Hidden F&B: Shamil Velazquez

The latest episode of the culinary podcast for Charleston Grit is live with one of The Neighborhood Dining Group's top talents.


By Helen Mitternight 


Editor's note: Charleston is such a foodie town that food and beverage superstars are hiding in plain sight, out of theJames Beardlimelight, but still very much creating and serving amazing food and drinks. This series profiles Charleston’s “Hidden F&Bs.”


After a stint interning with Jose Andres — yes, the World Central Kitchen superstar — he moved to Charleston and had to learn about a whole different bevy of produce.


Shamil Velazquez learned to cook in his native Puerto Rico from a family that includes family cooks as well as professional chefs. But it was when he studied culinary arts in California that he started to understand the importance of farm-to-table and sustainable kitchens. After a stint interning withJose Andres— yes, theWorld Central Kitchensuperstar — he moved to Charleston and had to learn about a whole different bevy of produce. Since then, he has become the executive chef atDelaney’s Oyster Houseand handles the same role at the recently reopenedMinero Mexican Grill & Cantinaon Johns Island.


Shamil’s take


Favorite kitchen tool or gadget

A mini whisk. A good one is hard to find.


In my refrigerator (three things)

Ketchup, sofrito, eggs


In my pantry (three things)

Soy sauce, adobo, sazón seasoning


Comfort food

We call it “Katie’s Meal.” Katie is my wife, and she loves roasted chicken, potatoes and Frank’s Hot Sauce. I also love rice and beans.


Favorite smell

Culantro. It smells a lot like cilantro and oregano. It’s the secret to rice and beans!


Favorite drink

I’m a big orange juice guy.


Number of hours you work a week

Next question! To be honest, I don’t think about it, I just keep working.


Customer pet peeve

My pet peeve is calling them customers and not guests! Otherwise, I don’t have any pet peeves. At the end of the day, they’re paying, so why would I have a pet peeve?


Most underrated ingredient

Annatto seed. I use it in oils, it has a bitterness to it.


Best advice a mentor gave you

I heard it from my uncle for years. It’s in Spanish, but it means, “Don’t mess things up so they will last you.” Also, to be patient and humble.


If you want to learn more about Shamil Velazquez, catch his appearance on this month'sCharleston Grit episode of the Hidden F&B podcast here. 


Shamil Headshot Andrew Cebulka
Image by Andrew Cebulka


Curious who's hiding elsewhere? Check out national episodeshere.