Melding Cuisines

Chef Charise Cureton shares tips for cooking at home

Cureton 2

Chef CHARISE CURETON with Grasshoppers Catering loves to experiment and put new twists on different cuisines.

As a personal chef, Cureton provides catering for small events, prepares dinners, and hosts cooking classes.

This week, Cureton hosted a Facebook Live cooking class at Hawthorne at Leland.

While currently working full-time at Bourbon Street and also a private chef, Cureton hopes to grow Grasshoppers Catering.

“My immediate goal is to get kitchen space of my own once the pandemic passes. Bourbon Street will be too busy for me to get in there. I currently do most of my work from their kitchen as my employer is very encouraging of my growth and aspirations. I try to provide an experience that you want to repeat, so far so good,” she says.

“Down the line, I think I would thrive in a bed and breakfast environment, as I love the homey appeal. I basically want people to stop by for however long and enjoy good food and company. The end game would be a resort. I believe after two decades in hospitality I have an awesome concept.”

Cureton shares her beginnings, cooking style and advice for people learning to cook at home during the coronavirus

WILMA: What got you into cooking?
Cureton: “Over 20 years ago I relocated from Staten Island, NY to Myrtle Beach, SC. I found work in the hospitality industry but soon found out what seasonal meant. I got a job from a friend as an apprentice to an executive chef. He asked what skills I had which were none at the time, and took me under his wing. I didn’t get to cook anything for almost a year. By the time I did, I could.”

WILMA: How would you describe your cooking style? what kind of food do you focus on?
Cureton: “I have thought about this and I have to say maybe Americana? I say this because I like foods from a variety of cultures. Growing up in New York I got to experience the melting pot in foods. Most cultures are represented there. So I make my own twist on a variety of cuisines. I like Italian, Chinese, Caribbean, Spanish, and Mexican. I personally avoid spicy things but I would burn for Jerk Chicken. I started making that trying to achieve a “mild” version.

I focus on anything that I like to eat. I am diverse and like to think I can do almost anything so no focus for now. I like sauces and gravies. However, I eagerly await the legal opportunity to cook holistically for people with hemp products. So that will be the future focus.”

WILMA: Do you have advice for people learning to cook while at home during the coronavirus?
Curaton: “This is definitely the time to try new things. If you weren’t accustomed to cooking for yourself pre-corona I would take it easy and start with simple things or take advantage of the wide variety of meal starters in your grocery store. You can tune in to the many videos and live streaming that are beginning to pop up. Another shame-free plug for Hawthorne at Smith Creek. If you are experienced, be courageous and daring. Now is the chance to do something different.”

WILMA: What kind of skills should people focus on when learning to cook?
Curaton: “There are a host of resources available for the new cook. Most of them are free. I would learn how to handle a knife and kitchen etiquette to avoid cross-contamination. Also, pay attention to the instructions to achieve the desired results. I learned that early on when I started baking and working with doughs.”

WILMA: How was participating in the Facebook Live cooking lesson?
Cureton: “I owe this all to Hawthorne properties and their wonderful idea to keep activities up for their residents. I had already conducted a class on egg rolls and potstickers when they opened their Smith Creek location. It was an easy idea for them to convert to live streaming to continue to provide their residents with awesome activities.”

Cureton shares a recipe for butter chicken.

Butter Chicken


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Categories: Taste