From my very first job as a busboy in an upscale Connecticut hotel, I felt the allure of the culinary world. The passion and drive of the European Chef and his well-trained staff appealed to my hard-working nature and gave my teenage life purpose. Eventually, I convinced him to let me join his crew, and threw myself into it with the same hunger I have today.
Soon after, with a little encouragement, I applied to the Culinary Institute of America. The rigorous training helped develop a diverse foundation of skills, and it was there that I learned the balance between discipline and creativity.
The following years saw me honing my skills in various hotels and restaurants, until an opportunity to serve as a culinary instructor in Switzerland presented itself. I packed up tout suite, moved to a small town just minutes from the French border and immersed myself in the culture. I was humbled by the beauty of the Swiss mountainside and it wasn’t long before the nuances of the European style had their effect on me.
My eventual return to the states led to the Executive Chef position at CQ’s restaurant on Hilton Head Island, where I spent the next 13 years establishing it as an acclaimed destination restaurant. Local flavors, ingredients and life experiences influenced the creation of each dish, and in my time at CQ’s I was recognized locally and nationally for my innovative menus. I led the farm-to-table initiative on Hilton Head, focusing on local meats, seafood and produce, and gained Platinum Partner status for my involvement in South Carolina’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative, promoting responsible management of the world’s seafood populations. I’ve supported these ideals on television and in many publications including Charleston Gourmet, Hilton Head Monthly, Golf with Style, U Travel, Flavor & The Menu, Edibles, Seafood Source and many local newspapers.
It was in 2012 that I accepted the role of Executive Chef with Sodexo at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. This position has given me the opportunity to work alongside many talented dietitians and nutritionists who continue to educate me on the effects of food on the body, furthering my commitment to healthy cuisine.
In my continued pursuit of personal improvement, I completed the program offered by the American Culinary Federation to become a Certified Executive Chef in late 2013.
I’ve been with the Cypress Club for almost 4 years now and it has been a great experience. Interaction with the members and learning from their vast experiences has challenged me and we’ve created dishes that bring back memories and feelings of fond times in their lives. As an advocate for sustainability, I take everything I’ve learned about life and pour it into my food. I absolutely love using the freshest local ingredients to create unique dishes and lasting memories for myself and our members. To me food is a common bond we all can share.
— Chef Eric