Technology and creativity combine to make magic at the newest dining destination to open in the Cortex District, The Chocolate Pig, with Chef Tyler Davis as executive pastry chef. Chef Tyler has been cooking for about eight years, starting out on the savory side of the kitchen. After landing a gig as the garde manger for The Crossing, he worked in numerous other kitchen positions, paving his own path in the St. Louis dining scene. His resume includes a number of popular St. Louis spots – Ernesto’s Wine Bar, where he was the sous chef, Benton Park Café where he was kitchen manager, and the Tavern of Fine Arts, which taught him about the importance of building rapport with customers. Chef Davis gained national attention when he appeared on the Food Network’s third season of Halloween Baking Championship, and was nominated for Feast Magazine’s Top Pastry Chef of the Year. He started working on the sweeter side of the kitchen as pastry chef about two years ago at Element Restaurant, and has been creating magical experiences ever since.
TYLER’S MAGICAL CREATIVITY
Surprisingly, with such an impressive resume, Tyler is completely self-taught, being a true creative. He used this creativity in the past as a classically-trained cellist, but when he finished music school, he knew he couldn’t work in an office job. His passion for feeding people and making them happy pushed him into the hospitality industry. His creativity is evident in his dessert creations for The Chocolate Pig, where he utilizes cutting-edge technology like liquid nitrogen for not only his ice creams, but also to make frozen fruit garnishes for the plates, creating magical experiences for the guests.
Tyler’s favorite dessert to eat is Key Lime Pie, and loves making cheesecakes, but truly enjoys the process of creating new desserts and sees them as “babies [he’s] giving up for adoption.” The dessert list at The Chocolate Pig has a wide variety of selections, with a strong focus on 23 City Block Hospitality Group’s sister company, Bissinger’s chocolate. The dessert staff is made up of six chefs, led by Tyler as a patient and thorough teacher. The young chef is self-motivated and always hungering for more knowledge, drawing inspiration and energy from the people he works alongside. He is very excited to be working with 23 City Blocks Hospitality Group and Executive Chef Patrick Russell. Ready for this next challenge, he sees his work with The Chocolate Pig as the perfect opportunity to showcase his skills. Those skills will actually be on display at the restaurant, where Tyler and the dessert staff have their own show kitchen with bar seats. Reservations can be made for these seats where diners can get a first-hand look at the magical dessert processes, including all of the gastronomic technology that Tyler incorporates into the recipes.
TYLER’S SIGNATURE DESSERTS
In Tyler’s opinion, the signature desserts at The Chocolate Pig are the “Chocolate Pig Candy Bar” and the “Milk and Cereal.” The second dish is a twist on a dessert created by famous chef Christina Tosi, with nitrogen-frozen and caramelized pork rinds serving as the cereal. While these two desserts are impressive, the boozy milkshakes are also not-to-be-missed (also available sans alcohol of course). Insider information hints at not-to-be-missed future plans by Chefs Tyler and Patrick for chocolate-tempering classes, molecular dining experiences, and eventual special event dinners.
The Chocolate Pig is now open in the Cortex Innovation District, in the building known as 4220. Make your reservations today through their website or by phone at 314-272-3230 and make sure to stop by the dessert show kitchen to see the magic of this up-and-coming pastry chef.
Article by Mike A. Bryan Photo credit – Cortex staff