Executive Chef of the Charleston Grill at Charleston Place Hotel, Chef Waggoner fuses Lowcountry cooking and his own French-influenced techniques to create sophisticated new southern haute cuisine using seasonal and regional ingredients.
Executive Chef of the Charleston Grill at Charleston Place Hotel, Chef Waggoner fuses Lowcountry cooking and his own French-influenced techniques to create sophisticated new southern haute cuisine using seasonal and regional ingredients. Every year since his tenure Charleston Grill has been awarded AAA Four-Diamond and the Mobil Four-Star award.
"Combining my cooking experience from abroad with the flavors of the South, I enjoy serving dishes that incorporate Lowcountry favorites with classical French techniques. My menu reflects a fusion of countries traveled, lessons learned and meals savored."
Fusing Lowcountry cooking and his own French-influenced technique, Chef Waggoner creates contemporary and sophisticated new southern haute cuisine using seasonal and regional ingredients. On an ordinary day, Chef Waggoner dishes up panned seared lamb sweetbreads over truffled grits, local young zucchini blossoms stuffed with Maine Lobster, or sautéed Smoky Mountain golden trout with Lowcountry crawfish tails.
Capturing attention by producing menus that combine unusual ingredients with classic techniques, he continues to enhance and expand Charleston's appreciation for fine cuisine. His commitment to supporting local farmers and encouraging them to cultivate new and unusual products has won Waggoner praise from both the agricultural community and his guests.
International Awards & Recognition
Chef Waggoner’s talents have also been recognized in leading culinary publications. Every year since his tenure, Charleston Grill has been awarded AAA Four-Diamond and the Mobil Four-Star award. The restaurant was also the only one in the area to be included in the Nations Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame and in the book, The Elite 1000.
He has received, Wine Spectator's "Grand Award," Food & Wine's "Reader's Favorite Chef in America Award," the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award, Santé magazine's "1999 Restaurant Wine & Spirits Chef of the Year," 1999 James Beard Rising Stars of the 21st Century," an Honorary Doctorate from Johnson and Wales University, and is one of the few Americans to be Knighted with the "l'Odre du Mérite Agricole" from the Government of France.
Waggoner has also been featured in Saveur Magazines "100 Favorite Things", Artisan Books' Top 50 Chefs in the United States and been invited to participate in the 2002 Winter Olympics Chefs program. In 2001, Waggoner was nominated by The Beard Foundation for the Best Chef in the Southeast Award.
A California native, he received his formal training with Michael Roberts at Trumps in Los Angeles from 1981 to 1983, and later in France at a constellation of Michelin-rated restaurants with chefs Jacques Lameloise, Charles Barrier, Pierre Gagnaire, Gerard Boyer and Mark Meneau. At 23, he took on his first chef position at the private club "Members" in Caracas, Venezuela. Chef Waggoner returned to France at age 24 to become chef of the Hotel de la Poste in Avallon for three years. Then, in 1988 at age 26, in the town of Moneteau in Burgandy, he became the first American chef to own his own restaurant in France, the much acclaimed Le Monte Cristo.
In 1991, Waggoner was offered the opportunity of Chef de Cuisine with Chef Jean-Pierre Silva, the two star Michelin, at Le Vieux Moulin in Beaune, France. After 11 years in France, he returned to the States in 1993 to cook at the award-winning Turnberry Isle in Florida, before joining The Wild Boar in Nashville, where he earned the restaurant a coveted AAA Five-Diamond Award and the Grand Award from Wine Spectator.
Media-Savvy Cooking Expert
Now, 10 years with the Charleston Grill, part of the Charleston Place Hotel, an Orient Express Luxury Property, Chef Waggoner has quickly gained a reputation as a media-savvy cooking expert, having appeared on "Gourmet Getaways with Robin Leach," "Great Chefs of the South," "Ralph Emery Show," "Dave Eckert's Culinary Travels," "Flavors of America," The Television Food Network's "In Food Today," "Ready, Set, Cook," and "The Best of." He also taped a series of segments with television food reporter Burt Wolf, which appeared on The Travel Channel, CNN and PBS stations nationwide.
His most recent accomplishments include an Emmy for his television show "Off the Menu" with Turner South, and filming the pilot for a new travel show, "Bob's World," a showcase of Orient Express Luxury Properties. Currently, he is the host of a weekly cooking segment for an ABC television affiliate that highlights Charleston's sophisticated culinary scene.
In all of these instances, Chef Waggoner has captured attention by producing menus that combine unusual ingredients with classic techniques. He also makes guest chef appearances at many fine dining establishments across the country, including the prestigious James Beard House in New York City.
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