As the Executive Chef of Charleston Grill since 2009, Michelle Weaver has been helping to redefine Southern cuisine. Born and raised in Alabama, she learned the ABCs of Southern cooking from her mother, who taught her you can cook anything in a well-seasoned, cast iron skillet, to never throw away bacon grease and that vegetables always taste better from your own garden.

She went on to receive her formal training from the New England Culinary Institute, then honed her French cooking techniques while working under Chef Daniel Bonnot in New Orleans, and later as executive sous chef to Chef Bob Waggoner at the Wild Boar Restaurant in Nashville and later at the Charleston Grill.

When asked about her cooking philosophy Chef Weaver says it is simple; “Use what is in season. Make sure it’s fresh. Don’t over complicate it. Sprinkle it with love and call everyone to the table.”

Weaver’s food, like her personality, is warm and inviting (her staff even call her “Mama”). Yet every dish exudes sophistication and style. This Southern girl‘s refined and well-traveled palate has translated into a light and accessible menu, which has been lauded by guests and food critics alike.

Her menu, which presents dishes as Southern, Pure, Lush or Cosmopolitan, brings together the best of the Lowcountry’s bounty and blends it with inspiration from around the world ­– including Asia, India, Italy, Spain and France. On any given night, diners are treated to dishes that celebrate Charleston’s rich history as an international port city. Whether it’s her Thai fish that takes the freshest local snapper or striped base and serves it in a Thai broth infused with lemon grass and chilies and topped with Lowcountry cherry tomatoes and green beans; or her French-inspired presentation of seared foie gras paired with her mother’s recipe for Southern fried apple hand pie, the combinations are perfectly balanced to bring out the best in the ingredients.

When not in the kitchen, Michelle is a Southern girl at heart — you can find her getting her hands dirty gardening, out boating with friends, or giving back to the community through organizations like Feed the Need, No Kids Hungry, Louie’s Kids, or the local chapter of the Les Dames d’Escoffier, a philanthropic society of women in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality.