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Faces of food

Curious about your epicurean neighbors? Come meet a few locals who are making life delicious in the Lowcountry.

Story by Barry Kaufman + Photography by Lisa Staff

Of all life’s necessities, none invites inspired experimentation quite like food. Yes, there’s something to be said for water, but only for the important role it plays in making beer. But you’ll never hear of anyone preparing gourmet air, for example. Food, on the other hand, is the ultimate expression of necessity and invention. Take a simple cut of meat or a juicy ripe vegetable, and in the right hands it can become a masterpiece.

Here in the Lowcountry we take food very seriously. More than nourishment, it is a way of life and a point of regional pride. Bring mustard-based sauce to the wrong barbecue, or pop a can of oysters at a roast if you want to find out first-hand. As our culinary profile rises, we’d like to introduce three locals leading the way.

Miles Huff

This ‘Southern boy’ brings leadership and experience to TCL’s new culinary school.

Chef Miles Huff is the dean of culinary arts and hospitality for the Technical College of the Lowcountry’s Culinary Institute of the South. Hobbies are fishing, gardening, and, of course, cooking.

As a chef, Miles Huff is skilled in any number of techniques, preparations, and culinary avenues. In fact, the only thing he’s really bad at is retiring.

The first time he retired, exiting the Air Force Reserves in 2002 as a Master Sergeant after 25 years of service, was just the beginning. From there he continued on as he had been, on the staff at Johnson and Wales University, blissfully unretired. Two years later he was tasked with expanding the culinary program at Trident Technical College, and over the course of a decade he did just that and more. More than an expansion, he oversaw its transformation into the Culinary Institute of Charleston as the student body grew from 240 to 1,100.

He tried retiring again in 2014, moving into a consultancy capacity. It was as close to retirement as he’s come, and it didn’t last long.

“The dean (at CIC) told me, ‘Hey, I hear they’re trying to build a culinary school down at Technical College of the Lowcountry,’” said Huff. “So I went to check on it, and they wanted me to be the dean. I said, ‘Nah, I’m good.’ But I thought being the dean and building a school would be an exciting end to my career. As a Southern boy, I found the Foodseum very intriguing. The Foodseum, an interactive museum which will tell the story of Southern food, is set to open on the campus in 2022.”

Once again, retirement proved elusive. Drawn by the chance to cook up an entire culinary program from scratch, Huff dove into the creation of the Culinary Institute of the South with gusto and is helping to put the lower 843 on the map. “In Charleston we drew a lot of students from here,” he said. “And statistics show 74 percent of students stay where they are trained… Bluffton is the second fastest growing place in South Carolina behind Fort Mill. So Bluffton is up and coming.”

And as any restaurant owner can tell you, it’s been a little difficult to find chefs, as Chef Huff quickly learned.

“You have SERG Group, you have Sea Pines, you have Montage all screaming for people,” he said. “So they were all on board before I even got here to give support.”

Huff aims to give them all the people they need, trained not just in the fine art of food preparation but in every aspect of the restaurant industry from food costs to managing personnel. “It’s not just putting food on a plate,” he said. “Managing a business is almost the most important part of the job.”

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Cassandra Schultz

This Bluffton woman sells home essentials utilized by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.

Cassandra Schultz is the co-owner of Cassandra’s Kitchen, a kitchen supply store in Bluffton. She loves to play beach volleyball and enjoys watching her children play sports.

Among foodies, Ina Garten is something of royalty. Popularly known as The Barefoot Contessa, she rocketed to fame after the publication of her cookbook following years of success as a private caterer and retail operator in East Hampton, Long Island. 

And Cassandra Schultz was there from the beginning. 

“When I worked at the store, Ina was known just for being a caterer and business owner in the area. The store had celebrity status. She had many patrons who adored Barefoot Contessa, including many celebrities — Steven Spielberg, Lauren Bacall, Chevy Chase.”

But when Ina Garten published her first book, it was off to the races. Garten hired Schultz’s mother, Barbara Libath, part-time to grocery shop, which grew into a full-time job as a recipe tester and personal assistant. After her first book, “Ina really became somebody.”

And with that fame came national interest in the many dishes, cooking utensils and kitchen tools that Garten used on her show. Schultz saw a business opportunity. She founded Cassandra’s Kitchen as an online emporium for all things Ina Garten, sourcing out any equipment that she could find that the Barefoot Contessa used on her show. She also offers many simple and classic products for everyday use — not necessarily used by Garten. 

“Ina was very supportive from the beginning.” said Schultz. “We’re not directly affiliated with her, but since Ina doesn’t have her own line, we designed a website and just went with it… when Ina does something, she focuses on that and does it really well. There are so many great companies putting out these products, so rather than have her own, she acknowledges that this is good, this is what she uses.”

Schultz started out small, running her business out of her house for 10 years. As the business grew, linen closets began overflowing with products ready to ship. A dedicated room within her house was quickly outgrown as well. “My husband is a golf pro, so we moved a lot. And every time we’d move, I’d have to put everything into my car.”

The in-home stockroom eventually became a garage filled with boxes and products ready to ship around the world. When Schultz realized she no longer had a place for her children’s bikes, she decided it was time to move into a full warehouse. For Cassandra’s Kitchen it was a coming-of-age moment and a chance for Schultz to separate work life and home life.

“I’d be taking deliveries at 7:30 a.m. as I was in my PJs making my kids breakfast,” she said.

Her latest move saw her coming from Philadelphia down to Bluffton as her husband, Eric Schultz, became the director of golf at Colleton River in January of 2020. With that came a new opportunity for Cassandra’s Kitchen, something that had never surfaced before: a retail space. Schultz had originally been looking for warehouse space and found it in the light industrial park off of Red Cedar Street in a space which enjoyed a full storefront.

“I’m learning a lot,” said Schulz. “I’ve never worked retail, so it’s a learning process. I like to take baby steps.”

Tucked away in a destination that is quickly becoming a haven for foodies, Cassandra’s Kitchen shares a parking lot with Heritage Peanut Company, Lowcountry Kitchen, Lot 9 Brewing Company and Russo’s Seafood. It’s a natural fit for a place that beautifully showcases the gourmet kitchen supplies that helped turn Garten into a global sensation.

“All these years, everything’s been in boxes.” she said. “So when I got everything out for display, it was so beautiful to me. It really sells itself.”

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Angela Rummans

This former reality TV star promotes the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Angela Rummans was born and raised on Hilton Head and moved back to the island in 2019 with her fiancé, Tyler Crispen. She is the author of Angela’s Plant-Based Kitchen. Pre-order Volume 2 of the book at

Before she was a professional track and field athlete, before she was a contestant on Big Brother 20, but while she was just a kid growing up on Hilton Head, Angela Rummans was just, in her own words, “One of the weird kids watching Emeril on TV instead of Nickelodeon.”

A dedicated foodie from a young age, she began to take a different look at what she ate while training for the Olympics in 2013. As part of a deep-dive research spree into nutrition and athletic performance, she stumbled across a book about veganism that had an enormous impact on her. “I honestly wouldn’t ever have read it because I was one of those people who associated low protein with less performance,” she said. “I read this book, and I deeply wanted it to not be true.”

It was enough to convince her, and she went vegan for 30 days right before the biggest track and field meet of the year. “People told me, ‘You are crazy. You’re going to mess up your performance,’” she said. “It was the complete opposite — I had so much energy, and a nagging knee injury that just went away. Instead of feeling like I needed a nap after every meal, I felt a burst of energy.”  

After appearing on Big Brother and meeting fiancé Tyler Crispen, the two of them moved to Hilton Head Island. Two years ago they made yet another commitment, as Crispen and Rummans are now avowed vegans. “It started out as a thing we did for health reasons, but then once we dove into the ethical reasons and the environmental reasons behind it, it kind of snowballed into activism,” she said.

When quarantine hit, that activism made its way into Rummans’ kitchen. The kid who grew up watching Food Network was now a young lady with a mission in her heart to spread delicious, approachable plant-based recipes. “I’m really trying to veganize non-vegan foods, all those comfort foods you don’t get to enjoy as a vegan,” she said. “When you transition to a plant-centric diet, you don’t have to give everything up. It can be just as fulfilling and delicious.”

Within three months she created and photographed 100 different recipes, from stews and meat-free meat loaves to the popular Bang Bang cauliflower. Originally intending to publish it as an eBook, she began fielding requests for a hardcover copy. The first volume of “Angela’s Plant-Based Kitchen” proved so popular, a second volume is now on its way.

“It’s hard to express all the reasons why we should focus on a plant-based diet,” she said. “Once people realize they don’t have to give up anything, they’re more open to seeing other reasons.”

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