Charleston, SC | Roti Rolls
Born in raised in the woods of New Hampshire, Cory Burke found his love for home-grown, fresh local ingredients at a young age…even when he couldn’t afford it. “My parents have always been the driving force behind my unyielding motivation to create something special. Being an only child, and having two parents working double and triple time to make a good life for me, truly made me who I am today. Driven by the desire for something more…something that will make people happy. Not just for me, but for them.” That determination led him to one of the top Business Schools in Boston, Bentley University.
Cory’s first job back in the kitchen was as a dishwasher at a local wood-fired pizza joint that eventually expanded and became a larger franchise called Bertucci’s in Lexington, MA. Paying his dues in the dish-pit full time he learned how to take abuse, how to work fast, and that hard work sometimes equaled minimal pay. He did all this while also attending college full-time and running on the cross-country team as a walk on scholarship holder. Needless to say, this life style could not and would not endure. After some tough decisions he decided to put running on the back burner. It would be work and school all the way.
Soon thereafter he was promoted to line cook at Bertucci’s, then to head brick oven “chef” at age nineteen. He worked in the kitchen for two more years before rising to head bartender. As a bartender, Cory started learning how vital front-of-the-house was for the overall experience to diners, something he was never taught while back in the kitchen.
Graduating with a Bachelor Degree in Marketing from Bentley University in 2003 and with hundreds of hours logged in multiple restaurants, bars, catering companies and in sales and marketing positions, he was ready for the next chapter. Charleston.
Having a good friend who was from Georgetown SC, Cory was able to take some trips down south in the summer and travel there on spring breaks. He always made it a point to visit Charleston. Cory fell in love with the city instantaneously. The vibe of local people supporting local entrepreneurs was something he hadn’t seen since living in New Hampshire. He also saw a huge lack for a creative restaurant or any restaurant focusing on farm-to-table. Growing up in New Hampshire and living in Boston, he was shocked that only a few restaurants cared for and supported local farmers. He decided to take a risk. He moved down with $500 in his pocket, a friend, and a passion for good food and the mentality of, “Fuck it. I’m young enough to fail and bounce back…this feels right!”
From 2003 to 2006 he was part of the opening team at Red Drum Gastro Pub in Mt Pleasant and found an amazing seasonal spot as bartender at Morgan Creek Grill on Isle of Palms. Again he found himself at the proverbial crossroads. Missing the northeast mentality: the snow, the people, the mountains and most importantly the food, he decided to get back to his roots and move north to Vermont. Best decision ever.