CBR Bios

Read about the chefs who competed in the Stella Artois Chef Battle Royale

The Chefs of the 2016 Stella Artois Battle Royale

Quincy Street Bistro

Chris Ladley is a St. Louis native with a lifelong passion for food. He attended Chaminade College Prep here in St. Louis before heading to France, where he attended culinary school and spent time cooking. 

Chris has been with the Quincy Street family since September 2014. Before joining Quincy Street, Chris was the in-house butcher for The Block restaurant group and the Executive Chef at Herbie's Vintage 72.

The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Miami, FL, Jessie Gilroy returned home to St. Louis and worked at several restaurants including Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill, the Tavern Kitchen & Bar West, Cucino Pazzo and the Tavern Kitchen & Bar CWE.

After several years, Jessie decided it was time for a change, so she got in contact with Chef Kevin Nashan, chef/owner of the Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. and Sidney Street Cafe. Jessie is now a part of his talented culinary team and is loving every minute of it!

Retreat Gastropub

Born and raised in St. Louis, Michael Friedman has had an interest in cooking and food from a young age. While attending Mizzou, he paid for his way in various kitchens and decided to pursue cooking as a career. 

He landed his first 'real' cooking job at Blue Water Grill and has never looked back, climbing the ladder, working for many great chefs and a Michelin-starred restaurant while honing his culinary skills. 

Michael is currently the Executive Chef at Retreat Gastropub. He is excited to be a part of something amazing and to see what the future will hold!

The Garden on Grand

Kore Lutalo Wilbert is a local St. Louis chef with experience in the Taste of St. Louis’ Chef Battle Royale. He is currently the Chef at The Garden on Grand, which just opened this year. He has had culinary training in New York, California and Southern Italy and was featured in Sauce Magazine's "What I Do" in 2014. 

Loving the local culinary scene, Kore wishes to continue having a positive impact on the way we dine in St. Louis.   

Napoli 2

Chef Jon Berger, a childhood friend of Ande and Kye Pietoso, started his career in the kitchen by accident. One day while hanging out after school with the Pietoso boys, their father Tony told them they had to go to work and help out because a dishwasher didn’t show up for his shift. That night Jon went with them and washed the dishes. Fifteen years later, he hasn’t left the restaurant business.

Jon worked his way up to Sous Chef at Café Napoli, the family’s flagship restaurant that opened in 1989. In 2008, Napoli 2 was born, and Jon was deservingly given the position as Executive Chef.

Jon, honored as one of the “Best Chefs of America” in 2013, lives for creating that special something for his guests at Napoli 2. He changes the menu several times a year to reflect the seasons. All of the pastas are hand-rolled daily, and the restaurant’s dishes are created and perfected by him and under his close supervision.

Sugarfire Smokehouse

Peter Slay has cooked all around St. Louis and for some of the big chefs in town. He left St. Louis for a job with The Dinex Group in New York City and then took on a chef position at the Mandarin Oriental Boston (Bar Boulud Boston). 

Peter recently came back home from his travels and is now part of the culinary team at St. Louis’ very own Sugarfire Smokehouse.

Savannah Grille

Robert Sills began his restaurant career at the age of 15 as a busboy in a small Italian restaurant, where he fell in love with the industry and the people in it.

He then headed to Lafayette, IN, where he was asked to open a restaurant at Purdue University. He oversaw the day-to-day operations of the kitchen, learning valuable skills that became the building blocks that would shape a solid foundation for his goals.

Upon completing his management degree, Robert enrolled at the Culinary Institute of Charleston in South Carolina. He landed a job at High Cotton, home of legendary Chefs Frank Lee, Anthony Gray and Ramon Taimanglo, where he learned how to appreciate every ingredient and farmer with the utmost respect.

During an opportunity to study abroad in Italy, Robert learned to slow down, relax and embrace life; to fully enjoy what was on the table and who was at the table; and to be thankful to be there with family and friends. After returning from Italy, he and his wife, Kristine, settled in Lake of the Ozarks, where he helped open two more restaurants.

In the summer of 2012, Robert began work on his own restaurant, Savannah Grille, named for one of his favorite cities. It is everything Robert stands for: innovation, creativity, a learning environment and most importantly, a family environment. Robert’s culinary creations are just one ingredient of the wonderful memories you will create at Savannah Grille.

Eleven Eleven Mississippi

During high school, Trevor Ploeger got his first job in the restaurant industry at one of the “nicer restaurants” in his hometown. He was drawn in immediately — working his way up from dishwasher to line cook. He then knew that this was what he wanted to do the rest of his life.

After graduating high school, Trevor went on to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Minneapolis, MN. Shortly after graduating he moved to St. Louis and got a job with Sunset 44 Bistro. He worked his way up to Sous Chef, and after a few years was given the title of Executive Chef.

Trevor left Sunset 44 in search of new experiences and soon he joined the culinary team at Harrah’s Casino as Sous Chef. A year later he was given the opportunity to work with a close friend at Old Hickory Golf Club. He started out as the Sous Chef, working with both the bistro and banquet sides, and worked his way up to Executive Chef.

Later on, Trevor was contacted about a job at Vin de Set where he was hired as the Sous Chef. Soon after, owners Paul and Wendy Hamilton promoted him to Executive Chef at its sister restaurant Eleven Eleven Mississippi, where he has been now for two years.