After completing her education, Heidi apprenticed herself to outstanding chefs for five years in order to learn the ins and outs of fine dining and restaurant operation. She gleaned valuable experience from Elizabeth Terry at Elizabeth's on 37th Street in Savannah, fed the stars at the Ritz Carlton in St. Louis, and finally settled in New Orleans to join Emeril Lagasse's NOLA with her husband, Joe. Heidi fit right into the tradition of culinary excellence in New Orleans and soon realized that she had a marvelous vision for a restaurant of her own.
Heidi opened Elizabeth's Restaurant, a lively place to enjoy delicious, affordable food in a laidback neighborhood called the Bywater - downriver from the French Quarter. A magnificent outpouring of word-of-mouth praise for her fresh, inventive comfort food and the restaurant's fun atmosphere helped Heidi grow her establishment, accommodating the flow of people from all over New Orleans and the world. She was given rave reviews in eminent publications like Gourmet and Southern Living and won awards for her consistently excellent restaurant.
When she and Joe realized that they wanted to head home to the Carolinas to raise their son, Tom, and get back to the land where the food is grown, she knew that a new restaurant was in her future. And thus was born Grits and Groceries. Now Heidi splits her time between the restaurant and horseback riding with Tom through the nearby fields.