by Helen Mitternight
(Editor's 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.”)
Walk into Sarah O’Kelley’s domain at Edmund’s Oast Exchange, and you’re in a whole library of wines stacked floor to ceiling. Certified sommelier O’Kelley loves her wine from the Old World, where years of limestone prep the soil for delicious grapes, but she doesn’t judge if you want your wine new and dessert-sweet.
Favorite Kitchen Tool or Gadget: For food, a microplane is hard to beat. For wine, a Coravin. It’s expensive, but it helps keep the wine fresh.
In My Refrigerator (3 Things): Well, wine, obviously. And also cheese. And always have Duke’s Mayonnaise.
In My Pantry (3 Things): Granola from Butcher & Bee; Carolina Gold Rice; Zingerman’s sun-dried couscous.
Favorite After-work Hangout: My house, especially when it’s light out and I can sit on the back deck. But also Graft (Wine Shop & Bar). I love the vibe there.
Favorite Charleston Restaurant Other Than Yours: FIG and Chez Nous.
Comfort Food: A grilled ribeye from Ted’s (Butcher Block).
Favorite Smell: We’re so lucky to live in Charleston, where we have all those spring flower smells! And I love the smell of Chenin Blanc.
Favorite Drink: Wine, especially Chenin Blanc. But I also like Champagne, sparkling wine especially Chenin Blanc, and Burgundies, both white and red.
Number of Hours You Work a Week: I don’t like to count them!
Customer Pet Peeve: I can’t think of any. I love customer service!
Most Under-rated Ingredient: Salt. You can use it to balance a dessert.
Favorite Meal to Cook at Home: Gumbo.
Best Advice a Mentor Gave You: I always go back to Charlie Trotter and it was if you want to know about food, or any subject, go get your hands dirty.
Edmund’s Oast and Edmund’s Oast Exchange are at 1081-B Morrison Dr, Charleston.
Listen to the companion podcast here: