How I Met Josh Galliano

Over a year ago, when I legitimately started posting on stlbites.com, I’d made a comment that home cooks have a difficult time obtaining things like offal or quality meats that have never been frozen.  What I received in response was an entirely unexpected email from Josh Galliano in which he suggested passionate home cooks team up with local chefs and restaurateurs to coordinate a purchase of whatever it is they’re hoping to cook.  In his own words he felt it would be a big win “as far as building trust, building community economies, and getting more people interested in great food.”  He extended to me–as he had for many of his patrons—an offer to help order anything I wanted.  At the time, however, not a single customer had taken him up on this.

What that initial exchange turned into was a flurry of back and forth emails about the food topics most on our minds and, around Christmas, he sent me a particularly unusual email that stated:

“I ordered a batch of duck testicles that I thought you would be interested in trying… I’d like to share some with you.” 

How I had become the one guy in St. Louis to receive that email I’ve absolutely no idea but, whatever the case, I knew then it was probably time for me to talk to Josh in person.  Milling about downtown one cold winter afternoon I wandered into An American Place’s kitchen hoping to find him.  He was, unfortunately, in New Orleans that day, but a second attempt a few weeks later was finally met with a handshake and a smile.  What I found was a guy that not as talkative as me had a mind which appeared always to be racing making him at least pretty good at it himself. 

Throwing a brown paper bag at me, Josh raced all about the kitchen that day grabbing things and tossing them in as we discussed his charcuterie, the various things he was doing in the restaurant, his trip back home to New Orleans and who knows what else.  It was one of those times where having just met someone for the first time you feel as though you’ve known them forever and, as I walked out of An American Place, with that bag under my arm, I remember thinking, “I like this guy, a lot.”  And it wasn’t just because that bag was filled with salumis, NOLA satsumas, some sort of lamb heart/kidney dish from The River Cottage Meat Book and duck testicles.  It was because I could tell off this one meeting that this was the generosity of Josh Galliano.  He’d do this for practically anyone he knew that truly loved to eat.

In the year I’ve known Josh this generosity has led me to all kinds of unforgettable experiences.  I’ve been practically hazed into going to a chefs-only dinner at An American Place by him and Kevin Willmann.  I’ve been served killingly large meals highlighted by weird animal parts.  I’ve found my request to watch him and his cooks break down whole lambs result in a verbal “yes, come on Wednesday.” And then that Wednesday was met with a tour of the Renaissance Grand basement in search of a chef coat so that he could suit me up, hand me a knife, and force me to jump in and do it myself.  It took me almost an hour to bone out a lamb neck and I enjoyed every hunched over minute of it—even if my back did not.

These are all things I’ve never talked about much on stlbites because somehow it seemed unfair.  All this getting to know Josh and his generosity has obviously lent itself to a certain bias.  Over time, however, I have found it’s a bias shared by people from all over the area because that’s just Josh.  He’s an almost unnaturally nice guy and this makes me happy to announce what is for me the most exciting stlbites.com news since its inception.  Many of you know only of Josh via his interesting posts on the stlbites forums and, my feeling they deserved a little more prominence, I recently asked Josh if he’d want to start a blog or, better still, blog here.  Enthusiastically, he said yes, meaning now, whether it’s writing about a vegan meal he whipped up for Cat Cora or pressing apple cider with his family, his always interesting stories can be found right here on the main page. 

With the decrease in my output these days I think I’ve got some stiff competition on my hands.  Josh is far more interesting–not to mention likable–than me.

11 Responses to “How I Met Josh Galliano”

  1. Dan D. Says:

    This is great news. I’m tremendously excited to hear from Josh on a regular basis. I can also attest to his generosity, both in procuring items (turtle meat, for pete’s sakes!) and at the table as well, treating us very well on our anniversary.

    I’ve been a little concerned with the less frequent updates lately (not that I have any right to be upset or anything like that, it’s that I’ve learned more about food and cooking in the last year than in my previous 36, and this site has a lot to do with it), so I couldn’t be more pleased with this news. I try to contribute as much as I can, but I certainly don’t have the background or perspective that either of you do.

    Thanks so much for all that you’ve done, Bill.

    Dan


  2. Mac Says:

    I second that emotion Dan.

    Josh’s posts and pictures in the forum are something I enjoy tremndously!


  3. Merridith Says:

    I third it! I very much enjoy Josh’s posts and you are no slouch either! Sweetbreads???? Did anyone say FRESH sweetbreads???? I’ll be right there………


  4. Julie Says:

    you are right Bill, it’s always a joy to be a recipient of Josh’s canning largess…..
    right now satsuma bitters, pickled white asparagus, bread and butter pickles (some of the best ever!), lemoncello, peppers line my fridge door.
    Josh is one of the few in STL that doesn’t cringe when talking about butchering or boudin.
    He’s generous with recipes as well….

    It’ll be a joy reading his foodie adventures.


  5. Chris Says:

    Great news!
    I’ve met Josh a couple times at An American Place when he’d come out from the kitchen and chat with the guests.
    Looking forward to reading more.
    I’d love to see if we could somehow coordinate food buys for home cooks!


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