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Sound Bites: Ones To Watch 2014

In our monthly Sound Bites segment in partnership with Sauce Magazine, managing editor Julie Cohen gave an overview of the six up-and-comers the publication chose for its annual “Ones to Watch”feature.

“We choose usually between 5 and 8 promising people in the food and drink industry who we see as just about to explode. You know, they’re not an executive chef, they’re not the head brewer, but they have so much talent that we see that they’re really moving and they’re going to do something exciting,” Cohen said.

Planter’s House bartender Mandi Kowalski is in the 2014 class of Ones to Watch. Cohen said they selected her because of her strong presence in national cocktail competitions and for her trendy use of roots in cocktails.

“I fell into bartending quite by accident,” Kowalski said. Originally she wanted to get her master’s in sociology but her side job became her passion.

“I fell in love with the food and drink scene here,” Kowalski said.

Also included in this year's One to Watch list are Libertine sous chef Josh Poletti, Mission Taco general manager Alex Lakin, 4 Hands assistant brewer Martin Toft, Elia chef de cuisine Josh Charles and Olio bar manager John Fausz.

Elaia and Olio
Planter’s House executive chef Bradley Hoffman was on last year’s Ones to Watch list and joined Kowalski and Cohen in studio. He became executive chef just as last year’s feature went to press.

In addition to bartenders, brewers and chefs to keep an eye on, Cohen predicted a rise in the use of ferments and cultures in food and drink this year.

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer, hosted bySteve Potter and funded in part by the the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.