HIDDEN F&B: Karnan Devlin, Morgan Creek Grill
By Helen Mitternight . Photos by Ferris Kaplan.
(Editors Note: Charleston is such a foodie town that food and beverage superstars are hiding in plain sight, out of the James Beard limelight, but still very much creating and serving amazing food and drinks. This series profiles Charleston’s “hidden F&Bs.”)
Cooking on a cruise ship and riding the waves may have prepared Karnan Devlin for balancing two dining rooms at Morgan Creek Grill, where she was named executive chef at the end of August. The Isle of Palms beach restaurant has a casual dining room up top and a more formal menu at the ground level. Devlin attended culinary school at Drexel University in Philadelphia before cutting her culinary teeth at Virginia’s on King once she landed in Charleston.
Favorite Kitchen Tool or Gadget: The Hobart Mixer. It works really well for everything.
In My Refrigerator (3 Things): Unsalted butter, cheese – especially Brie, and eggs. Eggs make a good, quick meal.
In My Pantry (3 Things): Kosher salt, tuna in water, chickpeas. I eat chickpeas like a snack.
Favorite After-work Hangout: The Dinghy on Isle of Palms.
Favorite Charleston Restaurant Other Than Yours: Magnolia’s. It’s great food and I’ve never had a bad meal or bad service there.
Comfort Food: Lasagna. I usually put in some sausage, a lot of cheese, and some spinach and mushrooms. If I have any leftover vegetables around, I put them in too.
Favorite Smell: Cooking bacon.
Favorite Drink: Beer. I like IPAs.
Number of Hours You Work a Week: 60-70
Customer Pet Peeve: People who have dietary restrictions that aren’t allergies. I understand if the allergies are a real thing, but if it’s just that you don’t like it, it’s not a real allergy.
Most Under-rated Ingredient: Unsalted butter. You can do pretty much anything with it.
Favorite Meal to Cook at Home: I like to cook breakfast, especially blueberry pancakes and eggs.
Best Advice a Mentor Gave You: One of my first bosses told me to take the time to relax and figure out what you’re doing. Don’t get too caught up in you head and forget to focus on the big picture.
Morgan Creek Grill is at 80 41st Street, Isle of Palms. Hours are 10 am – 2 pm for Sunday brunch. The upper deck is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 am – 11 pm and Sunday 1 pm – 11 pm. The dining room downstairs is open Tuesday –Sunday 5 pm – 10 pm.