La Vie en Rose

Café la Vie helps the Clayton community see their food experiences through rose-colored glasses by using simple, confident ingredients.

By Moe Godat

Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton


A reflection of St. Louis’s European roots nestles in the luxurious Le Méridien, a hotel located in downtown Clayton. The restaurant in the hotel, Café la Vie, opened in 2020 with the goal of being welcoming to all, whether local or traveling, and offering dishes that recall European history to any who dine there.

The restaurant’s concept was designed by the owners of Silverwest Hotels & Resorts in Denver, Colorado, who wanted to offer the Clayton community a dash of something new while honoring St. Louis’s European (but especially French) roots.

“La vie en rose—that’s how we see things, through rose-colored glasses,” says Brian Colon, Food & Beverage Director at Café la Vie. “We see everything tinted with joy and happiness, and we want our customers to feel the same way.”

Bringing French-inspired cuisine to St. Louis is a team of budding talent headed by Chef de Cuisine Brennan Gilbert and Mark Holliman, a pair dedicated to putting their stamp on seasonal offerings. “They take a lot of time in slowly building flavors,” Colon notes, “and the team wants to honor the ingredients by using them in the correct season; this allows them to harness the ingredients' full potential.”

Also important to French cuisine is using local ingredients: “Local mushrooms, cheese and produce that we receive finds its home in several dishes. French cooking is famously focused on local products in season so our ability to do the same pays homage to the goals of celebrating our land and the confluence of flavors it provides,” says Colon.

These ideals are perfectly displayed in the menu for the Café la Vie cooking school, which will be hosted at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery on Tuesday, January 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Chef de Cuisine Brennan will start with a warm mushroom salad, using locally sourced mushrooms sauteed with mustard greens, dressed with champagne dijon vinaigrette, garnished with chevre, pomegranate seeds and calabrian oil. Galette follows, consisting of brown butter roasted delicata squash, confit garlic and caramelized onion with roquefort bechamel. Lastly comes the coq au vin, a braised chicken quarter with mushrooms, lardons and tomatoes over brown butter smashed potatoes.

“This [cooking school] menu is a great representation of local ingredients, layers of flavors and French inspiration that we’re known for,” says Colon. “At the end of the day, the menu’s overall success and creativity originates from our culinary team and their collaborative spirit.”   See for more information.

Cooking School Menu

Warm Mushroom Salad: Ozark mushrooms, mustard greens, champagne dijon vinaigrette, chevre, pomegranate seeds and calabrian oil

Galette: Brown butter roasted delicata squash, confit garlic and caramelized onion with roquefort bechamel

Coq au vin: Braised chicken quarter, mushrooms, lardons, tomatoes, brown butter smashed potatoes