Our series: ‘The Faces Behind The Campaign’ with Charleston Wine + Food Festival http://charlestonwineandfood.com continues with our individual profiles of our 6 local F&B industry professionals who are all part of this years marketing campaign. This year’s theme for the CHSWFF photo shoot was: Just The Right Amount of Wrong. Instead of the perfectly styled plate, this year’s approach aimed to feature and highlight: THE PROCESS. Inspired by what really happens in the kitchen on any given day; sauce splatters, flying flour, taste testing, wine spills and so much more! The real culinary process of creating remarkable food and a fantastic dining experiences is one that is imperfect behind the scenes and birthed in a place of organized chaos where tensions are high and expectations even higher. But then comes the point that the food is perfectly plated, presented and served.
As foodies, food lovers and connoisseurs, our curiosity is drawn to not only the final product but also the entire experience as a whole, messy and beautiful. Imperfect and yet perfect, all at once. Photographer: Andrew Cebulka http://andrewcebulka.com captured the team in a breath-taking spread of photos that brought it to life. This has been an amazing project to be part of and I am grateful for the opportunity to feature it and share some behind the scenes sneak peek looks of our team in real life action that I have taken as a follow-up for this series. (The first set of images in this segment are taken by: Andrew Cebulka and everything following are my behind the scenes shots).
CHEF JACOB HUDER
479 King St. Charleston, SC 29401
Jacob Huder attended Mercer University in Macon, GA, where he studied hospitality management. He began his career working at the Old Faithful Inn at Snow Lodge in Yellowstone National Park where we waited tables, worked behind the bar and eventually became the F&B manager. Interested in pursuing his culinary career farther he moved to CHS and attended The Art Institute of Charleston. Graduating in 2010, he went to work at Carolina’s where he worked every position in the kitchen and where he met Chef Jeremiah Bacon, who mentored him and he followed to Oak Steakhouse. In 2011 when The MacIntosh opened he was part of the opening team, where he now serves as Chef de Cuisine. Check out his food and the restaurant at, http://themacintoshcharleston.com
Some stories resonate more than others. Before I met Jacob and we began working on this series, I knew of him by reputation only. I’ve eaten at The MacIntosh several times and have always enjoyed the food and atmosphere but didn’t know anyone that worked at the restaurant. Sometimes you meet someone and once you’ve heard their story, its makes you like the food and place even more than you already did, this is completely the case after meeting Jacob. He is extremely passionate, humble, diligent and a hard worker. The level of dedication he exemplifies and lives in his daily life, is hard to find in a world where everyone wants to be a famous chef on tv before they even begin culinary school. But-that’s-not-Jacob-Huder’s-story. He started at the beginning, took chances, put in the time and remains steadfast. He credits his rising success to the support of his wife, his mentor Jeremiah Bacon, his previous and current co-workers..whom he individually, named several of them (during our interview) and shared what they each taught him and how they all had a part in shaping the chef he is now and inspired him to be, the best version of himself. I really enjoyed working on this project with him and I’m excited to share more from his interview as a continuation of our series with Charleston Wine + Food.
CHSFW: What inspired you to pursue your career?
JH: Growing up my family always instilled the importance of hospitality. Food was an incredibly important part of that: ham, turkey, collard greens, bananas foster, among others. Food was always at the center of our gatherings. During and after college I was picking up jobs in restaurants waiting tables and bartending. After a while I found myself gravitating toward the kitchen. I would go in on my days off to work and learn about food. It was years later that I was rediscovering my parents’ lessons in a new light. I realized I wanted to create something special. I wanted people to remember it. I wanted to give people an experience that they would talk about.
CHSFW: How did you get your start?
JH: I convinced my then girlfriend, now wife, to move to Charleston to start my culinary career. I started going to the Art Institute. After a couple of months, with no experience, knowledge, and not any skills that a chef would want in a kitchen, I walked into a restaurant called Carolinas. Jeremiah Bacon was the Executive Chef at the time. I told him that I had no idea what I was doing but I was a hard worker and a quick study. Surprisingly, Jeremiah asked me to stage for a day. I thought, ‘Sure. There was no way he was going to hire me!’ He must have been pretty desperate because he offered me a job. I managed to convince him to keep me around for several years and I absorbed everything I could. Since then, I haven’t turned back. I am grateful that he took a chance on me.
CHSFW: Advice for someone looking to pursue a job in the culinary field?
JH: Make sure that you love the industry as much as you love to cook.
CHSFW: What makes working in Charleston unique right now?
JH: The opportunity to work and learn from all the talented chefs here in Charleston. You don’t have to look very far or hard to be challenged or inspired. It’s everywhere in this town. And there are really no excuses not to try new things. The amount of fresh produce and local seafood we have access to is incredible. It makes my job fun! It’s really neat to be able to call a farmer and talk to them directly about what they have and work with those ingredients right away.
CHSFW: 3 things you aspire to be or do?
CHSFW: What do you think it takes to make a successful team in the kitchen?
JH: It’s like being on a sports team. Everyone has to be on the same page. I played every sport that exists while growing up…this is exactly the same, we all have to work towards the same goal and do it together.
CHSFW: What is your personal favorite food to eat? And favorite beverage?
JH: Philly cheese steak or a burger and served with (of course) tater tots. Any whiskey cocktail.
CHSFW: What are you most looking forward to with the upcoming festival?
JH: Seeing the chefs come to town. Having them come to the restaurant and cooking with them and for them.
CHSFW: For someone who has never been to the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, how would you describe it?
JH: Its exciting, stimulating and FUN…from the day it starts until the last event ends. Its just a lot of fun!