Vicia is a celebration of what goes on above and below the soil.
Our ingredients are cultivated with care, setting the tone for an outstanding meal.
Vicia celebrates vegetable-forward cuisine, which shines a light on beloved and underutilized vegetables, making the most of all their parts and flipping our conceptions of what modern dining and eating tastes like.
You’ll discover vegetables prepared with as much love and attention to detail as our proteins. You’ll find them as the star of the show, cooked in animal fats, garnished with protein, or a supporting player to a sustainably raised piece of meat. You may even see them in your dessert.
Our menu will be driven by the best of what's available at the moment and sourced from relationships we have with farmers, fisherman, and artisans in the Midwest region and beyond. By focusing on what’s fresh, we aim to present a memorable dining experience that can be enjoyed and appreciated in a new way each time.
Michael and Tara Gallina met while working together at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, just outside New York City.
While working together there, the couple helped the restaurant achieve accolades from all over the world, including an award for Outstanding Restaurant in America from the James Beard Foundation, and a ranking on the San Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants in the World list.
Michael and Tara, who were married in July of 2015, have been connected by their love of food and adventure since the day they met. Michael’s talent as a chef and skillful ability to oversee the back of house, paired with Tara’s leadership capabilities in the front of house, make for an excellent combination that is fueled by a shared passion for world-class cuisine and service.
From Blue Hill the couple decided to move to Michael’s hometown of St. Louis to start their next big adventure. Before opening Vicia, the Gallina’s hosted a series of sold out pop-up dinners under the name Rooster and the Hen, where they were able to grow and share their ideas with their new community.
The proud parents to two dogs, Abby and Louie, are thrilled to be setting down roots in St. Louis
Inspired by his grandfather’s curiosity for cooking and culture, Michael flew to San Francisco -- his St. Louis Cardinals’ cap tucked securely in his suitcase -- to begin his own food-founded journey of the world. After attending the California Culinary Academy, he found a home in Campton Place's four-star kitchen under Chef Daniel Humm, and when Humm moved to New York City to take over Eleven Madison Park, Michael joined his team as sous chef. On days off, he would frequent Dan Barber's acclaimed West Village restaurant Blue Hill, and in 2007 he made the move to join Barber there. After helping run the kitchen at Blue Hill for four years, Michael took on the role of chef de cuisine at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in 2011.
Encouraged by Barber to see the world before taking the reigns, he spent time in some of the top kitchens in Sweden and Spain, including Faviken and Quique Dacosta. There, he was inspired by how they utilized nature through foraging, and appreciated how vegetables were treated with the same attention as the choicest proteins. That education only continued during his time at BHSB, and his passion for harvesting food with his cooks, working closely with plant breeders and farmers on developing improved flavor in crops, and creating a cuisine that supports the entire farm and landscape around him, is forever intertwined for him with what occurs inside the kitchen.
As Executive Chef at Vicia, he’s thrilled to bring a taste of the world he’s explored back home to the people of St. Louis.
Tara has a gift for making people feel welcome, and from a young age has loved bringing her family and friends together around the table. She turned that talent into a career path in 2010, when she left a stable human resources job in Florida to attend the International Culinary Center (ICC) in New York City. After graduating in 2010, she stayed on to coordinate cooking workshops with top chefs for ICC, but felt a fascination with the way in which food was grown rising up within.
When a posting for the F. A. R. M. S. apprenticeship program at Blue Hill Stone Barns caught her eye, she jumped on the next train to Tarrytown and never looked back. During the six month apprenticeship Tara spent working on the farm, she received a sustainable agriculture education and a crash course in fine dining service, which completely changed the way she thought about growing and serving food. While at BHSB, Tara mastered all front-of-house positions, becoming lead bartender and one of the most senior service captains, where each night she created a truly unique and flawless dining experience for each and every guest.
Tara is enthusiastically invested in changing the way we think about food, and has found that getting to know the farmers, breeders, and fishermen helped her become a captivating storyteller. As she continues to develop relationships with her new St. Louis community, those stories are growing and shaping the service experience at Vicia.
Assistant General Manager
Jen Epley started woking in restaurants while going to school for interior design in Madison, Wisconsin. She soon discovered the hospitality industry has a lot to offer and she was eager to pursue a career in the field. Jen moved to St. Louis in 2011 and dove into farm-driven fare as a server at Five Bistro. She became an oenophile and submerged herself in all things wine while working in the front-of-house at Elaia & Olio, and then developed her service skills at Niche. As Vicia’s assistant general manager, she helps to look after the wine list, bar program, and dining room. Jen is currently studying for her Sommelier Certification. In her free time, she likes to cook and hang out with her cats.
Patrick is excited to be on the Vicia team as sous chef and to give back to his community. Born and raised on the Missouri-Illinois border, Patrick had an early introduction to the restaurant industry, working at his family’s eponymous bakeshop from age five. After graduating from college with a degree in advertising and design, he decided to pursue his true passion for the culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
Upon graduating, Patrick trained under Chef Thomas Keller at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville, California, Danny Meyer and Chef Michael Anthony at Gramercy Tavern in New York City, and Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. Their mentorship laid the groundwork for Patrick’s community and farm-driven approach to food and cooking.
Executive Pastry Chef
Summer Wright brings 16 years of professional cooking experience, and in her new role she will lead the dessert and pastry program at Vicia, creating desserts for both the restaurant menu as well as the pastry counter.
Wright began her career in 2002, at the age of 19, at the Classic Cup Café under Chef Michael Turner while attending culinary school in Johnson County, Kansas. Curiosity and inspiration led her to move to New York City in 2004 where she was determined to land a position at Chef Daniel Boulud’s D. B. Bistro Moderne. After obtaining a position she fell in love with their modern approach to French-American cuisine. She trained under Chef Olivier Muller and Pastry Chef Megan Moloney for two years. In 2006 she moved to St. Louis where she worked at notable restaurants including Five Bistro and Niche. Following a short-term move to California in 2012, to work at Pizzaiolo, she returned to St. Louis in 2013 and began working at Claverach Farm. In February 2015, she signed on to the opening team as Executive Pastry Chef at Reeds American Table in Maplewood with co-founder and former Niche alum Matthew Daughaday.
Alec Schingel was proudly born and raised in the Midwest, in Urbana, IL. After graduating from SIU Carbondale in 2005, he fell hard down the rabbit hole of kitchens and cooking. He moved to St. Louis and attended L’Ecole Culinaire and spent three years in various restaurants at the Chase Park Plaza. He then spent two years training under chef Gerard Craft at Niche. In 2013, he decided to travel and learn in new kitchens, spending time in Charleston, SC, In de Wulf in Belgium, and finally at Blue HIll at Stone Barns where he met and worked with Michael and Tara. Alec is excited to be reunited with the dynamic St. Louis community and to continue working with the Gallina’s, where he is continuing to grow his passion for bread baking and great wine.