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Brian HardestyNEW MAKER!

St. Louis, MO


Brian Hardesty knew he loved cooking, the acclaimed chef didn't get serious about his career plans until he was in his early 20s. Having passed on college after high school, Hardesty took stock of his skills and realized that food just might be his calling.

He took his first restaurant job as a dishwasher at Italian Kitchen, a St. Charles eatery, and worked his way up to kitchen manager within a month. Though the job came with big responsibilities, it also exposed his limitations.

Hardesty worked at a few popular restaurants — Harvest, Winslow's Home — before the opportunity he'd been waiting for came knocking. He'd heard that Terrene, a respected restaurant in the Central West End, needed an executive chef, so he sat down with the owner and pled his case.

During his time at Terrene (and later Element), Hardesty made a name for himself, but it was an acquaintance he made off the job who set his destiny in motion. Through mutual friends, he was introduced to Joel Crespo, and the pair instantly clicked over skateboarding, music and, most importantly, food. Hardesty would host Crespo at Terrene, cooking him elaborate tasting menus where he would let his creativity shine.

The dinners sparked an ongoing conversation about food and the possibility of someday opening their own restaurant — something the pair realized they would have a difficult time doing because of the up-front expense. They began talking about the popularity of food trucks on the West Coast and how the idea was overdue in St. Louis. Why not go that route?

Over the course of talking about the idea they began seeing a few trucks pop up locally and realized that they could no longer wait. Hardesty left Terrene, Crespo left his job in the mortuary business, and the pair set off to make their mark. The only problem: They needed to figure out what kind of food to do.

That was 2009. Today, Filipino food is one of the hottest culinary styles around and their concept, Guerrilla Street Food, is one of the city's most popular spots, with a south city brick and mortar location, another on the way in the Grove and also a smaller operation serving a more limited menu inside 2nd Shift Brewing.