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The Series

Previous Chef Dinners

May 26th, 2022
Prepared by Chef Mike Ellis


Spicy sesame shrimp wonton with smoked neufchatel

Asian chopped salad with muscadine shoyu vinaigrette

Charred Teriyaki pork with Caribbean curried rice and garlic-chili stir-fried seasonal vegetables

Local strawberry lemon shortcake with coconut ginger ice cream

Rates: $60


About Chef Mike Ellis:

Chef Mike Ellis is from Dayton, Ohio. He learned to love food and cooking from a young age from his parents and grandparents. He is currently the Culinary director at LTC Hospitality and Executive Chefs at The Grand on Main and The Main Course in downtown Columbia. Chef Ellis has 4 daughters and recently married the love of his life, Rebekah.

July 23rd
Prepared by Chef Will Lacey



“Egg Salad”: Soft boiled egg, halved, served on top of buttermilk biscuit breadcrumbs with a jalapeño-avocado cream sauce and garnish


Charred Corn + Tomato Salad with pecans and lemon curd vinaigrette


Shrimp Roll: Fresh South Carolina shrimp with a blueberry-herb-yogurt dressing


Peach Bread Pudding with Fresh Cinnamon-Gran Marnier Whipped Cream

Rates: $60


About Chef Chef Will Lacey:

Growing up on a cattle farm in Awendaw, South Carolina, Chef Will Lacey saw from an early age how distinctive and delicious Lowcountry cuisine can be. After a career spent in restaurant kitchens, founding and running a specialty food company, and catering special events and popups, he started Driftwood Pantry in Spring 2018 to share his culinary philosophy of food that is rooted in Charleston, peppered with global influences.
A completely self-taught chef, Lacey was always surrounded by talented artists in the home kitchen. During his time at the University of South Carolina, Lacey’s first professional position was as a bartender and cook at Bar None in Columbia, SC, which he credits for helping him find his passion and way into the kitchen.
With the blessing of Bar None’s owner, Marty Dreesen, Lacey began introducing occasional food specials. One thing led to another and he started preparing small orders in his off time for friends which, in turn, led to bigger orders and a catering company, Yellow Dog Barbecue (with a huge assist from Lou Hutto from Columbia’s LowCo BBQ, who became Lacey’s “Barbecue Sherpa”).
His next steps were popup food tents at Conquest Brewing Company in Columbia as well as working with numerous restaurants to help develop their kitchens and menus. This was all while Lacey worked to launch a specialty food company, Savvy Foods, named after his childhood yellow lab. Savvy launched, grew across the East Coast and garnered international interest, and Lacey found himself doing popup dinners from Columbia to Richmond, VA to Boston, MA.
Lacey started Driftwood Pantry in 2018 to provide products and services designed to foster a sense of community. The Driftwood philosophy is that food is best enjoyed amongst others, and Lacey believes that food has the ability to turn strangers into friends and friends into family. Driftwood Pantry’s services include: catering and special events, chef and product collaborations, and product and brand development.
Food and community touch every aspect of Lacey’s life, and he works closely with non-profits such as Richmond, VA’s EAT Foundation and his own organization, Second Supper, which helps recognize the vital role that immigrants have long played in the food industry, and financially supports members of that community.
When not in the kitchen, you can find Lacey spending time with his yellow lab Dixie, exploring the Lowcountry’s best food and drink, and dreaming about the cuisine of Oaxaca, Mexico.
May 14th
Prepared by Chefs Isaiah and Jessica Carswell
Seared Tuna Deviled Eggs


Spring greens, candied lardon, apricot vinaigrette, feta cheese foam


Steak Diane, fava bean succotash, barbecue carrot


Peach cobbler with apple butter gelato

About Chefs Isaiah and Jessica Carswell:

Chef Isaiah Carswell, and wife Jessica, both have over twenty years of combined restaurant, culinary, hospitality, and education experience, as well as a passion for great food. They began independent food ventures in 2010 with catering, consulting, and creating innovative delectable food fusions, leading to the formation of The Food Academy, LLC in 2015
The Food Academy is a full-service restaurant, event planning and catering entity dedicated to providing delectable culinary & hospitality experiences. The company offers an extensive menu of food, nutrition, event, and education services.

January 22nd
Prepared by Chef Ramone Dickerson, Owner of  Wing City restaurant and the 2 Fat to Fly food truck
Manchester Farms Fried Quail, Chef’s special Bisque, City Roots Basil Microgreens, Tempura CrunchWine: Bloody Hell Mary

Spring Mix, Lime Burst, Winter Spiced Almonds, Toasted Coconut, Honey Drizzle. Adluh Mango-Mint Cornbread

Wine: 2007 Lucille (Dry White)

Blackberry-Ginger Short Ribs, Roasted Winter Root Party, Sautéed Collards, Congaree Milling Pretty Baby GritsWine: 2014 Farmers Wife (Off Dry Red)

Ms. Parkers Sweet Potato Pie, Bourbon Whip, Graham Cracker-Pecan StreuselWine: 2017 “Big Britch” Sweet Tea


About Chef Dickerson:

The stuffed chicken wings created by Chef Ramone Dickerson and his business partner, Corey Simmons, landed a reality TV show on the Oprah Winfrey Network last year called Wingmen. Dickerson owns Wing City restaurant and the 2 Fat to Fly food truck, both in Columbia, where their unique approach to stuffing chicken wings with collard greens and rice, macaroni and cheese, jalapeno / bacon and cheddar, has generated a flock of fans. They also appeared on the Steve Harvey Show earlier this year.

Chef Dickerson is a 2016 South Carolina Chef Ambassadors with the SCPRT.

November 13th
Prepared by Chef Joe Turkaly, Owner of Joe Turkaly Catering and Events
Congaree  Milling Company Corn Cake with Olive Oil Cured Sheep’s Cheese,
Baby Arugula and Mustard Greens,
Gypsy Wind Farm Pork Belly Lardon, and a
Malabar Peppercorn infused local honey
Wood Fired Bistro Filet with a Smoke Tomato-Sweet Onion Confit,
Gingered Sweet Potato Puree with Bourbon Candied Pecans and
Grilled Asparagus with a Piquillo Pepper-Almond Sauce
Spiced Apple Streusel Cake with a
Sea Salt-Brandy Hard Sauce and Whipped Cream

About Chef Turkaly:

With 32 years experience working every type of restaurant from fine dining to BBQ, Chef Joe has worked at many great restaurants in Columbia from Monterrey Jack’s, Hunter-Gatherer, Hampton Street Vineyard, Goatfeathers, Smoke Southern Barbecue Revival, Gervais & Vine, Doc’s Gumbo Grille, as well as opening new restaurants in town including: Kraken Gastropub, A.G. Floyd’s Prime Steaks and Chops, Buster’s Bistro, Hannah Janes, and RB’s Bodacious Barbecue.

Exhibiting a couple of decades worth of experience and skills, Chef Joe owns Joe Turkaly Catering and Events in Columbia, SC.

September 18th
Prepared by Chef Howard Stephens, Executive Chef at Sapori


pugliese bread, fennel aioli, chives
arugula, pecorino, candied garlic vinaigrette
white bean ragout, guanciale, radicchio, smoked tomato vinaigrette
Grade “A” maple syrup, popped sorgum, aleppo, maldo
About Chef Howard:
Chef Howard is a native of Texas and a graduate of Chapin High School, South Carolina.  He earned degrees in both Business and Marketing. He then was hired by what was to be several restaurants where he learned by working in some of South Carolina’s Finest in the industry from washing dishes at Yesterday’s, to managing Tony’s Pizza in Downtown Columbia. Howard then became Owner of Village Gourmet, followed by Sous Chef then Executive Chef of The Oak Table (which he helped launch), then Executive Chef of Club Corp’s Columbia Capital City Club and to Executive Chef at Rosso Trattoria. Exhibiting a couple of decades worth of experience and skills, this self taught Executive Chef is now overseeing Sapori in Lexington, South Carolina.

Columbia Food Tours offers unique experiences highlighting the rich food and culture in Columbia, South Carolina.