Star Chef Robert Carter trades grill for quill
For 14 years, Robert Carter has served tasty dishes at the award-winning Peninsula Grill since the day it opened in downtown Charleston.
Now, the executive chef is taking some time off.
Carter, who says he's still employed at the acclaimed Market Street restaurant, said he needs time away from the kitchen to work on a cookbook.
He doesn't know how long it will take him, but he said the finished product, yet unnamed, will have Peninsula Grill in the title.
"I've never had the luxury or time to do it," he said. "For 10 years, I have been trying to put it together."
Carter said he's hoping to boil down the restaurant recipes, which require large quantities of ingredients, to simpler amounts that people can use at home.
"It's a long and arduous process," he said.
Carter said the book requires four steps: recipe development, recipe testing, writing the book and taking pictures to go along with it.
"I'm just now delving into it," he said.
Carter, a 1989 Johnson & Wales University summa cum laude graduate known for his decadent coconut cake and other dishes, said diners should not worry about the food quality because "my team is still there."
A spokeswoman for Holliday Companies, which owns Peninsula Grill and other restaurants and hotels in downtown Charleston, said a new executive chef will not replace Carter while he is away.
"It's business as usual," Holliday spokeswoman Lou Hammond said. "We have an excellent team in place."
She said business owner Hank Holliday supports Carter's taking the time off because "everybody needs a rest once in a while. It's a grueling job seven days a week."
She also said the restaurant is thrilled that it will have its own cookbook.
"A lot of other restaurants have one, and it's time for the Peninsula Grill to have one," Hammond said.
The year it opened, Peninsula Grill was named by Esquire magazine as one of the best new restaurants in America.