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Crafted in the Lowcountry Awards – Judges

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The judges are experts in their field including a professional chef, an acclaimed artist, a professional stylist and a mixologist. Categories include: Food, Drink, Art, Style, Home and Crafts.


Trey Place
Chef and Dean of the Cooking School at Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana

Chef Trey Place grew up on Hilton Head and began working in local restaurants at the age of 14. He pursued his interest in the culinary arts and graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park in 1989. Throughout Trey’s storied career, he has worked in high-end restaurants and clubs in Upstate New York, Manhattan, New Orleans, Atlanta and South Florida. He had the honor of cooking at the prestigious James Beard House on two occasions.


Tony “Cheetah” Chism
Managing Partner, GM and Bar Manager at WiseGuys

Tony Chism started in the food and beverage industry at a young age (12), cleaning and stocking his grandmother’s bar. Upon entering college and starting in the ‘dish-pit’, he eventually worked his way up to running a kitchen while graduating college. In 2000 he joined the SERG Group as the kitchen manager at the old Hilton Head Brewing Company. Tony left the SERG Group to start up and operate Stu’s Surfside, which he sold in 2006 and later re-joined the SERG Group to launch WiseGuys. He has grown the WiseGuys beverage program to be the best on the island with a wine program that includes 50 wines by the glass and an extensive bottle list, yielding a Wine Spector Award of Excellence every year since their inception. The program also boasts an impressive 100 bottle bourbon and scotch list, extensive bar, including numerous house-infused liquors and craft beers.


Carolyn Males

Writer and Arts Community Leader

Over the years, Carolyn Males has written on a variety of subjects for national and regional publications. Since moving to the island, she has focused on arts and culture. When it comes to the visual arts, she believes in hands-on research –– ­­­­her excuse for being an art course junkie since she’s been old enough to wield a crayon. As a result some of her favorite places are artist’s studios where she can hang out with masters of different mediums and techniques.


Kay Stanley
Founder and CEO of Spartina 449

Kay Stanley was immediately inspired by the surrounding Lowcountry landscape, and not long after her move to Daufuskie Island, plans for a luxury handbag company were put into place. Kay and her husband Curt’s second successful company, Spartina 449, launched in 2009. The Spartina 449 product line is carried in 13 of its own brand stores as well as in more than 1,500 retail stores across the United States and overseas. In addition, Spartina 449 has twice earned a top 5,000 ranking status from Inc. magazine.


Joni Vanderslice
Founder and President of J. Banks Design Group

Joni Vanderslice founded her multidiscipline interior design firm over thirty-three years ago. Since then, she has nurtured the Hilton Head Island-based operation into an internationally recognized force in residential and resort design. With over fifty associates and a credo of luxury without pretense, J. Banks Design takes on a global portfolio of interior design projects that translate resort living to home—and home to resort living.


Meredith Taylor
Owner and Retail Leader of Gifted Hilton Head

Meredith has been in the retail industry since 1980. She began her career in Pittsburgh as a buyer for Kaufmann’s, a division of May Company Department Stores. While at Kaufmann’s, she was also part of the May Corporate buying team, developing products overseas for the Housewares division. After leaving May Corporation, she used her retail and design experience in a successful sales career with both Mikasa and Lladro and was named Salesperson of the Year for Lladro. She became owner of Gifted, well known and respected specialty stores in Pittsburgh in 1997 and fulfilled her dream of opening a store on Hilton Head in 2011. Gifted Hilton Head has enjoyed great success and has been voted Favorite Gift Shop on Hilton Head every year. Meredith is now a full time island resident enjoying life in the Lowcountry.