Interview with Chef Michelle Weaver of Charleston Grill and a Recipe for Cauliflower Soup with Truffled Brioche Croutons
How many people wake up every day and go to a job that they love and are passionate about? Chef Weaver does. There is nothing that she would rather do than be in the kitchen. Weaver’s father inspired her to find something that she loved and was passionate about and ultimately she did.
Executive Chefs have long hours, especially in a hotel where the kitchen is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. It is incredibly demanding and stressful and can wreak havoc on your personal life. So, what does someone with that kind of schedule do on her days off? Why, of course…cook!
Once she is home, she is back in the kitchen. In fact, if it’s a Tuesday, friends just start showing up at her home because they know she will be cooking up something wonderful in her own kitchen. I think our next trip to Charleston should be on a Tuesday! Weaver also enjoys time away from the restaurant and relaxes on the beach or goes out with friends on the boat. She loves watching the sunset over Bowens Island, seeing the dolphins and having a chance to catch her breath.
We were interested to find out what Chef Weaver looks for when she is hiring someone to complete her culinary team. She said “You can tell how passionate and sincere someone is by looking them in the eye.” Weaver says that she can teach someone to cook. She is looking for that desire and sincerity to be a chef. “You need to bring passion to the table.”
Chef Weaver certainly brings her own passion to the kitchen and ultimately to the table at the Charleston Grill. We once again had an incredible meal and dining experience. It is evident that her culinary team and the rest of the staff at Charleston Grill are committed to providing a memorable dining experience.
Thank you so much to Chef Weaver for taking the time to meet with us. Thank you also to the culinary team and restaurant staff at the Charleston Grill for your hospitality.
Like Chef Weaver, we hope that you will also be inspired to take some new or unusual types of produce or meat home and play in the kitchen. Don’t look up a recipe on the internet or pick up a cookbook. Just experiment. You never know what fabulous dish you can create or what famous kitchen you might end up being a chef in someday!
Chef Weaver has shared her recipe for Cauliflower Soup with Toasted Truffle Butter Brioche Croutons. We had the soup at the restaurant and it was excellent. Their version was a bit thicker than the one I prepared at home, so I asked what they do different. They use a commercial grade blender which gives the soup a creamier and frothier texture. I would suggest reducing the stock a bit before adding the cream (or adding a bit less stock). That should make a difference in the texture. I did make homemade vegetable stock for the soup. The end result of your soup will obviously vary depending on whether you use water, canned stock or homemade stock.
The flavors were excellent in the soup. It is a lovely starter soup to have for a special dinner. Of course, the Truffle Butter Brioche Croutons put it over the top! I could not stop eating them. I did splurge and purchased Truffle Butter, but you could add a little Truffle Oil to regular butter and prepare the croutons that way. You will still get the truffle flavor and that is what makes the soup so good. The croutons will soften quickly in the soup as they are small and not very dense, so you will want to serve your soup immediately after adding them.
Disclosure – The Charleston Place Hotel provided a media package for our stay.
Cauliflower Soup with Toasted Truffled Brioche Croutons
1 head cauliflower
1/2 stick of butter (unsalted)
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 quarts water or vegetable stock (I made homemade stock)
1/8 cup butter (unsalted)
1/8 cup truffle butter
1/4 loaf brioche
Cut cauliflower into florets and remove the stems and leaves. Dice the onion into small pieces. Heat the butter in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, cook until soft (do not brown). Add cauliflower, stock or water and heavy cream. Simmer until the cauliflower is very soft, then puree in small batches in a blender and return to pot. Season with salt and pepper (I used white pepper).
Cut brioche into 1/4 inch cubes. Melt butters together and toss with brioche. Bake brioche on baking sheet for 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees until brown. Remove and garnish soup with croutons.
Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Michelle Weaver
Charleston Place Hotel