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Meet 2018 South Carolina Chef Ambassador Michelle Weaver

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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chef ambassador michelle weaver
2018 Chef Ambassador Michelle Weaver of Charleston Grill.

From the helm of one of Charleston's most storied kitchens, Michelle Weaver not only created a culinary legacy, but earned herself the title of South Carolina Chef Ambassador for 2018. Through the initiative, chefs from across the state are selected to promote South Carolina's culinary heritage and local food culture through cooking demonstrations, guest appearances and educational programs. 

In her years of serving as executive chef of Charleston Grill, Chef Weaver's culinary aesthetic earned the establishment the distinction of being the most elegant, unforgettable dining experience in a city teeming with great dining. In 2023, she transitioned into an exciting new role as culinary ambassador for Charleston Grill as well as all the restaurants of Charleston Place. In this capacity, she oversees recruitment and training while providing mentorship for new staff and expert direction for recipe and menu development.

In other words, she might not be working the kitchen each day, but her influence is the driving force that keeps these restaurants in the upper echelon of dining experiences.

Chef Weaver's distinctive approach to food was built upon a convergence of pathways taken as she navigated her way to executive chef-hood. A native of Decatur, Alabama, she was raised on the iron-skillet Southern cooking of her mother and, as an adult, mentored by Chef Bob Waggoner during his time in Nashville. Weaver followed him to Charleston Grill in 1997, where she assisted in the kitchen for 11 years, learning the nuances of French-influenced cuisine while developing a love for Lowcountry ingredients. When Waggoner left to pursue other opportunities in 2009, she assumed the position of executive chef.

Here, Weaver shares some insights about herself and her chef philosophies:


Chef Michelle Weaver in the kitchen
Chef Michelle Weaver oversees staff training, menu development, and dining operations for Charleston Place.

Q: Where did you get your inspiration to pursue a career in the culinary arts?

A: "I had been working in some capacity in food and beverage since I was 18. But it wasn't until my mid-20s, when a friend came home from the Culinary Institute of America and opened a restaurant, that I realized I could go to school and pursue a career. So, I packed up my little red Cavalier and moved to Vermont to go to the New England Culinary Institute. The rest is history."

Q: What's the most important rule in the Charleston Place kitchens?

A: "Communication. Communication. Communication. Good communication is the backbone of a successful team."

Q: What makes being a chef in South Carolina such a special experience?

A: "Working with the BOUNTY of beautiful products that South Carolina provides, from the farmers to the fisherman and everyone in between. It's a chest filled with toys made for a chef's heart."

Q: What South Carolina ingredients do you value the most and why?

A: "Whatever is in season at the time. I especially love the beautiful fish and shellfish that comes out of our waterways."

Q: What were your goals as a South Carolina Chef Ambassador?

A: "I looked forward to exploring other parts of the state and meeting new people who grow and create products. I focused on connecting more farmers to chefs and/or consumers. If more people would ask for local products, more grocery stores would stock fresh, seasonal and local!"


Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.