Chef Andy Henderson and Pastry Chef Julia Ingram are engaged. And they work together. And together at Charleston hot spot Edmund’s Oast on the Upper Peninsula, along with a super star cast of managers and mixologists, they deliver some pretty stellar food and drink.
The vibe at Edmund’s Oast is 1700’s cargo ship, meets beer and wine heaven, meets West Coast cool. The branding is impeccable. The food is phenomenal. Hip and relaxed, beards, beer, and bowties abound. The feel is very “New Charleston”: thoroughly progressive with an eye firmly fixed on Charleston’s rich history.
Chef Andy is a Charleston local who trained as a chef at both Fig and Boathouse, before moving across the country to San Francisco. Pastry Chef Julia is a West Coast girl, raised in the Bay area, who learned to bake in San Francisco’s sour dough bread bakeries. The two met while working together at a Local Mission Eatery in the Mission area of San Francisco, and as Andy puts it “She fell in love with me.” Julia playfully hits his shoulder with a wink and a giggle.
While working in the Bay area, Julia began her schooling to become a pastry chef. However, Julia was often very sick. Having two relatives with Celiac’s Disease, she knew the symptoms of the auto-immune disorder that ran in her family. Julia’s doctor administered a blood test, and she went off gluten. The proverbial cloud lifted, and she felt better every day. As Julia implemented her new gluten-free lifestyle, and her health improved, Andy, as a chef, got a front row seat for the whole process. He took it as a fun challenge to create great food catering to his girlfriend’s dietary limitations, while Julia perfected the art of gluten-free baking.
Andy and Julia took a quick trip to Andy’s home town of Charleston, and Julia fell in love- again- but this time with Charleston. She was completely smitten, like so many others, with Charleston’s charm. While in town, Andy had a meeting with his friend Jeremiah Bacon of Macintosh, as well as beer aficionados Scott Shor and Rich Carley, on an intriguing project they were, ahem, brewing up, called Edmund’s Oast. They wanted Andy as the chef, and were willing to give him complete creative control to make this happen. Boom. The couple packed up and move back east.
During the year it took to get Edmund’s Oast up and running, Julia’s creative juices were flowing and she knew she wanted to be baking. Knowing she needed a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, with the help of Scott, Rich, and Andy, she found a great spot on Spring Street and opened Charleston’s first completely gluten-free bakery, Sweet Radish Bakeshop. By December of 2014, however, this culinary couple realized they could pack more punch working together at Edmund’s. So she loaded up her gluten-free flours, and headed over to the Upper Peninsula to become Edmund’s Oast’s full-time pastry chef.
Together, at Edmund’s Oast, Andy, Julia, Scott and Rich collaborate on a creative farm-to-table, produce-heavy menu, with a blissfully enormous wall full of craft beers, wines, and even meads on tap. Julia provides the desserts and gluten-free breads. Her skills as a pastry chef are so sharp that most diners have no idea they are eating gluten-free desserts or breads.
House-made pickles line the walls, while house-cured charcuterie dangles above the open kitchen. The food is fresh, locally and sustainably sourced (they are proud members at Lowcountry Local First), and seasonally inspired.
I recently visited Edmund’s Oast for dinner, where Scott Shor, along with Chef Andy, served up some phenomenal food for Saltwater Chef.
And good news, gluten-free Charleston: they get it. Not only is the food top notch, but they also know what gluten really does to folks with a serious gluten issue, and cross-contamination is taken seriously. If you have Celiac’s disease, autoimmune disorders, or simply gluten intolerance, you can eat safely knowing that Edmund’s Oast has stringent prep procedures in place to insure you will not be sick.
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