Culinary Q&A: Get to know Chef Bill Welch

Mar 16 2016

by Whitney Long


If you attended the 2015 #tscsummit, you will remember, very well, the lively  Southern Grown Sipping Hour presented by Sea Island Resort, coastal Georgia’s Forbes Five Star resort.   As we wrapped up a day full of learning, the lovely tented gardens of the William Aiken House offered just the antidote to a busy, yet fun day… food, cocktails and conversation.

  For this year’s upcoming Summit, Sea Island is back again but this time presenting the Brunch and Bloody Marys farewell at Le Creuset’s North American headquarters. Guests will be treated to a sneak peak of Southern Grown, Sea Island’s signature culinary and music event – while brunching (yes, a verb in this case) in Le Creuset Atelier’s state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen and enjoying cocktails and conversation on the lawn overlooking the beautiful Ashley River.  #tscsummit attendees will be sent off in style!

After some planning conversations with Bill Welch, Executive Chef, Sea Island Events, I knew this innovative and enthusiastic chef would be a great person to talk with about all things culinary.   For our Southern C foodie friends, here’s what I learned:

Bill Welch


First position in the kitchen:

Started as a dishwasher when I was 13 years old.

First food memory:

A toss up between my grandmother’s apple cake and my mom’s mac and cheese.

Five ingredients always in your pantry:

Peanut butter, Valentina Hot Sauce, San Marzano Tomatoes, soy sauce, bonito flakes

Five ingredients always in your fridge:

Extra sharp cheddar cheese, salsa verde, kim chee, bacon, corn tortillas

What are some of your go-to items you like to serve at a cocktail party?

Smoked pork fritter, miniature fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese and pepper jelly, Island Creek oysters

What would you want for your last meal?

Mom’s lasagna, apple cake, anything with Maine blueberries

Dream guest list of three people for a dinner party and why?

Thomas Keller, Anthony Bourdain, Danny Meyer. I would love to be able to pick the brain of people who have such a huge passion for our industry and continuously challenge the status quo as far as what the expectation is.

Career if you not a chef?

Something where I would be working with my hands. I feel like I was born to be in this industry and would not willingly choose another.

Do you have a favorite Southern dish that is always better “old school” rather than updated or “improved?”

Collard greens with smoked ham hocks

Five Favorites

Favorite Cocktail:

Rye Whiskey Old Fashioned

Favorite Cookbook:

Depends on the cuisine.  Cookbooks are all about the flavor profiles and ingredients to me.  I love the variety of ingredients and inspiration that comes with looking through a wide variety.

Favorite Kitchen Gadget:

Smoker- Tte wide variety of techniques and things that you can do on a smoker is amazing to me.

Favorite Comfort Food:


Favorite culinary destination:

Haven’t found it yet.  Every time I go anywhere I map out the variety of restaurants, food halls, and markets that I need to visit during the trip and hit as many of them as possible.


For more Culinary Q&A’s from Whitney Long,  click the name:

Matthew Raiford and Jovan Savage

Brys Stephens

Nico Romo

Travis Grimes

Greg Marks

Marc Collins

Sarah O’Kelley

Shawn Kelly

Chris Stewart

Michelle Weaver

Nathan Lippy


Whitney Long View More Blog Posts from this Author

Whitney Long is co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit. Mama x 4, wife x 1. Entrepreneur, thinker, doer, writer, researcher, believer. Enjoys working alongside creative entrepreneurs to build community while supporting established and upcoming brands. Hobbies include travel, reading, bike rides and clever craft cocktails.

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