Culinary Q&A with:
Chef Michelle Weaver of Charleston Grill
If you have never been to Charleston Grill, add it to your restaurant bucket list... now! The menu is inspiring and innovative and the food is indescribably good. I recently interviewed Chef Michelle Weaver and got to ask some fun foodie questions... you know, the kind of things inquiring minds want to know.
But first, read about Chef Weaver's culinary path that took her into some great Southern kitchens...
An Alabama native, Chef Weaver was raised with a passion for cooking, learning at an early age the importance of farm-to-table. She grew up cooking with the freshest ingredients from her mother’s extensive garden and farm. Upon realizing her true love of cooking, she received her formal training from the New England Culinary Institute, where she immersed herself in the New England culture and drew from the intimate hands-on teaching approach.
Chef Weaver moved to New Orleans to work in the French-style kitchen of Chef Daniel Bonnot as an intern, gaining invaluable skills for both cooking and working in a demanding restaurant kitchen. Following school, she began cooking in the kitchen of Chef Bob Waggoner at The Wild Boar restaurant in Nashville and subsequently moved with him in 1997 when he took over at Charleston Grill.
For 13 years, she worked as Executive Sous Chef under the direction of award-winning Chef Waggoner. When her friend and mentor moved onto another chapter of his career to focus on television, Chef Weaver naturally and elegantly stepped into the spotlight.
Since Chef Weaver first joined Charleston Place in 1997 as part of the culinary team, the Charleston Grill has consistently been recognized with an AAA Four-Diamond Award and Mobil Four-Star Award. The restaurant was the only one in the area to be included in the Nation’s Restaurant News “Fine Dining Hall of Fame” and in the book, The Elite 1000. Charleston Grill has received Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” since 2007.
First food memory:
Five ingredients always in your pantry:
Salt, pepper,pasta, olive oil, vinegar
Five ingredients always in your fridge: butter,mayo,mustard,wine, olives
What are some of your go-to items you like to serve at a cocktail party?
Cheese, hummus, olives, bread
What would you want for your last meal?
Farm fresh scrambled eggs with truffles, brioche toast, my mothers tomatoes and a Chilton County peach
Dream guest list of three people for a dinner party and why? My grandmother-she passed before I started my career, Julia Child- for her inspiration, Jack McCray- I miss cooking for him.
Career if you not a chef?
Do you have a favorite Southern dish that is always better “old school” rather than updated or “improved?”
A tomato sandwich
Five Favorites -
Bourbon in the winter, vodka in the summer, Bubbles anytime!
Julia Child - Mastering the art of french cooking
Favorite Kitchen Gadget:
Favorite artist/musician to listen to in the kitchen:
Erykah Badu, Jill Scott
Favorite culinary destination and why?
Spain - the food makes me cry and smile at the same time.
If you liked this post, read about Chef Joe Palma here.
Whitney Long is c0-founder of The Southern C and a Southern Living contributing editor. Through this series, she gets to meet some of the South's finest and most creative chefs all while indulging without the calories.