NY Michelin Chef building relationship in Charleston

Helen Mitternight

By Helen Mitternight

Chef John Fraseris coming to Charleston, and like any relationship, there may be rough patches. But he wants you to know up front that he will apologize, and he’s “not an asshole.”

Fraser is openingThe Loyalat465 Meeting Streetat Meeting and Columbus Streets in what is commonly referred to as theGreystar Buildingsometime this fall, and he’s bringing hisMichelin-starredreputation with him from his stint in New York. He wants Charleston to know that “if you’re judging on merit, we’re going to win every time. It’s pretty simple. Quality wins.”

Fraser learned that quality, in part, from celebrity chefThomas Kellerof theThe French Laundry.

“I have moments when I think, ‘What Would Thomas Do?’ He showed me the soft and generous side, and the hard and precise order side. He taught me, ‘Treat it like it’s yours and someday it will be’,” Fraser says.

Still, he knows that bringing his successful formula to Charleston isn’t going to be “just a copy and paste,” but will build on “the good DNA” of Fraser’s other establishments in New York.

The Loyal brasserie will feature dishes, including the ½-pound Piedmontese Burger with a 22-step Tomato, Duck Fat Tater Tots and a family-style dessert platter called The Candy Shop and Sundae Set.

Fraser hopes to build a culture that will buck Charleston’s notorious F&B staffing shortage, but he admits that problem is down the road. Right now, he’s focused on design and menu creation. But, when the time comes, “we’re hoping to find great people. We’ll be hiring a local chef and a local GM.”

The food won’t just be a Charleston/New York pastiche.

“I had pecan hush puppies the other night,” Fraser says. “They were delicious. I have no idea how to cook them. I’m not trying to take Charleston food and just work it through my lens. That being said, I do intend to buy local and create relationships with local [purveyors].”

He wants his relationship with Charleston to succeed. Fraser chose the Holy City because “the food scene is growing and there’s an attention to restaurants unlike most other cities.”

Charleston Wine + FoodFestival-goers have a chance to meet him. Fraser will be in theCulinary Villageon Friday, March 6th from 1:45 p.m.-3 p.m.