Donald Barickman loved food from his early childhood days in Charleston, West Virginia — days that were spent in his grandparent’s kitchen and at his family’s 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 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’s position at what was to become Charleston’s hottest restaurant — Carolina’s. Quick to recognize and appreciate Barickman’s creative use of Southern ingredients, Charleston residents swarmed the restaurant.
Two years later Barickman’s talents were so appreciated that the owners of Carolina’s asked him to open their next venture, Columbia’s. In 1989 Barickman returned to Charleston to become a stockholder and vice president of Hospitality Management Group, Inc., the corporation that owns Magnolia’s. Within thirty days of the restaurant’s opening in July, 1990, Magnolia’s was listed by the local newspaper as the place to dine in Charleston.
Barickman describes the food at Magnolia’s as Uptown American cuisine with Down South flavor. The eclectic menu includes accents of the Southwest, Pacific Rim, Cajun country, France, Italy, the South Carolina Upstate, and Charleston. But no froufrou, Barickman insists.
Skillet-seared grit cakes with tasso gravy and yellow corn relish are typical of Barickman’s reinvented southern dishes. Our theory at Magnolia’s was local ingredients with a twist, food that no one — or hardly any one — had done before in Charleston, 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’s Uptown/Down South Southern Cuisine, published by Wyrick & Company. The cookbook has been as successful as Barickman’s restaurants. Barickman is also a visiting chef at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Phone: (843) 820-5090