Sherlock’s Hero – Chef Keith Brockman

© Keith Brockman

Keith Brockman is the executive chef of Sherlock’s Steak and Seafood, located in the heart of Old Town Cottleville. From steaks, seafood, pastas and salads to the delicious sandwiches, appetizers and desserts, Keith’s cooking touch will please any palet. Keith attended New England Culinary Institute. His restaurant experience includes Dierdorf & Hart’s Steakhouse, the Ritz Carlton and Keith’s American Bistro.

Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D. 

Welcome to OpenBeast. Could you briefly introduce yourself?

Well, I am Keith Brockman and had been a chef for twenty-five years. It’s a good job!

What made you become a professional chef?

I was inspirited by two French Chefs, John Cloghesy and Summon Handihaler, worked at both their restaurants in the late 70s and early 80s. They inspired me to continue in this carrier. It seems to be fun at that time. You didn’t need to get up early and got to stay up late (smiles). 

So did you get yourself formally trained?

After working for Summon, I went to Florida Atlantic University and did one year in Hotel and Restaurant Management and its there where I decided I didn’t want to be just a restaurant manager and that I wanted to go to culinary school. Then I came back to St. Louis and started working for Dierdorf & Hart’s for about three years and later went to New England Culinary Institute. Completed a two year program (1984/85) and did extensive internships like at Seven Gables Cheluve and Libers Baton. Then I continued working for Dierdorf & Hart’s, for all their locations. Those were my inspirations.

What are your favorite ingredients to cook with?

I really like American style food, so I would have to say beef, pork and chicken. My favorite spices are tarragon, turmeric and Indian masala and curries and those kinds of stuff. I do dabble with lot of peppers and chilies.

Describe Sherlock’s menu and what is special about it?

Its basically English influence withSt. Louisin mind. We have steaks and seafood, which we do grilled, with compound butters and keep it simple. We do classic London broil and breaded fish-n-chip, basically its all English orientated but mostly a mid-west stake house. We also have very nice sandwiches on our menu and good appetizers, withSt. Louis, St. Charles and Cottleville in mind. We make everything from scratch, including Crab Rangoon. The menu is not expensive as people might think (because it’s stake, pasta and seafood). You could eat here for 10 and 12 dollars very easily and there are things in the menu for even less; where you will be totally satisfied and get plenty to eat. Then again, we also run weekly specials, like stake night on Tuesdays, which is a six oz. sirloin toped with mushrooms and onions with red wine sauce. That’s all really nice.

Tell us about your “easy food preparation technique” classes.

It’s a class through St. Charles community collage and it’s not real easy food techniques. I actually teach the people stuff they want to know and what we do is we pair wines with a type of food. For instance, the last class we did Romanian wins and stuffed roll cabbage; the way that the Romanians would do it. The class before that we did wines from Chileand I made a Chilean peasant dish. Our next one is Romevalley in France and I am probably going to do french style cooking that could go along with the Rome wine. The techniques are all different.

What are your favorite cooking tools?

My tony knife and parry knife.

Do you have a signature dish or favorite recipe? And if so, can you share it with us?

I really don’t have a signature dish. But the things I really like to make are American European influenced home meals. We have a pot roast on the menu which is actually an English dish;  it’s called a braised roast. That’s really popular here. It is basically, I take a shoulder clod, which is not a desirable piece of beef, but if you cook it in a pot with red wine, vinegar, garlic, carrots, onions, bay leaf, crack black pepper. You just put it all on a pot and season the meat with salt and pepper. And I put a little tarragon out there. Then seal them up and put in the oven, and roast it to 180 degrees. The pan will be full of liquid and that’s what is used to make the sauce. The baked roast is taken out of the juice and put into the refrigerator overnight to let it firm up. Then we slice it when it is cold. We take the dripping in the pan and tighten it with corn starch and red wine. Then we reheat the sauce in the oven and top it with cooked carrots. That’s a really nice dish. I like cooking like that.

What are your leisure time activities?

Aside from sleep (smiles), I like to ride motorcycle, and like to play hockey and watch hockey. I play hockey at least once a week. That’s a nice exercise which keeps me fit.

Any advice for want-to-be Chefs?

Don’t do it (laughs). Hmm… the advice is you have to be committed. It’s not an eight hr day job. You have to be prepared to work on every night of the week including holidays. Even during Christmas and new-year you are going to be working. So you need to be ok with that. Then again you got to know so much, be top of it, read a lot, research on the internet, basically one cannot be a part-time chef. Most chef work ten to twelve hrs a day and sleep maybe for five or six hrs and that’s why you see chefs usually look tired and worn-out. It’s not an easy job. It takes years and years to master one or two things. And to be a chef you got to be good at everything. That’s what I would want to say for any up and coming want-to-be chefs. 

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