Heidi Trull was born in Sumter, and her husband, Joe, grew up working in his family's bakery in Winston-Salem, N.C.
After stops at several restaurants, he became the pastry chef at Emeril Lagasse's French Quarter restaurant, Nola. She also worked at a number of restaurants before joining him at Nola. The Trulls decided they wanted to return to the Carolinas to raise their son, Tom, and eventually opened Grits & Groceries in Belton.
The restaurant closed in 2019, but Trull missed it so much that she and husband, Joe, took on a pair of business partners and reopened their venture a year later. Patrons once again fell in line, drawn to Trull's "eclectic soul food with a twist" that is served for lunch three days a week, during weekly Thursday night suppers, and at catering events.
She answered a few questions:
Q: What or who inspired you to become a chef?
A: My mother, because she didn't cook.
Q: What are you cooking these days that excites you the most?
A: Excited to be making ice cream using Watson & Lisa Dorn's Hickory Hill Milk, a low temp producer who is local.
Q: What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done in a restaurant kitchen?
A: One time we sent a "to go" order out to a customer about 30 minutes away. It was three burgers. When they got to their destination, they discovered we had sent the buns only, no meat!
Q: Is there a food you simply refuse to eat?
A: Chicken fingers.
Q: What would your dream meal be?
A: Three courses of foie gras. I had this meal, by the way, on the final day of my latest trip to France. It was scrumptious.
Q: How important is presentation?
A: 100 percent.
Q: What's the best tip you can give a home cook?
A: Eat out more often (!) and be adventurous with your ingredients.
Q: What is something you recently learned even after all of your cooking experience?
A: Stuck on this one.....I know I did learn something just last week, but it escapes me. I said, "Hey! I learned something new."
Q: If you were not a chef, what would you be doing?
A: A contractor or riding horses.