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Chef Spotlight: Chef Robert Stehling of Hominy Grill, Charleston

Staff Writer Staff Writer
Chef Robert Stehling, Owner & Operator of Hominy Grill in Charleston

Lauded by such food authorities as R.W. Apple and John martin Taylor and spotlighted in everything from Gourmet Magazine to the New York Times, Stehling has built a national reputation in recent years. Before opening the Hominy Grill with his wife Nunally Kersh in 1996, he yielded a chef's knife at top New York Restaurants, but he learned to cook under the guidance of Bill Neal, the Chapel Hill chef who penned such Southern standards as "Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie" and "Bill Neal's Southern Cooking".

After working his way up from dishwasher to head chef at Crook's Corner, Stehling moved to New York where he worked under such chefs as Brendan Walsh (Arizona 206), John Schenck (Monkey Bar) and David Page (Home Restaurant).

Since opening the Hominy Grill, Chef Stehling has garnered significant praise both nationally and locally for his devotion to classic southern dishes and an ability to innovate while remaining true to the roots of southern tradition.

He may take it seriously, but he also has fun with food, updating Southern classics by borrowing from other traditions or adding a twist of hi own. He looks to the seasons and local sources to produce such feel-good specialties as fried catfish with poached eggs, shrimp gravy and grits and BLT's made with fried green tomatoes. Hospitable, unpretentious and layered with deep flavor, Stehling's cooking showcases Southern heritage past and present.

He is deeply committed to serving fresh seasonal food prepared from ingredients that are produced locally whenever possible. Hominy Grill is a proud member of the SC Aquarium's Sustainable Seafood Project as well as other groups and national organizations which seek to encourage sustainable practices and improve the quality and taste of food we eat.

In 2008, Stehling was named Best Chef Southeast by the prestigious James Beard Foundation, making him the first Charleston-based chef to win this award.

Hominy Grill is a Charleston institution serving classic southern specialties that taste just like Grandma used to make (if Grandma had known how to cook, that is!) They don't open any cans; all is prepared from scratch with fresh, locally raised ingredients and are open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Staff Writer
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