We’re honored to be working with some of the finest wine and food talent in our region—and the nation!
Will Altman is a farmer and miller in Florence, South Carolina, creating uniquely delicious foods from stone ground heirloom grains. Will has been involved in growing and creating food for over a decade, including raising and selling pork, beef, lamb, and more to some of the finest restaurants in the Southeast. Five years ago, he transitioned from raising livestock to growing grains by launching Altman Farm and Mill, which uses sustainable farming practices as well as traditional stone milling techniques to produce the finest heirloom products available.
Altman Farm and Mill’s Buttermilk Pancake and Waffle Mix was named one of three finalists for Garden & Gun Magazine’s Made in the South Awards in the highly-contested Food category (City Center Market Brunch)
Reginald “Reggie” Ashley has worked in the food and beverage industry in Florence for numerous years, in kitchens such as Town Hall, the Country Club of South Carolina, and the Oakdale Country Club. Since September 2021, he has been Sous Chef at Wholly Smokin’ Downtown. He enjoys playing pool, watching sporting events and visiting different restaurants while traveling (Meat & Meander, Sip+Savor Wine Stroll).
Born in California of Mexican parentage, Betsy moved to Florence in 1997. Early on she worked toward a career in healthcare, but quickly realized that was not for her. The pivotal moment that led Betsy to become the Pastry Chef that she is today was when she haphazardly offered to bake a wedding cake for a friend—and they took her up on it. Her husband gifted her a Wilton Cake Decorating class and from there it snowballed
She started as a beginner at Icing Ink, then the regular baker at SC Real Foods. Betsy has been with Victors since 2018. She is extremely proud of the restaurant and her junior staff. All that she has accomplished so far has been a dream (although a cute little bakery with fancy desserts would be *chefs kiss*). With the addition of Notch8 Catering to the fold, Betsy has been the creative backbone for petite sweet treats!
Be it a gorgeous 3-tiered cake or delectable pastries; Betsy is truly irreplaceable and a vital fixture at Victors and Notch8
Executive Chef and Owner
A native of Myrtle Beach, Alan Cooke has been a baker in the pizza business for 30 years. A graduate of USC, Alan became a Certified Baker with the Retail Bakers of America and apprenticed for six years with a second-generation Certified Master Baker. He has served six years on the Board of Directors for Southeasters Retail Bakers Association and two years as President. In 2012, Alan founded Rebel Pie with the motto: “Defy Ordinary,” and since then Rebel Pie has won “Best of the Pee Dee” award in Pizza every single year.
Rebel Pie has also twice been named Best Pizza in South Carolina in nationwide “Fifty States, Fifty Pizzas” features—in 2015 by Zagat.com, and in 2016 by MSN.com. Alan enjoys spending time with his wife, cooking, woodworking, fishing, and premium cigars. (City Center Market Brunch).
Born and raised in the Northern suburbs of Chicago, Chef Ryan’s father, John, started his passion for food at a very young age. After working many restaurant jobs around Chicago, he attended the International Culinary School, formally the Illinois Institute of Art.
After school, Chef Ryan continued to work at local restaurants while he travelled throughout the South on a competitive barbeque team, sparking his interest and love for Southern Cuisine. After relocating to Florence, South Carolina, Ryan found his way to Town Hall where he quickly worked his way to Executive Chef.
Chef Ryan says it is his pleasure to serve the community that has so openly welcomed him and looks forwards to raising a family in the South. (Passport to Paso Robles Wine Class).
Doug the Food Guy
As a restaurant consultant for the past twenty-five years, I have had the opportunity to work with some awesome food producers that I’m blessed to call friends. I began working at the City Center Farmers Market at the beginning of 2020 focusing on Certified South Carolina Products such as Blue Moon Specialty Foods out of Spartanburg. These items are made using all natural ingredients, sauces and spice blends. Coffee Cabana out of Columbia and Low Country Olive Oil out of Charleston produce high quality certified SC products which we are excited to partner with. I wanted to share my passion for outstanding food with my neighbors in Florence. Frankly, if I don’t love it, I simply won’t sell it.
I don’t love it, I simply won’t sell it. Check out VIP Magazine for my monthly food article and recipes. You can also find me on The Pizzeria & Enzo Show podcast that I regularly co-host. (City Center Market Brunch).
Nathalie Dupree is the author of 15 cookbooks and host of more than 300 national and international cooking shows, which have aired since 1986 on PBS, the Food Network, and the Learning Channel. She has written for magazines and newspapers and appeared many times on the Today Show and Good Morning America. She has won wide recognition for her work, including four James Beard Awards, including the James Beard Foundation’s Who's Who in American Cooking. She is best known for her approachability and her understanding of Southern cooking, having started the New Southern Cooking movement now found in many restaurants throughout the United States.
She has been chef of three restaurants and for 10 years directed Rich’s Cooking School in Atlanta, where she mentored and taught thousands of students, many of whom now work in the food and beverage industry and in food media. She has been a founder and past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals; a founder and board member of the Southern Foodways Alliance; a founder and co-president of Les Dames d’Escoffier from whom she was awarded the honor of “Grande Dame;” and founding president of the Charleston Wine & Food Festival. Two of her cookbooks are on Southern Living’s list of the 100 Best Cookbooks of All-Time. She and her husband, Jack Bass, live in Raleigh, North Carolina. (The Final Pour: Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, Florence Style!).
A local nurse anesthetist by day and a wine and spirits expert by night, Dennis has written the monthly wine column, “Bottle Talk,” for the Morning News for seven years. He teaches wine classes, hosts in-home educational wine parties and consults for wine PR companies and local wine/food pairing events. Achieving the level 4 Diploma of Wine and Spirits via the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, he now contemplates making a run for the coveted master of wine. For more information about his services and upcoming classes, contact him at email@example.com. (Sip+Savor VIP Experience)
I began juicing about 14 years ago, when I saw a Jack LaLanne infomercial where he put an apple into a juicer and made apple juice. Immediately I knew this was the route for better health for me. I was tired of drinking unhealthy beverages that did not have real benefits and started looking for healthy juices. A friend of mine gave me her ginger juice recipe and I enjoyed the taste and decided to tweak her recipe. I never once thought about selling my juice until 2 friends tried my ginger juice in 2019.
They both loved it and asked how much I would charge to make a gallon. I've always wanted to have my own business and I decided to test mine at the farmers market. I became a vendor at the City Center Farmers Market and I sold out quickly on my first day. Since then, I've added Ginger Pineapple, Iced Lemon Tamarind, Melonnaire Mint and Hibiscus Elderberry. Legacy Juice was born and has been thriving ever since. I'm currently working on developing other flavors. (City Center Market Brunch)
The kitchen at Seminar Brewing offers traditional bar food with our own special twist. With a menu created by Danny McWilliams, John Pegues, and Matthew Bradshaw, we pride ourselves on offering traditional pub food such as smash burgers and pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, while also remembering to take great care of our vegan and vegetarian friends. (Sip + Savor Wine Stroll)
Chef and Owner
LilJazZis was established in 2017 following a vending service named after my 3 daughters Lily, Jasmine, and Zion! LilJazZis focus is serving fresh food to our wonderful community, offering breakfast all day and lunch! (City Center Market Brunch)
Mark Penegar started his kitchen career in Charleston, working in restaurants such as Fuel, Stars, CO, and the Grocery, before moving to Florence to be closer to family. In Florence, he has cooked at Town Hall and the Country Club of South Carolina before settling into the Executive Chef position at Wholly Smokin. He enjoys cooking, spending time with family, friend and his cats in his spare time. (Meat & Meander, Sip + Savor Wine Stroll)
Ray Isle is the Executive Wine Editor of Food & Wine and the Wine & Spirits Editor for Travel + Leisure. He writes Food & Wine's monthly “Bottle Service” column, and contributes regular print and online features about wine, spirits, and wine-related travel to both brands.
His articles about wine, beer, food and spirits have appeared in a wide range of national publications, he has been nominated three times for a James Beard Award, and has twice won the IACP Award for Narrative Beverage Writing. He speaks regularly on wine at live events and is a frequent guest on national media, having appeared on programs such as Today, CNBC’s On the Money & Squawk Box, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and American Public Media’s “Splendid Table,” among others. Follow his wine exploits on twitter @islewine and on Instagram @rayisle. (Passport to Paso Robles Wine Class).
Donna O. Crockett and Catherine Gude
Donna is the head chef and managing partner at Osbornes Special Events and Catering in downtown Florence. She and her sisters, Terrie Snowden Parker and Pamela Osborne, opened Osbornes in 2001; and since the retirements of both Terrie and Pam, Donna has assumed full responsibility for the day-to-day operations. Her daughter, Catherine Gude, joined her in business in 2021.
Donna, Catherine, and their dedicated staff attend to every detail to ensure that each event is a memorable one. Osbornes offers in-house catering at a beautifully decorated building at 265 Warley Street, as well as off-site catering at a client’s desired location. Guests lists from 10 to 500 people can be accommodated and the menu selections are large and varied, from Italian cuisine to Mexican street food to old fashion, Southern grandma cooking. Every menu is developed with the client’s input and all food is prepared so as to surpass the client’s expectations. (City Center Market Brunch)
Chef and Owner
Warren traces his culinary ambitions to the age of 14, when he first began working at a popular local restaurant, Club 44, in Smithfield, Rhode Island. His four years there allowed him to gain intimate knowledge of high-end New England cuisine. He took this knowledge back down to his birthplace, Beaufort County, in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where he was fortunate to work under renowned local chefs, Roger Keyes and Ove Muller, at Alexander’s in Hilton Head. With their help and encouragement, he apprenticed to other globally diverse chefs and further refined his culinary talents.
After a 10-year stint as Executive Chef at Fitzgerald's Restaurant in Hilton Head, Warren and his wife, Fran, teamed up to open the fine-dining seafood restaurant, Sinclair’s, in Camden, South Carolina. This experience and ambition in the food industry led Warren and Fran to their current ventures in Florence: Julia Belle’s, Coast Line Cafe, and The Farmer’s Market Barn & Grill. They love to serve customers delicious food at their restaurants and to do their part in contributing to a thriving community. (City Center Farmer’s Market Brunch).
2015 South Carolina Chef Ambassador
Chef Thomas is the only chef from the Pee Dee Region selected by Governor Nikki Haley for the inaugural team of SC Chef Ambassadors. Cooper obtained the Bachelor of Science in Food and Beverage Administration from the Johnson & Wales Culinary Program and the Bachelor of Arts in Communications from College of Charleston. His love of simple food with a “fancy” edge is evidence of his devotion to innovation and his joyful approach to food. Cooper lives in Florence with his wife, Paige, and their two children. (Meat and Meander; Sip + Savor; The Final Pour: Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, Florence Style!).
As a fourth generation Florentine and Francis Marion University graduate, Sam Tinsley, along with his wife, Alissa, are proud to raise the fifth generation in such a special hometown. During his college years, while working at Apple Annie’s, Sam honed a unique skill set that helped him guide his patrons’ beverage selections to enhance their meal and their enjoyment of the evening. For 10 years, Sam has represented Advintage Distributing of Charleston. His success in this field has given him opportunities for growth by traveling to learn from premiere producers and vintners both domestically and internationally.
Sam has dedicated his professional career to sharing this expertise in a pragmatic way allowing consumers at all levels to experience quality beverages from around the world. He is most at home presenting wherever people are interested in great wine, spirits and craft beers. He appreciates his association with Florence Wine and Food since its beginning and looks forward to being a part of the growth of the region’s premiere celebration of wine and cuisine. (Meat & Meander; Sip+Savor Wine Stroll).
Chef de Cuisine
Shelby is originally from New York; she moved to Florence in 2017. Her lifelong love for cooking began with fond memories of watching cooking shows with her father and grandmother. She knew at a young age what she wanted most; to make people happy with the meal she has prepared. Her journey started in 2011 as a US Army Food Service Specialist. She then went on to graduate at the top of her class in Culinary Arts and Winery Management in 2016. Her career as a chef got its start at Emeril’s Orlando in 2016. By 2017 she made her way to Townhall (Florence, SC) and in 2018 found her way to Victors. She will be celebrating her 4th year at Victors and has blossomed into an amazing fine dining chef.
She is a proud ACF Culinary competitor, and her dream is to one day be nominated for a James Beard Award. Shelby is one of the few female chefs in our region and she is a force to behold. With her fighting spirit you can see the passion in her eyes with every meticulous detail she puts into a dish. Her skills and leadership are treasured at Victors. (Meat and Meander, Sip + Savor Wine Stroll, Market Brunch, The Final Pour)
SAGE by Sherif
As a native of Alexandria, Egypt, I have traveled a long path to make a better life. When I first arrived in America as a young immigrant without any prospects – just a dream and faith – I was able to secure employment at a Brooklyn restaurant. There I worked for two years as a dishwasher, it was time well-spent as I also became increasingly knowledgeable about the restaurant business. And thanks to an employer who recognized and nurtured my culinary curiosity. Throughout the years I have worked my way up to becoming an Executive Chef.
Holt Bros BBQ builds its business upon the foundation of family. Zack, John, and Patrick, three of Jack Holt's sons are working with their dad, Jack, leaning on love and experience to create something special for the Florence area. “Anytime you can work with your dad and brothers, it’s a blessing,” Zack said. “It’s never a bad day at work because you get to see your family. We grew up as a tight family, all of us, and it’s great to be able to work with them.” (Meat & Meander)
With a focus on education patrons in the technical and flavorful aspects of brewing, Seminar Brewing is always striving for a history making impact on the craft beer industry. Drawing inspiration from brews and cultures from around the world, you never know what kind of treat your tastebuds are in for when you sit down at our bar. Our head brewer Jamie has been brewing for going on five years and only gets better and more creative with each brew. No brew team would be complete without Assistant Brewers to bounce ideas off of and creatively problem solve in the heat of the moment, and that’s where Stephanie and Matt come in. And our GM, Vincent, makes the branding magic happen to create cans that are pretty to look at on the shelves and hopefully catch your attention as you walk by. (Meat & Meander, Exclusive Beer Sponsor)