chef-name: Donald Barickman

Magnolia’s, Charleston SC Donald Barickman loved food from his early childhood days in Charleston, West Virginia — days that were spent in his grandparent‚Äôs kitchen and at his family‚Äôs dining table. After studying forestry for a year at West Virginia University, Barickman realized that his true passion was food and he started cooking at a local restaurant. When he moved on to help a friend open a small deli, he was certain that he wanted to spend a lifetime working in restaurants. In 1983 he enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America. He graduated in 1985 and immediately moved to the ‚Äúother‚Äù Charleston, in South Carolina. Barickman began as a roundsman at Wild Dunes Resort and within a year he was hired as sous chef at The Wine Cellar. In March of 1987 he was offered the executive chef‚Äôs position at what was to become Charleston‚Äôs hottest restaurant — Carolina‚Äôs. Quick to recognize and appreciate Barickman‚Äôs creative use of Southern ingredients, Charleston residents swarmed the restaurant. Two years later Barickman‚Äôs talents were so appreciated that the owners of Carolina‚Äôs asked him to open their next venture, Columbia‚Äôs. In 1989 Barickman returned to Charleston to become a stockholder and vice president of Hospitality Management Group, Inc., the corporation that owns Magnolia‚Äôs. Within thirty days of the restaurant‚Äôs opening in July, 1990, Magnolia‚Äôs was listed by the local newspaper as ‚Äúthe place to dine‚Äù in Charleston. Barickman describes the food at Magnolia‚Äôs as ‚Äúuptown American cuisine with Down South flavor.‚Äù The eclectic menu includes accents of the Southwest, Pacific Rim, Cajun country, France, Italy, the South Carolina Upstate, and Charleston. ‚ÄúBut no froufrou,‚Äù Barickman insists. Skillet-seared grit cakes with tasso gravy and yellow corn relish are typical of Barickman‚Äôs reinvented southern dishes. ‚ÄúOur theory at Magnolia‚Äôs was local ingredients with a twist, food that no one — or hardly any one — had done before in Charleston,‚Äù he says. In May 1993 Barickman opened a second restaurant for Hospitality Management Group, Blossom Cafe, and then Cypress. And in 1994, busy Barickman authored his first book, Magnolia‚Äôs Uptown/Down South Southern Cuisine, published by Wyrick & Company. The cookbook has been as successful as Barickman‚Äôs restaurants. Barickman is also a visiting chef at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.