Willmann opened his restaurant, Farmhaus, in March 2010. Word quickly spread about his unique small-plate dishes, which use largely local ingredients alongside fresh seafood from the Gulf Coast.
Willmann got his taste for local ingredients after being born into a farming family in Greenville, Illinois. On the restaurant’s website Willmann boasts that he’s self-taught. He says he picked up a special interest in seafood after becoming an avid fisherman as a boy in Florida.
The Riverfront Times raved that Farmhaus was the anticipated restaurant opening of 2010.
Since then, Willmann has gotten his fair share of attention. He was a semifinalist nomination for a James Beard Foundation Award in the Best Chef: Midwest category and was nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef for the Midwest region according to Sauce magazine.
Willmann is only the second St. Louis-area chef to be named to the list by the magazine. Gerard Craft of Niche was listed in 2008.
The official announcement of the chefs who made it on this year’s best chef list will be made this evening in New York.