The St. Louis Art Museum has named Ivy Magruder of Gamlin Whiskey House as the new chef of Panorama, the critically panned and financially struggling restaurant inside the museum’s new east wing.
Magruder, a St. Louis native who has also served as the executive chef at Eleven Eleven Mississippi and Vin de Set, will start work next month at the museum through food services contractor Bon Appétit Management Company.
“We are fortunate to have Ivy join our company and the Museum,” David Marshall, Bon Appétit’s general manager at the museum, said in a statement.
“He understands St. Louis and the region and diners’ expectations, which will be reflected in a fresh approach to our menus.”
Magruder said: “The opportunity to be a small part of such a [St. Louis] institution is flattering and humbling. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone up and down that hill on my sled.”
Magruder said he welcomes the “uphill battle” of turning around Panorama, which the Post-Dispatch reported in April had lost more than $500,000 since opening last summer. The restaurant’s contemporary American fare received a rare zero-star review in this newspaper.
Magruder’s responsibilities will also include overseeing the Art Museum’s grab-and-go cafe and catering operations. He succeeds Edward Farrow, who was both Panorama’s executive chef and general manager when it opened. Marshall, formerly of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, took over the general manager’s position earlier this year.
“In discussions with Bon Appétit, they have a vision” for Panorama, Magruder said. “It’s a solid vision.
“They want to make sure they can execute it [properly]. That’s where I can come in and help.”
Magruder said that when he begins at Panorama, he intends to follow the advice of Eleven Eleven Mississippi and Vin de Set owners Paul and Wendy Hamilton: Shut your mouth, open your ears and listen to guests.
Meanwhile, Magruder will remain at Gamlin Whiskey House for a few weeks to help with a “seamless” transition for owners Derek and Lucas Gamlin.
“These guys have been so fantastic,” Magruder said of the sibling owners. “I wanted to do right [by them].”