Robert Stehling is chef and owner of Hominy Grill, located in downtown Charleston, SC. Prior to opening Hominy, Stehling worked under the tutelage of Bill Neal at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, NC. After working his way from dish washer to head chef there, he moved to New York City where he worked for several years at a number of restaurants before moving to Charleston in 1996 with his wife Nunnally Kersh to open Hominy Grill. Since then Stehling and his restaurant have received national attention for his ability to innovate while remaining true to the southern culinary traditions. In 2008 he received the James Beard Award as Best Chef in the Southeast. In this interview with Citadel graduate student Shannon Hungerford, Stehling reflects on his career path and the various influences on his cooking. Stehling also describes the challenges of owning and running a popular restaurant while raising a family.
This interview is a part of the COHP’s “Working Charleston” series. Working Charleston documents the on and off job experiences of the longshoremen and lawyers, the bartenders and carriage drivers, hospital aides and high tech workers who make Charleston among the nation’s prime tourist destinations and vital centers of global trade. The digital recordings and transcripts are part of The Citadel Oral History Program Collection at The Citadel Archives & Museum.