When your staff refers to you as “Mama,” you know you’ve reached the pinnacle of leadership in the kitchen. While it’s true Chef Michelle Weaver’s maternal qualities have earned her great affection, make no mistake: She's also a firm commander, ensuring that the dining service at Charleston Grill runs seamlessly. Hiccups are rare at this elegant, award-winning restaurant, earning it consistent rave reviews for both cuisine and ambiance. Since 2009, Weaver has run a tight ship and built a reputation so impressive she was named a South Carolina Chef Ambassador in 2018.
“Fresh from the garden” is the foundation of Weaver’s aesthetic, but that’s no cliché. Her mother’s talented green thumb meant a bounty of homegrown vegetables graced the family table each day. Weaver carries that tradition into the kitchen of Charleston Grill, takng it a few steps further by transforming simple foods into masterpieces that pique all the senses. “A chest filled with toys made for a chef’s heart” – that’s how Weaver thinks of South Carolina’s rich culinary abundance.
In her mid-20s, Weaver realized her culinary calling, left her home state of Alabama and pursued formal training at the New England Culinary Institute. Then it was on to the gastronomic mecca of New Orleans for an internship in the French-influenced kitchen of Chef Daniel Bonnot. But it was her stint at Nashville’s The Wild Boar that would eventually land her at the helm of one of Charleston’s most elite restaurants. There, she worked under the masterful guidance of Chef Bob Waggoner, who took Weaver with him when he accepted the executive chef position at Charleston Grill in 1997. When he left to pursue other opportunities, Weaver was the natural choice to ascend to the helm of the kitchen.
“I was fortunate to land in a place where I could create dishes with a blend of both Southern and global influences,” Weaver said. “My palate leads the way.”