NAME: Jessica Slaughter
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Charleston, SC
HOMETOWN: Columbia, SC, just up the road.
SHORT BIO: Jessica’s college education brought her to Charleston from Columbia, SC. Looking for a job while attending The College of Charleston, she walked into FIG and was hired as a hostess. Two years later, she was a servers’ assistant and by senior year she was a server. After graduating, she spent a year serving at FIG and traveling before starting the hunt for work outside of F&B in 2008. The economy had just crashed and there were, “no real jobs.” Jessica continued to serve at FIG until the administrative team needed assistance. Thirteen years in, Jessica continues to support the company and its growth. She helped them open The Ordinary three and a half years ago.
WHY DO YOU LIVE IN CHS AND COULD YOU LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE?
Charleston really has everything for me. It’s close to the beach and close to my family. It has the feel of a small city with some of the perks of a big city, the food scene, history, and culture. I like to visit other places, but ultimately I love living here.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT CAULIFLOWER RICE THAT GETS PEOPLE SO EXCITED?
I think you can thank Pinterest for that – that’s where I discovered it. It’s low carb, it’s easy, it’s versatile. At home, I make an amazing cauliflower fried rice.
WHAT’S YOUR EARLIEST RESTAURANT/FOOD MEMORY?
We used to go to this Tavern in Columbia called Yesterdays. My mom actually waited tables there to put herself through college so we would go when I was really young. I always ordered these chicken fingers that came with a bowl of white gravy. I used to think it was weird but…
WHAT/WHO INSPIRES YOU?
It’s cliché, but my husband is the most inspiring person in my life. He sees the good in everyone, whereas I tend towards cynicism. He balances me. He’s also a personal trainer, so he’s constantly helping people better themselves (including me).
Now, what you’ve been waiting for…
CURRENT RESTAURANT CRUSH?
I’m pretty enamored with Le Farfalle. I’ve only brushed the surface – once while attending the Resy launch party and once at their bar for apps – so I need to go for dinner.
BEST ICE CREAM IN CHS?
The olive oil sea salt gelato at Beardcat. I dream about it so simple and so good.
ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST, YAY OR NAY?
I’d love to say yes, but for me, I go for bite of ice cream right at the end of the night.
LATE NIGHT FOOD FIRST INSTINCT. GO.
Pizza and champagne is my late night craving. It’s from when I was a server at FIG. We would all get off work and go to this restaurant around the corner that’s no longer there called Mercado. They had a late-night cheap pizza and $2 champagne deal. Now it’s like, Pavlovian.
WHAT ARE 5 MUST-DO RECOMMENDATIONS YOU GIVE FRIENDS VISITING CHS?
This is a hard question, there are a lot. Of course, when I have friends visit I make reservations at FIG and The Ordinary. If we’re tight on time, I’ll recommend oysters and champagne at The Ordinary and then dinner at FIG, and if we’re really ambitious, jazz and a nightcap/dessert at Charleston Grill. Xiao Bao Biscuit is another must-visit, maybe for lunch. A walk and a picnic at The Battery is always fun. I pretty much always take people out to the beach. If it’s nice out we take out paddle boards, and if it’s cold we walk to the Morris lighthouse and this dead forest with bleached trees, where my husband proposed, actually.
TOP FIVE FAVORITE RESTAURANTS IN CHS RIGHT NOW. GO.
TOP FIVE FAVORITE DRINKS SPOTS IN CHS RIGHT NOW. GO.
TOP FIVE CHS BURGERS. GO.
TOP FIVE CHS DESSERTS. GO.
Parlor Deluxe sundaes (burnt fluff waffle). Charleston Grill foie gras. Almost every time I eat there the foie gras comes out for dessert. It’s not on the dessert menu, but it’s usually served in some kind of sweet presentation that is rich enough to be a dessert (most recently, grilled peach olive oil cake and bourbon molasses). The Butterscotch Pot de Creme at FIG, the rice pudding at The Ordinary, and Xiao Bao Biscuit Szechuan Pepper Sorbet. It’s cold, sweet, and numbing, unlike anything else.
And there you have it. A front row seat in the life of a restaurant industry-buff.
The best tables, the best times, the best restaurants. Grab a seat.