Native Foods Adds Chris Bertke as Executive Chef

    Industry News | March 23, 2022

    Native Foods, the vegan fast-casual brand serving plant-based goodness, introduces their new Executive Chef, Chef Chris Bertke. Bertke, a St. Louis native who has worked in a number of kitchens in Missouri, brings plant-based dishes inspired by fast casual favorites.  

    In 2019, Bertke opened Utah Station in St. Louis. The menu there comprised of plant-based interpretations of fast food items, like the Big Mak and Crack Tacos (made with “veef”) that closely mimicked the Jack in the Box original. Unlike most restaurants who make vegan meats using fillers like soy or tofu, Bertke creates meat-like products using his own recipes for house-made meat substitutes. Next, the free-spirited chef opened his brick and mortar Vegan Deli and Butcher in St. Charles, MO in 2020. He focused on vegan BBQ events and vegan pizza pop-ups. Eventually after moving Vegan Deli and Butcher out of that space and into pop-up locations in 2021, Chef Bertke joined Native Foods.

     “What we loved about Chris when we first met him was that he was down-to-earth and passionate about everything plant-based and animal welfare, which perfectly aligned with our mission and our culture. Once we tasted his food, we knew he was the one who would elevate our already delicious menu,” says Director of Marketing Sandra Thum.

    For Chef Bertke, the values of vegetarianism and veganism have been instilled from a young age. Growing up around two incredible home cooks, his mother and grandmother, Chef Bertke learned early on about the importance of foundational technical skills in the kitchen as well as how to test the boundaries of recipes. From a moral standpoint, Chef Bertke became a vegetarian nearly 30 years ago and then transitioned into veganism. With his history in fine dining as well as his experience in vegan kitchens, Chef Bertke brings his unique culinary expertise to the Native Foods kitchens.

    “Joining Native Foods as executive chef is so exciting because I have the opportunity to create plant-based meat alternative recipes for our already innovative menu,” says Chef Bertke. Native Foods’ credibility, quality food, and vegan morals are all aspects that excite Chef Bertke as he begins to develop the upcoming Spring menu. 

    New Spring Menu - Bold Colors

    The upcoming seasonal menus at Native Foods are rooted in seasonal themes that accentuate their creative and innovative vegan options. The Spring Menu, launching in April, will feature new creations by Chef Bertke using the freshest ingredients and bold spring vegetable colors. “It's unique for us to have a menu that changes as the seasons change because most fast-casual restaurant concepts lack that elevated aspect to their menu,” says Chef Bertke. The Spring menu’s theme, bold colors, will offer customers the opportunity to enjoy holistic vegan and vegetarian options. Customers can look forward to Native Food’s Wasabi Crabcake Sandwich, Chicken Fajita Cheesesteak, and a Thai Beef Bowl. Launching soon. 

    News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.