juniper executive sous chef daniel poss photo by greg rannells

Ones to Watch 2022 // Daniel Poss

Executive sous chef, Juniper
Age: 36
Why watch him: He’s upping the game for the local Southern food scene.

“I’m a Southern boy,” said Daniel Poss. “I’m born in Birmingham and was in Nashville since I was 3. Southern food is in my blood.” After moving to St. Louis in 2017 and marrying his wife, Ashley Poss, he has been tearing through the Southern food circuit, trying to master the game. He worked with Rick Lewis and helped him open Grace Meat + Three in 2017; now, he’s executive sous chef under Matt Daughaday at Jon Perkins’ lauded Juniper. At Juniper, Poss has found somewhere he can continue growing and learning, while also having the latitude to experiment and start making his mark. “We’re sort of geared toward Charleston low-country cuisine, so yes, it’s Southern food, but it’s a different region. It’s pushed me, and I’ve been able to learn something brand new,” he explained. 

The learning isn’t just happening on Poss’ side. “He definitely nerds out about the history and detail of the food, and he definitely has a lot more in-depth knowledge about a lot of ingredients I haven’t personally worked with,” said Daughaday, who feels that Poss has brought a lot of information and drive to the team. “From the first time I sat down with him, I got this gut feeling that he was on the same plane as me in terms of thinking about food, what our goals were, what we wanted to get out of food. Everything he was saying was clicking with me as far as what my goals were for Juniper.”

Charleston low country makes sense for Poss, as his idols are mainly from the South, including James Beard Award-winner Sean Brock. “I did a stint at [Brock’s restaurant] Husk,” Poss explained. “I worked in that building before it was Husk, when it was Andrew Chadwick’s. That house, that building, I’ve spent a lot of time in.” Now, Poss looks to incorporate those experiences into his work at Juniper. “Pickling, preserving, fermenting, butchering … what I’m doing at Juniper, it’s never been done before.” Juniper was already great, but with Poss’ fresh set of eyes, it can only get better. 

Poss is focused on his job, but also looks to the future. “I’m a man of faith, so whatever God’s plan is, is God’s plan,” he explained. “But for me, Juniper is probably going to be the last place that I work for somebody. I’m going to be here for a while, but when it comes time to move on, my dream is to own something of my own.” Based on his pedigree, one would think it would be a new Southern restaurant, but Poss himself isn’t sure of that yet. “That concept changes daily,” he said, laughing. 

“His take on Southern food is definitely more refined and more polished,” Daughaday added, “and if he ever gets an opportunity to do that, it would be an amazing place and something unique to St. Louis.” Whatever it will be, we’re here for it. 

Tags : People