Don Drake

Years of Participation


Magnolias’ Culinary Arts Director Donald Drake has over 25 years of experience working in Magnolias’ legendary East Bay Street kitchen. He joined the restaurant as Sous Chef in 1991, and today is the force who keeps Magnolias at the top of the nation’s list for exceptional Southern cuisine.

Prior to relocating to Charleston, Drake simultaneously attended the Culinary Institute of America and trained under Chef Barry Wine at the critically acclaimed, four-star Quilted Giraffe in New York City. With a passion for traveling, Drake embarked on a culinary world tour after receiving his degree. While working as a chef and partner for Caps on the Water in South Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Drake won back-to-back Florida Trends Golden Spoon Awards.

He later sold Caps to continue his culinary travels and immersed himself in global cooking techniques, spending a majority of his time in London, Australia and Hawaii. Notably, Drake worked in Honolulu’s celebrated Roy’s, mastering his culinary skills under famed Chef Roy Yamaguchi. He also apprenticed under French-Canadian chef Serge Dansereau while working as the chef de partie at Kables Restaurant in Sydney, Australia.

In 1991, Drake and his wife, Martha, relocated to Isle of Palms, S.C. with their sons Marshall and Travis, and he began his career with Magnolias. Integrating his international culinary background into Magnolias’ distinctive Southern meals, Drake prepares dishes with worldly flavors that remain true to the history and culture of their Lowcountry beginnings.

A love of travel and adventure led Drake to his career in the kitchen, and continues to influence his lifestyle. In his free time, Drake enjoys on- and off-road racing, surfing, fishing and restoring vintage automobiles.