2018 Talent

Gerard Ford Craft

Executive Chef & Owner Sardella, Porano Pasta, Taste by Niche, Brasserie by Niche and Pastaria

Chef Gerard Craft is the executive chef and owner of Niche Food Group in St. Louis, MO. As a Food & Wine Best New Chef, Food & Wine Innovator of the Year, and 2015 James Beard Foundation Award-winning Best Chef: Midwest and Inc. magazine Star Entrepreneur, Craft has been a pioneer for the Midwest dining scene.

Niche Food Group now includes five restaurants in St. Louis: creative cocktails at Taste by Niche, French bistro fare at Brasserie by Niche, approachable Italian at Pastaria, fast casual Italian at Porano Pasta, and his latest venture, Sardella, a seasonal, fun restaurant with a nod to Italy. He will also open a second location for Pastaria in Nashville, TN in 2017.

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, to open his first restaurant, Niche, at the age of 25 in 2005. Niche moved locations and has since evolved to Sardella, but one thing remains constant: his dedication to “The Truth” for his growing restaurant group.

He states, “Ever since I started Niche in 2005, I have been in search of ‘The Truth.’ It took a friend of mine describing an Altanta airport restaurant (of all places) to give me the words to define ‘The Truth.’ He stated, ‘When everything clicks. Dishes are perfectly seasoned. Service is warm, inviting and professional. Everything is how and where it should be.’ This is our guiding light at Niche Food Group. We encourage our team to be empowered to use these values to guide the way.”

Craft and his wife, Susan, live in the Parkview neighborhood of St. Louis with their two daughters.