In the Kitchen with Chef Kerry Armbruster

By:Gwen Fowler


South Carolina's ​Kerry Armbruster, executive chef of The Ol​d Edgefield Grill in Edg​efield
​Kerry Armbruster is the executive chef of The Ol​d Edgefield Grill in Edg​efield

Kerry Armbruster is the executive chef of The Old Edgefield Grill, an Edgefield restaurant in a beautiful home built in the early 1900s.

Armbruster said he focuses on local cuisine using local vegetables. While the food style is Southern, there also are Asian, Italian and Cajun influences. Open for lunch and dinner, specialties at night are fresh ocean fish, aged Angus steaks and specials often featuring wild game and pasta.

Q: What are your favorite spring and summer ingredients?
The fresh vegetables and the fruits. We’re enjoying peaches from our area, which is a big peach-growing area. Vidalia onions, asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers.

Q: Which chefs inspire you?
That’s a pretty hard question. Thomas Keller or Roy Yamaguchi. Of the media chefs, I like Guy Fieri’s concept of bringing America into our living rooms.

Q: What’s your prediction for the next big food or restaurant trend?
I would probably say it’s going to be, and I see it progressing more and more every day, street food. You have people doing vending. You have this mixing bowl of foods. When you see it on TV, you see people lining up for five items done exceptionally well.

Q: Which three cooking gadgets or tools are your favorites?
A Chinese chef’s cleaver, a mandolin and a wire cheese slicer.

Q: What was your first job in food? What did you learn?
I started in 1977 as a bartender, and I worked for a franchise group, Steak and Ale. Then I went to a beach resort and worked in the bar. One day the cook would be gone, and you’d have to make sandwiches and flip burgers. I later went to Switzerland and trained.

Q: What would your dream meal be?
I find lobster that has been perfectly poached in a beurre blanc (white wine butter sauce) is the ultimate.

Q: What’s the best tip you can give a home cook?
Watch TV. I think the Food Network has taken food into the house better than Betty Crocker or Julia Child ever could have. There’s something for everybody.

Q: Even chefs don’t eat gourmet every night. What is your ultimate comfort food or quick meal?
I am basically a salad eater. Just a big salad. I could have anything grilled on it. On the road, I hope to get a good slice of pizza. My favorite place to go out to eat is a good Asian restaurant.

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