September 2018

The Many Faces of Food and Beverage 2018

Author: Special to CH2


Branco and Flora Raiac
Flora’s Italian Café

Years in F&B: Forever

Describe your earliest food memory.
As a child in Romania, using the corn we grew to make Polenta for breakfast!

What would your autobiography by called?
A Romanian Coming to America, the Right Way!

Restaurant I’d love to visit: Anywhere in Italy!

One thing you don’t know about me is… I never saw a shrimp until I came to the U.S.

What’s your secret to keeping customers coming in?
Good food, good drinks, and good service.

Go-to snack: Vodka!

South Island Square
841 William Hilton Parkway
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 842-8200
florasitaliancafe.com
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Alex Nightingale & Nathanial Clepper
The Pearl Kitchen + Bar

Alex Nightingale
Years in F&B Industry: 10

Describe one of your earliest food memories.
The look on my parents’ faces after I devoured a full rack of ribs around age 6.

What magazines and books have you read recently?
CH2, of course!

If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Hard shell tacos, soft shell tacos, and taco salad.

What do you do in your spare time?
Spend time with my wife (Abby), daughter (Reagan, 5 years old), and my son (Max, 2 years old).

Nathanial Clepper
Years in F&B Industry: 12

Describe one of your earliest food memories.
My father running out of instant potato mix and using quick oats to fill in the rest.

What would your autobiography be called?
Nate’s Anthology of Dad Jokes

What is your favorite drink pairing with one of your menu items?
Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon with the baseball steak, extra shiitakes.

Go-to snack: Haribo Gummy Bears

Favorite local restaurant other than your own.
Sage Room. Champagne Poached Scallops; enough said.

(843) 757-5511
55 Calhoun St.
Bluffton, SC 29910
www.thepearlbluffton.com

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The Chefs of Palmetto Dunes Resort

Fabian Grey
Executive Sous Chef
Years in F&B: 18

What would your autobiography by called?
My Life Growing Up

What magazines and book have you read recently?
Black Privilege, by Charlamagne Tha God

If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Fish, vegetables and chicken.

What do you do in your spare time?
Spend time with my daughter.

One thing you definitely don’t know about me is… I’m the youngest of eight brothers.

What’s your secret to keeping customers coming in?
Keep cooking good food.

What’s your go-to snack?
Oreos.

Favorite restaurant in the area and why?
Island Breeze, because they have a lot on the menu I like.

Matthew Little
Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar
Chef de Cuisine
Years in F&B: 25

Describe one of your earliest food memories.
Had the best melt-in-your-mouth lamb shank in Granada, Spain in 1993.

What would your autobiography by called?
I’m Really Not That Angry!

What magazines and book have you read recently?
Food Lover’s Companion and American Assassin.

If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Peanut butter & jelly, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby.

What do you do in your spare time?
Gym, paddle board, bike, fish and movies.

One thing you definitely don’t know about me is… I used to have hair.

Favorite restaurant in the area and why?
Dough Boys. Great pizza, chopped salads, and $2 drafts.

Sean Carroll
Resort Executive Chef
Years in F&B: 21

Describe one of your earliest food memories.
My grandmother cooking for me.

What would your autobiography by called?
86 Fire & Brimstone

What magazines and book have you read recently?
The Devil in the Kitchen, by Marco Pierre White (2006)

What do you do in your spare time?
Spend time with my beautiful wife and daughter.

What is your favorite drink pairing with one of your menu items?
Barboursville Octagon with short rib.

What’s your secret to customers coming in?
Consistency and passion.

What’s your go-to snack?
Jalapeño pimento cheese.

Patrick Blankenship
Big Jim’s BBQ, Burgers & Pizza
Sous Chef
Years in F&B: 33

Describe one of your earliest food memories.
I was around five years old, and I was fixing myself scrambled eggs. My uncle came in and asked, “Are you allowed to do that?” I said, “Well, no one else is cooking me breakfast.” I guess that’s
how it all started.

What would your autobiography be called?
The Chef du Comedian? Keep ’em Happy, Keep ’em Full, Keep ’em Laughing

What magazines and book have you read recently?
Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain. Different culinary magazines, just to see the latest trends.

If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Pizza, pasta, and chocolate. In no particular order of course.

What do you do in your spare time?
I spend as much time as I can with my seven-year-old son Donovan, and of course my honey-do list.

Christopher Myers
Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar
Sous Chef
Years in F&B: 18

Describe one of your earliest food memories.
Sunday at my grandmother’s house.

What do you do in your spare time?
Dogs, movies, bike riding and kickboxing.

Favorite guilty pleasure:
Naps in my hammock, Beach time.

What’s your secret to keeping customers coming in?
Focus on the plate—everything that goes into it, from prep to the last bite.

What’s your go-to snack?
Peanut butter and honey.

Favorite restaurant in the area and why?
Hogshead. Chef John & Alexis—great food, comfortable atmosphere, and friendly staff. My go-to restaurant when visiting and working here.

76 Queen’s Folly Rd.
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(866) 921-6639
www.alexandersrestaurant.com

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Clayton Rollinson
Lucky Rooster Kitchen & Bar
Years in F&B: 23

I enjoy working in this industry because: Watching green cooks and servers learn and grow and become professionals is by far the most rewarding part.

Cake or pie?
Why choose?!

What is the best advice you ever received?
Time takes time; be patient and work hard. Do what’s in front of you.

If I had to choose another profession, I would be… a custom furniture maker. Getting to work with raw materials and turning them into functional pieces is amazing.

Drink of choice?
Water

My spare time is filled with…
Time with my kids or playing golf.

841 William Hilton Pkwy.
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
(843) 681-3474
luckyroosterhhi.com
eat@luckyroosterhhi.com

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Sean Crosby & Marshall Sampson
Santa Fe Café

Sean Crosby
Years in F&B: 12 years

Describe your earliest food memories.
Baking cookies with my grandmother at her house.

What magazines and books have you read recently?
Sports Illustrated and anything that has to do with vehicles.

If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Meat, cheese, and pizza

What do you do in your spare time?
I love boating, and when the weather cools off, love to ride motorcycles.

A restaurant I’d love to visit is:
Coyote Café in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

One thing you definitely don’t know about me is… that I’m not very serious. Life is too short; have fun and enjoy it while you’re here.

Favorite guilty pleasure: Cheeseburgers

What’s your go-to snack?
Potato chips.

Marshall Sampson
Years in F&B: 12 years

Describe your earliest food memories.
I remember being the ‘“Cone King” at Hilton Head Ice Cream as my very first job. I would make all their waffle cones for the day, every day.

What would your autobiography be called?
Trial by Fire. I tend to just put my head down and jump into whatever it is I want to do and figure things out along the way.

What do you do in your spare time?
I hang with the fam as much as possible. Restaurant life does not fit in as well as the normal routines of others, so I make it priority to be there when I can. I also play a lot of tennis.

One thing you definitely don’t know about me is… Growing up, I thought I was going to be a musician. I graduated with a music degree from App State.

What is your favorite drink pairing with one of your menu items?
We have a new drink here called El Camino. It’s tequila, agave, lemon and ginger topped with Mezcal. Goes with everything!

What’s your secret to keeping customers coming in?
I have always said and will continue to say that consistency is the name of the game.

807 William Hilton Pkwy. #700
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
(843) 785-3838
www.santafehhi.com
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Kynif Rogers & Broderick Weaver

Years in F&B: 21

Describe one of your early food memories.
I was hungry at work and ate an apple pie. I almost got fired.

What would your autobiography be called?
Sexy Chef, Sexy Food.

What magazines and books have you read recently?
Fine Cooking and Playing with Fire.

If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Chicken wings, ribeye, and popcorn (really buttery popcorn).

What do you do in your spare time?
Swim in the pool, beers and beach, clean the house (lol). And of course, spare time is a.k.a one day off, so resting up is important!

Restaurant I’d love to visit: York & Albany in London

One thing you definitely don’t know about me is:
My mom and dad didn’t cook quite as often, which had us cooking dinner as kids.

Guilty pleasure: We have Meyers steaks, so any trimming from that (ribeye) filet, I turn into an awesome lunch!

Favorite customer: The Bunns.

What is your favorite drink pairing with one of your menu items?
Madonna Riesling with Joyce Farms Chicken Breast.

What’s your secret to keep customers coming in?
Attention to detail, that one extra thing that sends the guest on a culinary journey. And above all else, good, great, sexy food.

Go-to snack(s): Almost everything: roasted nuts, trimming of ribeye, grilled chicken, fried chicken, pork, watermelon, grapes and French fries.

What is your favorite local restaurant (other than the one where you work) and why?
Street Meet. Neil, the bartender, is awesome; Chef Basciano.

Old Fort Pub
65 Skull Creek Dr,
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
(843) 681-2386
www.oldfortpub.com

Broderick Weaver
Years in F&B: 16

Describe your earliest food memories.
My father used to make Belgian waffles on Sundays with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries (they were amazing).

What would your autobiography be called?
The Way It Is (From Cook to Chef).

What magazines and books have you read lately?
We are Legion, by Dennis E Taylor (Sci-Fi)

If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Tacos, cornbread, and salad.

What do you do in your spare time?
Ride my Harley, spear fish, and scuba dive.

Restaurant I’d love to visit: Nico Osteria, Chicago

One thing you definitely don’t know about me is:
My Boss and I try to catch as much of the fish we sell as possible.

Favorite guilty pleasure: Fresh doughnuts made on a boardwalk.

Favorite Customer: Duffeys—the power couple of CQ’s

What is your favorite drink pairing with one of your menu items?
Burly Cabernet and filet.

What is your secret to keep customers coming in?
Fresh ingredients and happy attitudes.

Go-to snack: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream

What is your favorite local restaurant (other than the one where you work) and why?
Pomodori: food, atmosphere, and service!

CQ’s Restaurant
140 Lighthouse Rd,
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 671-2779
www.cqsrestaurant.com
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Amanda Russ Cifaldi
Pomodori Italian Eatery
Years in F&B: 6.5

Describe one of your earliest food memories.
I remember very distinctly walking through my mother’s garden and picking green beans with her for that night’s dinner. My mother was a business executive with a master’s degree, and still she found time to grow our food and prepare it fresh. It still amazes me to this day, probably even more so now that I have a family and business of my own when I think of the time and dedication that took. She really is remarkable.

What would your autobiography be called?
She Loved to Sing.

What magazines and books have you read recently?
My incredible artist friend Brucie Holler turned me on to The Sun magazine. It’s ad-free, published in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and focuses on what I would consider the American Experience through unlikely or underrepresented eyes. It is an incredible array of poetry, short stories, interviews and photography that depict the month’s topic in myriad ways, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every issue I’ve read. Books I’ve recently enjoyed include A Gentleman in Moscow, A Paris Wife, and One in A Million Boy. All fabulous and all unique.

What do you do in your spare time?
I love being with my wife Robin, whether we’re doing nothing or doing something; everything is better when she’s around.

A restaurant I’d love to visit:
I would love to go to Atelier Crenn in San Francisco. Dominique Crenn is the first woman in America to earn two Michelin stars, a feat that is all but impossible. But beyond that, she writes her menu every night in the form of a poem, and that speaks to the very core of me, since written word is one of my greatest joys.

One thing you definitely don’t know about me is…
I was a puppeteer in college. On break when I would head back to Michigan from UGA, I would take out a hand-carved wooden puppet show in the summers and tour the public libraries in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I was the only woman they hired, since the work was incredibly physical. I had to build a whole stage with a curtain rod and light bar, sometimes two times a day and drive anywhere from three to seven hours to set up these shows. My dad printed out all of the maps, and we calculated that I drove 26,000 miles in three months when I was just 22 years old. Still the coolest job ever!.

1 New Orleans Rd.
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 686-3100
www.gopomodori.com
amanda@gopomodori.com
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Rita Godfrey
Manager, Island Bagel, Bluffton
Years in F&B: 6

Describe one of your earliest food memories.
At Island Bagel, it would be trying to remember everything. Have you seen the menu?

What would your autobiography be called?
Peace and Love, Finally!

What magazines and books have you read recently?
Southern Living and Country Living magazines, and I’m reading Things that Matter, by Charles Krauthammer.

If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Collards, fried catfish, and good dessert.

What do you do in your spare time?
Gardening, boating, and keeping chickens.

A restaurant I’d love to visit would have to be… Southern.

One thing you definitely don’t know about me is… I’d rather be in the garden.

Favorite guilty pleasure:
Back massage.

Favorite customer…
Oh, my gosh, I love them all!

What is your favorite drink pairing with one of your menu items?
Hazelnut coffee.

What’s your secret to keeping customers coming in?
Great consistent food and a big Southern smile.

What’s your go-to snack?
Chocolate covered cherries.

17 Sherington Park Dr.
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 815-5300
www.islandbagelanddeli.com
Islandbagel@gmail.com

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Shelby, Carey & Nicole Basciano & Street Meet Staff
Owners of Street Meet The American Tavern
Years in F&B: 25+, Street Meet turns 13 this year.

What is your favorite restaurant in the area (other than the one you own) and why?
Hudson’s, Fiesta Fresh, Java Burrito, Guiseppi’s—really anything locally owned and operated!

If you could only eat three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Nicole: Tough call. Is wine a food? Probably my mom’s homemade squid sauce.

Cake or pie?
Carey: Carrot cake by Bonnie Ross!

What is the best advice you ever received?
Enjoy the moment!

Drink of choice: Street Meet peach tea or an ice cold beer.

If you had to choose another profession, it would be…
Carey: I used to draw all the ads for Harbourside Café in Sea Pines, so probably a cartoonist.

Favorite holiday and why:
Thanksgiving—family, friends and football.

What do you dip your chicken nuggets in?
Homemade honey mustard and homemade ranch from Street Meet, of course!

Your spare time is filled with:
Family activities. Shelby and I have three daughters: Piper, 11, Syd, 13, and Zoey,15, plus Nicole, my sister, our GM at Street Meet, and my dad live here. In another month, my in-laws will be moving to the area from Syracuse, NY.

95 Mathews Drive Port Royal Plaza
HHI, SC 29926
(843) 842-2570
www.streetmeethhi.com
streetmeethhi@hargray.com

__________________


Steven Gruber
Gruby’s New York Deli
Years in business: 32

A restaurant I would love to visit:
Louie’s Italian Restaurant at the boarder of da Bronx and Yonkers.

If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Veal parmesan; egg foo yung; and oven roast beef with mashed potatoes, string beans and brown gravy.

Favorite customer:
Too many to list. We’ve had customers coming in for 30+ years; they’re all very special!

What is your favorite drink pairing with one of your menu items?
Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda with pastrami on rye with spicy mustard.

Secret to keep customers coming:
Consistency! Treat them like family.

Favorite local restaurant other than your own: Santa Fe Café. Never had a bad meal there!

Earliest food memory:
My grandmother making me potato pancakes and matzo meal pancakes (Latkes).

890 William Hilton Parkway
Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928
(843) 842-9111
www.grubysnydeli.com


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