England, France, Switzerland - Chef Eric Masson's culinary career sent him zigzagging across Europe before he landed in the US and assumed the helm of The Brentwood Restaurant & Wine Bistro. The Little River fine dining restaurant enjoys an iconic reputation along the Grand Strand, thanks to Masson's kitchen wizardry. His expertise as a classically trained French chef has earned him a loyal local following and the attention of discerning tourists visiting the South Carolina coast.
Simply fresh - that's the mantra in Masson's kitchen. "Local" and "sustainable" are key terms when it comes to developing dishes. Seafood from the South Carolina coast, prime beef and farm-fresh vegetables make for some of Masson's finest French-influenced creations. "I am always looking for the freshest ingredients," he said. "I am working with local farmers and fishermen to find sustainable products to offer to my patrons."
Visuals also play a key role in Masson's culinary philosophy. "Presentation is 50 percent of a dish," he said.
Masson earned two culinary degrees in France before heading to England to put them to the test at Piccadilly Circus restaurant Criterion Brasserie. He then returned to France and worked in Paris restaurants for two years. To gain a fully comprehensive understanding of restaurant dynamics, Masson went back to school, attending Ferrandi Culinary School to learn about wine, as well as management, accounting and marketing. A stint in the French Army landed him a position as private chef to a colonel during his time of service. Once he fulfilled his military duties, Masson assisted with the opening of Le Quincampe in Paris, where he served as chef and manager for five years. It was love that convinced Masson to take his culinary passions across the ocean to the US to be with wife Kimberlee, a native of New York. Together, they opened two restaurants successfully, but a vacation to South Carolina changed everything yet again. The couple fell in love with the Myrtle Beach area and knew they'd found their perfect home in Little River. Drawn to the charm of The Brentwood, housed in a 1910 Victorian house, they bought the restaurant in 2007. Masson has been accumulating accolades ever since, offering diners one of the most elegant dining experiences along the coast.