Photo by Greg Rannells
Chef Gerard Craft is the executive chef and owner of Niche Food Group in St. Louis, Missouri. After opening Niche in 2005 at the age of 25, Chef Craft has extended his restaurant group to include Taste by Niche, a modern speakeasy, Brasserie by Niche, a classic French bistro, his approachable Italian concept, Pastaria and his first fast casual concept, Porano Pasta opening this summer in downtown St. Louis.
Chef Craft’s creative yet simple food has earned him recognition as a Food & Wine Best New Chef, Inc. magazine’s “Star Entrepreneurs under 30” and this year’s James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Midwest award winner.
A native of Washington, D.C., Chef Craft became addicted to the restaurant life while living in Salt Lake City as a snowboard photographer. Chef Craft went on to cook at Bistro Toujours in Park City, Utah and Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, California as well as a stage at Ryland Inn in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey before making the leap to open a restaurant of his own.
Always a believer in following intuition, Chef Craft settled on the boarded-up building in the Benton Park neighborhood of St. Louis, a Midwestern city that he had never visited. Since opening Niche in 2005, Chef Craft has been highly acclaimed for his innovative interpretations of what he calls “humble” Midwest ingredients – the best available from numerous local area farmers. Niche Food Group sources their menus through relationships with area farmers.
Craft and his wife, Susan, live in St. Louis with their two daughters.