HIDDEN F&B: Valerie Pearson, Charleston Place
By Helen Mitternight
(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.”)
You seldom hear about someone staying 25 years in one place in this industry, but Valerie Pearson has been at Charleston Place that long. Go to any banquet and taste the shrimp salad or any cold food, or attend the Teddy Bear Tea, and that’s all Valerie.
Favorite Kitchen Tool or Gadget: A sharp knife or a Japanese Mandoline. I like to do spiral cuts.
In My Refrigerator (3 Things): Unsalted butter, free range eggs and spinach.
In My Pantry (3 Things): Green tea, natural brown sugar and sardines. I love to eat sardines straight from the can on crackers.
Favorite After-work Hangout: Church.
Favorite Charleston Restaurant Other Than Yours: Coosaw Creek Crab Shack. I like the seafood platter.
Comfort Food: Seafood.
Favorite Smell: Roses.
Favorite Drink: Water. I don’t drink alcohol.
Number of Hours You Work a Week: 60
Customer Pet Peeve: Indecisiveness. I like customers who know what they want. Some people will say they don’t like a picky customer, but that doesn’t bother me because they know what they want.
Most Under-rated Ingredient: Celery. It enhances so many things, from shrimp salad to beef stew.
Favorite Meal to Cook at Home: Pasta. I love pasta. I make garlic cream sauce or pesto cream sauce. One of my favorites is penne with spinach, tomatoes, pesto and shrimp.
Best Advice a Mentor Gave You: Be yourself, follow your dreams, be true to yourself. That was always what this woman from church, Phyllis Crouch, used to say.
Charleston Place is at 205 Meeting Street, Charleston.
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