congratulations to thu rein oo!

A huge congratulations to Thu Rein OO, Executive Chef of The Crossing who won the 2019 Chef Battle Royale, for the second consecutive year!! Read more about his win in Sauce Magazine.


Each year, eight of the region’s top chefs are hand-selected by the Taste of St. Louis Culinary Committee to compete in sevenbattlecategories. After three days of intense competition, only one chef is left standing and crowned the Chef Battle Royale Champion. For the first time ever, the chefs’ talents were displayed on a massive LED video wall for spectators to get an up-close and personal view of the competition.  Click here for our "behind the scenes" chefs!

In addition to these heated battles, the Culinary Stage is also home to competitions that pair a local chef and our “littles” from the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization.

Read about the participating chefs here

CHEF THU REIN OO (Returning Champ) – Executive Chef, The Crossing
CHEF CASSY VIRES – Executive Chef, Winslow’s Home & Farm
CHEF AUSTIN HAMBLIN – Executive Chef, Cork Wine Bar
CHEF MATT BIRK – Executive Chef, Union 30/Hotel Saint Louis
CHEF JASON SPARKS – Executive Chef/Owner, Layla
CHEF MATT DUBOIS – Executive Chef, The Scottish Arms
CHEF MATTHEW R. DAWSON – Executive Chef, Cafe Coeur
CHEF EMILY NOVOTNY – Pastry Chef, Eleven Eleven Mississippi


Each chef is given 40 minutes to produce his or her best dish (per the "battle" category assigned) in front of a live audience. The field narrows until only two competitors are left standing to vie for the champion position. The seven battles take place throughout the event weekend and are judged by local and national food experts, celebrities and culinary sponsors. The champion from the prior year is invited back to defend his title the following year. Chef Battle Royale is managed and hosted by Taste of St. Louis Executive Chef Vito Racanelli. The Taste of St. Louis partners with the American Culinary Federation and its expansive culinary team of certified and accredited judges to make the Chef Battle Royale one of the most acclaimed competitions in the region.

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6:15pm CHEF BATTLE ROYALE – Rd. 1: “Battle Plant-Based Protein”
Chef Matt Birk (Union 30/Hotel Saint Louis) vs Chef Matt Dubois (The Scottish Arms)

8:00pm CHEF BATTLE ROYALE – Rd. 2 “Battle Pork” - Brewer’s Crafted Pork Loin
Chef Emily Novotny (Eleven Eleven Mississippi) vs Chef Austin Hamblin (Cork Wine Bar)


1:00pm Big Brother Big Sister “Battle Burger”
Chef Jack Mac vs. Chef Bob Colossimo

2:45pm CHEF BATTLE ROYALE – Rd. 3 “Battle Veal”
Chef Matt Dawson (Cafe Coeur) vs Chef Jason Sparks (Layla)

4:30pm CHEF BATTLE ROYALE – Rd. 4 “Battle Lamb”
Chef Cassy Vires (Winslow’s Home & Farm) vs Chef Thu Rein Oo (The Crossing)

6:15pm Big Brother Big Sister “Battle Breakfast”
Chef Tony Hedger vs. Chef Matt Bessler

8:00pm CHEF BATTLE ROYALE Rd. 5 – Semifinal Round “Battle Beef”
Mishima Reserve Wagyu or Joyce Farms Bone-In Striploin
Winner of Battle 1 vs. Winner of Battle 2

12:30pm CHEF BATTLE ROYALE – Rd. 6 Semifinal Round “Battle Cheese”
Winner of Chef Battle Royale Rd. 3 vs. Winner of Chef Battle Royale Rd. 4

2:15pm Big Brother Big Sister “Battle Street Taco”
Winner of Battle Burger vs Winner of Battle Breakfast

4:00pm CHEF BATTLE ROYALE – Rd. 7 FINAL ROUND Battle Seafood & Reisch Gold Top Beer”
Winner of Chef Battle Royale Rd. 5 vs. Winner of Chef Battle Royale Rd. 6

5:15pm CHEF BATTLE ROYALE Awards + Photos