Elizabeth “Heidi” Trull:
Heidi is the owner and chef at Grits and Groceries, a destination restaurant in Belton, South Carolina featuring her signature eclectic southern cooking. A restaurateur for 25 years, Heidi has developed her creative southern dishes through years of training and experimentation and has championed of farm-to-table food for decades.
Raised on a large farm in South Carolina, Heidi taught herself to cook as a kid by making everything in the classic Charleston Receipts cookbook. She went on to study at Johnson and Wales in Charleston, then worked with outstanding chefs like Elizabeth Terry at Elizabeth’s on 37th Street in Savannah, and Emeril Lagasse at Nola in New Orleans.
Heidi fit right into the tradition of culinary excellence in New Orleans, and opened the award-winning Elizabeth’s Restaurant. People were drawn to her creative comfort food and easy going mood, and Elizabeth’s received rave reviews in Gourmet and Southern Living, and was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.
Heidi and her husband Joe (an incredible chef in his own right) returned to South Carolina to open Grits and Groceries in a refurbished country store, where they continue her faith in the fabulousness of southern cooking with flare. Always market-inspired, they source their ingredients within a 100-mile radius, and if they can’t get the right produce, they change their menu. Grits and Groceries has been spotlighted on local programs like Making it Grow, and national TV such as the Food Network and PBS’ Travels with Darley. They have been featured in the New York Times and on CNN.com.
Heidi published a cookbook, Real Food Done Real Good, and always remains active in the community. She is a Chef Ambassador for the State of South Carolina and on the advisory boards for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and Euphoria Greenville. She teaches a 4H cooking club, and mentors teens interested in culinary careers.
Joe Trull comes from a long line of chefs. His grandfather operated a commercial bakery in Winston-Salem in the 1920s, and his whole family was in the bread business. During high school, Joe spent summers working in his family’s bakery, and he too got bit by the baking bug.
Shortly after graduating, Joe secured a spot at the award-winning French restaurant, La Chaudiere. During his time there, he worked closely with the pastry chef and cultivated the care and attention to detail required of the world’s finest pastry chefs. He further honed his skills as chef at the Glendale Springs Inn, cooking from the fresh vegetable and herb gardens, and changing the menu daily. And though his next step took him to be the head chef of the nationally-renowned Asheville restaurant, The Market Place, Joe came to realize that his heart was in the details and desserts. So he spent a year at the Blue Moon Bakery before being lured to New Orleans with the offer of the prestigious pastry chef position at Emeril Lagasse’s world-famous French Quarter restaurant, Nola.
Joe enjoyed a richly rewarding 10 years as Emeril’s pastry chef, setting the dessert menu, training new chefs for Emeril’s other restaurants, and helping Emeril’s culinary empire grow from two to nine restaurants.
When Joe and Heidi decided to simplify, returning to their roots to raise their son, Tom, Joe looked forward to being in the country near where their cooking ingredients are grown and produced. Wherever possible he stocks Grits and Groceries with locally-grown organic produce and dairy products and when you come out to the restaurant you will see the extensive and changing menu of desserts that have made Joe famous. Some of his specialties include Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie and Vanilla Root Beer Marbled Pound Cake, and he hand-makes a full range of ice creams (using local Happy Cow Creamery products) including enticing flavors like Coffee Toffee and Bourbon Butter Pecan. Come hungry!
I was born in New Orleans, but I am at home now at Saylors Crossroads. I get to play with my Mamma, Daddy, Grandma, Uncle and dear friends (like Miss Grace and Mr. Merle) every day. Plus I have a horse named Cookie. I love to be outside, and already know how to cook and work in the garden.