some video and photos of Peter Mickelson who works here. He taught a class on cast iron cooking over an open flame next door.
Zane Dearien [00:35:05]:
There’s a the original nonstick.
Janice Person [00:35:07]:
Yeah, it’s so good. It’s so good. And so many people had so many questions for him on, like, really, you just wipe it out and then cook something else? And he’s like, I do.
Zane Dearien [00:35:17]:
I was only about to say that. I can’t tell you how many cast irons I own personally from finding on the sidewalk or people letting go because it rusted or they had gunk on it, and they’re like, oh, it’s ruined. Yeah, I’m glad you think it’s ruined, because now I get a free cast iron. All it takes is a little TLC, just a little salt, rub it with some oil, and then bake it. Keep cleaning it. Yeah. It’s the original nonstick. So when you’re done cooking something, wipe it out and keep going. Yeah, I mean, sauces searing, everything baking in it. I love cast iron.
Janice Person [00:35:49]:
Oh, like a pineapple upside down cake in a cast iron skillet.
Zane Dearien [00:35:54]:
So I have a wood fired grill in my backyard along with a little pizza oven, but I will literally cook out. If I’m not in the air fryer, I cook outside. Like, if I’m off and I’m home all day, I’ll cook. I’ll light a fire out there, and I literally will cook all day long.
Janice Person [00:36:07]:
Niche, invite me over. I’ll be happy to come.
Zane Dearien [00:36:09]:
Absolutely. Theodore’s out there.
Janice Person [00:36:11]:
Zane Dearien [00:36:11]:
Janice Person [00:36:13]:
I’ve seen the dog on Instagram, too.
Zane Dearien [00:36:15]:
Famous in Nashville.
Janice Person [00:36:16]:
Did I forget to ask you something really important about what you’re doing here?
Zane Dearien [00:36:20]:
One of the most important things I think that we’re doing here at Bowood by Niche specifically, as you mentioned, Gerard’s got a lot of people doing a lot of good things in the group. But the one thing that we’re really trying to do here at Bowood specifically is reintroduce what neighborhood dining is. Right. What is a neighborhood what does that collective mean?
Janice Person [00:36:41]:
If I lived down the street, I would be here every day.
Zane Dearien [00:36:44]:
What does that mean to you? What is a neighborhood restaurant? That’s what we’re trying to encompass right now. We have brossery. Just a few streets.
Janice Person [00:36:51]:
I love brossery.
Zane Dearien [00:36:53]:
Last 13 years right. Or something like that, that they’ve been.
Janice Person [00:36:57]:
Going, it doesn’t matter what I order there. I’m always so freaking happy.
Zane Dearien [00:37:00]:
You always feel like your family, like you feel like you belong there. It doesn’t matter what time of day, who you are. You get treated with respect, you get treated well. The food’s amazing. I literally walk out of there too full all the time. Like, I need to start getting a wheelchair or a wheelbarrow. Somebody pushed me around. But we’re really trying to bring the focus of farm to table, if that’s still what people talk about. But celebrating the farmers, celebrating the neighborhood, like, what do people want here?
Janice Person [00:37:29]:
There’s a feeling of community when it comes to the group.
Zane Dearien [00:37:33]:
Yeah, that’s what we’re really trying to strive for. And then as far as the kitchen and staffing goes, we’re trying to teach them, what does it mean to be a neighborhood restaurant, what does it mean to be farm to table? Why do we support the people? We support these younger cooks. Nowadays, you have the Instagram, you have the Food Network, you have all that stuff. They see it as, I’m going to be a chef and I’m going to be on TV, and nothing’s horrible and ugly and nasty about the restaurant world, but in reality, it’s all ugly and nasty. But it’s a beautiful thing. Nobody wants to see how the sausage is made, they just want to eat the sausage. So teaching that and teaching the respect of the ingredients in each other, that’s important too. It’s like nowadays, this world that we live in, and it’s important to be there for one another. And there’s no really better way to do that than over a food, over a table, over a drink.
Janice Person [00:38:24]:
That’s how people, that creation of community is so easy. And I love that you guys also do some neat pairings with other chefs.
Zane Dearien [00:38:34]:
Yeah. So that’s another thing.
Janice Person [00:38:35]:
Lauren Malik and them at Balkan tree box. Yes, love that.
Zane Dearien [00:38:39]:
We’re looking forward to doing a big so that’s another trying. Once October happens and we get settled some more, we’re going to start trying to do a lot more chef collaborations out here on the patio, literally. As you see, this is the perfect venue for Chef Collab kitchen’s right there. You’re smelling the aromas. So we’re looking forward to doing one with them and a few other restaurants that we’ve kind of gotten. We’re in the talks about the dates haven’t been set yet, but it’s like celebrating again, celebrating St. Louis, celebrating the community, celebrating what we’re doing. Because we all, at the end of the day, we’re all buying from the same farmers, we’re all doing somewhat the same thing, but our own style. But when you get to come together and meld that we’re supporting each other, they’re all the way out there in Webster Grove.
Janice Person [00:39:23]:
We’re out here all the way out there in Webster.
Zane Dearien [00:39:25]:
It seems like forever, but it’s really not that far. But for me, it seems like forever. But we’re here, but we’re two different places, but we’re in it for the same reasons.
Janice Person [00:39:34]:
Zane Dearien [00:39:35]:
Happiness, food farmers.
Janice Person [00:39:37]:
What more could you ask? Fresh food served in incredible ways. Yes, it’s perfect.
Zane Dearien [00:39:43]:
Every day always changing and like the positive. Yeah, it’s like we’re growing. Wintertime is right on the corner. You’re going to be braised meats. Comfort food. What makes you happy?
Janice Person [00:39:53]:
Zane Dearien [00:39:54]:
Right now we have the Sunday part.
Janice Person [00:39:57]:
Of the Sunday fried chicken. Yeah, I get the emails, Zane. I read them all.
Zane Dearien [00:40:01]:
That stems from my family. That was the Sunday supper. We did fried chicken and spaghetti every Sunday. That was it. You got a leg and a thigh and a big mountain pile of red sauce or gravy or whatever we cooked up and you ate it. So that was like my contribution to this is like bringing that like, again, bringing that neighborhood atmosphere. Like, where do you go for Sundays?
Janice Person [00:40:22]:
Zane Dearien [00:40:22]:
Bunch of strangers coming together, eating some fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. If you’re not happy, then are you ever going to be happy? What is wrong with yeah, I just don’t get it.
Janice Person [00:40:34]:
I love it. I can’t be friends at that if that’s the case. Well, before we go, I want to tell people, look you up online. Bowood by Niche is the overall for the restaurant. You have your own Instagram, your own Instagram. But the photos and stuff, if people look at either, if they’re in St. Louis, they’re going to suddenly want to get themselves motivated and get up. Come have brunch. Come have happy hour now?
Zane Dearien [00:41:00]:
Yeah, happy hour. Two to five.
Janice Person [00:41:01]:
Zane Dearien [00:41:02]:
We’re finally open seven days a week for dinner. So we’re open nine to nine every day. For your needs of brunch, happy hour or dinner.
Janice Person [00:41:11]:
Get it all figured out. This is the place.
Zane Dearien [00:41:13]:
We’re just getting started, too. Like, I finally got my feet wet. We’re grounded. The team’s excited. There’s a lot to come, and we’re just excited to share it with everybody. It means a lot.
Janice Person [00:41:24]:
No, it really does. I can absolutely feel the sensation coming out of here.
Zane Dearien [00:41:31]:
Oh, man. Just in the smiles. We’re lucky again. Outdoor kitchen. Everybody walks by us to come out here to sit on the patio. You don’t know what they’re going to expect when they walk out, like, for the first time seeing them, but when they’re rubbing their bellies on the way out and giving you the thumbs up or high fiving you I can’t tell you how many hugs these line cooks have been getting this week. Just from people coming here like, this is the best thing I’ve ever had, whether they mean it or not. And seeing that hug, and it’s like total strangers hugging another total stranger. I love it because of a bite of food that you cook for them. That is what we’re doing it for. That is why we live.
Janice Person [00:42:06]:
That’s what you find at Bowood by Niche. Absolutely. Thanks so much.
Zane Dearien [00:42:10]:
Absolutely. Thank you.
Janice Person [00:42:11]:
I can’t wait to now we got to get this stuff put away so I can come check out all the plants.
Zane Dearien [00:42:17]:
Yeah. Here for it.
Janice Person [00:42:19]:
As you heard right there at the end, Zane and I took a chance to go see what they were growing in terms of herbs there on the property, what they we’re using them for, even what he has plans for next. So I hope you check that out. It’ll be on the website, groundedbythefarm.com. And we’ll also put it out on social channels. Talk to you again in two weeks. Bye.