Andrea Upchurch, Obstinate Daughter & Beardcat’s Sweet Shop (Sullivan’s Island, SC)

photo: aaron kotowaski

photo: aaron kotowaski

I met pastry chef Andrea Upchurch years ago when we judged a food contest together, and I knew that we were going to be friends from the beginning -- she was wearing vintage shoes and little confection earrings. But beyond that fashion interest, she’s one of the most loved chefs in Charleston, SC, inspiring classes of pastry cooks through her tenure at Cypress, Magnolia, and Blossom downtown, and she’s now leading a team to sweet success at The Obstinate Daughter and Beardcat’s Sweet Shop on Sullivan’s Island. It might seem that she can cruise on a candy highway now since she knows her craft so well, but as a mother and a manager, she spends a lot of time thinking about how best to balance her professional pursuits, her team’s needs, and her family’s well being, an aspect of chef life we rarely see discussed but a juggling act that is present in many a professional kitchen. Oh, and P.S. She mentions Jacques Larson, her executive chef, frequently in this episode, and you can hear him directly on Episode 11.

Episode 152 ›

 

 

Sara McIntyre, Crabtree Farms (Chattanooga, TN)

photo: stephanie burt

photo: stephanie burt

When I visited Chattanooga a few weeks ago, I wanted the air to be mountain cool, but instead, the morning I headed to visit Crabtree Farms, an urban farm just minutes from my downtown hotel, the air was thick with humidity and almost just as hot as the temps I’d left in Charleston. Still, executive director Sara McIntyre greeted me with a sparkling smile, and I soon understood why. Crabtree Farms is a little slice of wonderful to work in. We traipsed over acres, sampling flowers, herbs, paw-paw fruit, and tiny gold tomatoes right from the vine that were warm to the touch. Sara, a former school science teacher who completed her graduate studies at Teton Science School Graduate Program in Grand Teton National Park, does more than just lead farm tours. The farm is a hub for the community, and she has her hands in all parts of it, dirt under her fingernails, and a hope that springs forth even as weather and climate often create chaos.

Episode 153 >

Nick Dowling & Jeremiah Schenzel, Daps Breakfast & Imbibe (Charleston, SC)

photo: jill schenzel

photo: jill schenzel

I’ve written about Daps Breakfast & Imbibe a few times since its opening in the Westside neighborhood of Charleston, SC, I’ve judged a cocktail contest there, I’ve known owners Nick Dowling and Jeremiah Schenzel for years, and I’ve had plenty of meetings over pancakes, so in my mind, this breakfast and brunch spot is the very definition of a neighborhood haunt that feels like home. Speaking of definitions, the word “daps” means “feast” in Latin, and this is a place where you can feast on fruity pebbles pancakes while sipping El Maestro Sierra Sherry if you wish. It’s a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but its owners are seriously ambitious and just getting started.  

Episode  154 >