Featured Chef Fred Neuville
As a 30-year industry veteran, former assistant director at the School of Culinary Arts in Denver and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, chef Fred Neuville has been the founding chef and partner with some of Charleston’s favorite restaurants. Neuville has received several coveted industry awards from the American Culinary Federation, the Southern Bridal Show, the Celebrity Pro/ Am competitions and the Western Regional Conference and has been featured in national publications such as Bon Appetit and National Geographic Traveler. Ready to fuse his passion for food and family, Neuville opened Fat Hen (Lowcountry French) with his wife Joan and family in 2007 as an outpost for culinary delights and domestic enjoyment.
EAT THIS! What do you prepare for your children that they like the best?
CHEF FRED: Pork butt. I smoke it for hours on the big green egg. They also like my ribs and mashed potatoes. The
thing they like best on the meat is the house pomegranate barbecue sauce.
ET! There has been a large movement toward local food and sustainable practices in reputable restaurants. Do
you incorporate these practices?
FN: I have used local farms and fishermen for over 10 years. I have a good working relationship with them.
ET! Who were your mentors?
FN: Roland Henin, a master French chef, Peter Schaffrath in Washington, D.C., and, of course, Jacques Pepin.
ET! What are your favorite flavor combinations?
FN: I like meat smoked for two and a half hours, then covered in brandied figs or cherries – sort of the sweet and
ET! What dishes do you offer at the restaurant that utilize these combinations?
FN: We serve a 22-ounce bone-in short rib, cold smoked, steamed in apple cider vinegar and grilled. Of course we
use our famous pomegranate barbecue sauce.
ET! Other than your own establishment, what are your favorite places to dine?
FN: We like to go to Mondo’s and J. Paul’z.
ET! What is the best compliment you ever received?
FN: When people say that my food “has changed their lives.”
ET! What inspired you to become a chef?
FN: My dad approached me at 16 and said, “Son you better decide on what you want to do soon!” I had been working as a
dishwasher and busser since I was 13, so we toured the Culinary Institute of America in New York and that was it! By 19, I was working as a chef.
ET! What are your goals as a chef?
FN: Just to keep striving to improve. The two most imperfect things in the world are people and food.
ET! Of all the lessons you have learned through your training and career, which would you say has been the most valuable?
FN: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You will always learn from them.
ET! What new trends have you seen with dining?
FN: The old style of cooking fresh is coming back – things straight from the farm or the sea.
ET! If you were to open a new restaurant, what would be its name/theme?
FN: I have always wanted to own a “dive,” a down-to-earth place people could come and enjoy.
ET! Is Charleston your final destination, or do you see yourself elsewhere in the future? Where?
FN: I never want to leave Charleston.
ET! What is the most disastrous situation you have dealt with as a chef?
FN: When I was in culinary school I was suppose to make bread. I turned the mixer on high and flour went all over everyone and everything. It really was funny.