One of Charleston's best-known restaurants is the Charleston Grill at the Charleston Place Hotel, where Chef Michelle Weaver has presided over the kitchen for about 16 years.
She came to the Charleston Grill in 1997 as the executive sous chef under Chef Bob Waggoner. She became executive chef in early 2009 after Weaver left.
She describes Charleston Grill as "Southern, cosmopolitan, lush and pure."
Q: What are you cooking these days that excites you the most?
A: We were surprised early with some great local strawberries from Ambrose Farms. Fantastic!!
Q: What's the one ingredient you'd always splurge on?
A: We always splurge on quality. You can't make chicken salad out of chicken poop.
Q: What five things are always in your refrigerator?
A: Water, coffee, good cheese, tamari and a variety of mustards.
Q: What tools would you suggest every home cook invest in?
A: Quality chef's knife, microplane and a cast iron skillet.
Q: What music plays in your restaurant kitchen?
A: No music in the kitchen. We want everyone focused on the food.
Q: What would your dream meal be?
A: Fried egg and tomato sandwich. Of course, the egg and tomato would have to come from my mother's little farm.
Q: Is there a food you simply refuse to eat?
A: Durian. (It's a strange-looking Asian fruit with a strong odor.) I've tried, but it just doesn't make me smile.
Q: If you were not a chef, what would you do?
A: Raise goats and make cheese.