Meet Our Chefs

HI, I'M CHEF ABBYE.

I’m a little salty, but I try for charming.

I love: Jesus, salt air + sand, my people and I AM HERE for Grey’s Anatomy and New Girl.

I’ve learned a thing or two about southern cooking, keeping my table full and my heart open, parenting in less than ideal circumstances, and starting over after I thought I had it all figured out. But the truth is, we never ever get it all figured out, right? Right. I’m glad we agree.

A few years ago, I found myself smack dab in the middle of an early mid-life crisis. I quit my 13 year career as a creative director and I didn’t know who the hell I was anymore. But I instinctively knew what I needed to do.

I needed to feed people. I needed to be able to show love in ways that made sense to me. My knives and cast iron pans were almost as good as my therapist’s couch and I was lucky enough to have friends and family that didn’t mind being fed so that I could recover.

I think I opened my doors at LEAST every other Sunday night for months and months. Food was flying out of my kitchen. People were sitting around my piano or on the floor with a guitar. Friends brought their pups and things were chaotic and perfect. Feeding people was how I could love and how I could forget and how I could stay connected when I so desperately felt alone.

I discovered that investing in other people in whatever way I could allowed me to heal more quickly and thoroughly than if I secluded myself hoping that people would come to ME. {and they did come… but it’s such a reciprocal thing, you know? I don’t think they would have/could have come if I didn’t do the work to keep the heavy door to my heart open.}

I started catering and baking for friends and family and then stumbled onto food blogging when my friends kept asking me for recipes. Then I managed a restaurant bakery and catering department in a super trendy downtown spot. (That was a crazy baptism by fire right there…. I learned SO MUCH) From there I helped start a small new restaurant, making all of their desserts, handmade pastas, soups and such before I took another trip around the blogging/teaching sun on my own. I thought I was done with professional kitchen life… but noooooo. I was recruited to manage the large scale wholesale bakery/culinary kitchen/catering departments for a local farm to table company! I met so many amazing people there that I still love to work with today.

But ultimately I have always known that my passion is in food and lifestyle writing, teaching others to cook and creating welcoming environments for others to have special in-home culinary events that celebrate amazing food and their community. THIS is what makes my heart just go all pitter-patter!

So thank you from the bottom of my heart for stopping by to hang out for a bit. Let’s just pretend you’re sitting around our table sharing a meal… take your time {and your shoes off} and stay for a bit.

I sure do love you. (especially YOU!)

-Abbye

CHEF ALLI

Chef Alli was born on the East Coast, where, as a young girl she grew up with a passion for the ocean, adventure, and FOOD passed on by her father. She began cooking at a young age, preparing meals for her family of five, and continues to create beautiful dishes with love and artistry. For the past 7 years, Alli has lived in the Virgin Islands, with her husband, where she was a Chef on a Private Yacht, and has obtained her Certificate in Culinary Arts from Ashburton Academy in England. With family members from all over the world, she considers her style of cooking a fusion from Spanish-Caribbean-Southern and always uses the most important ingredient, love!

Alli loves to bring a fusion of flavors, learned throughout the years of travel to your table.

Chef Alli is currently working as a yacht chef on charter with her husband, Dan in the Virgin Islands! She contributes to the Salt + Charm family with content creation, menu and recipe development and moral support for Abbye + Emily as needed. (which is often) She’s the best!

CHEF EMILY

Emily comes to us with a lifetime of experience and a whole lot of southern hospitality and charm. She was raised in a family full of culinary experts from the barbecue pit to the bakery. While living in Nashville, she owned and operated the Nashville Tea Room and has extensive experience in catering and restaurant management. When she and her husband Ron moved their family to Wilmington, fate put her in the same commercial kitchens as Abbye for a while and they have been making food magic together ever since. She is the mother of two handsome boys and two gorgeous girls (and one sassy pup), loves to serve others in her church and neighborhood and definitely keeps us all sane and laughing.

Emily is our catering director and operations manager. (basically she does all the things and does them all well)

Chef Lora

Lora + Abbye met while working together in a farm to table company here in Wilmington. (the same place we also met Emily! And Keala! And Caroline!) Lora was slinging gelato and gorgeous chocolates in the kitchen next to where Abbye was slinging bread and a million cakes.

Lora has a wonderful husband, Steve and gorgeous daughter, Alaina who is busy in graduate school and traveling the world! Lora and Steve live in downtown Wilmington where Lora is also involved in weekly community dinners with
Northside Food Co-Op.

Chef Lora is one of our in-home personal chefs, one of our catering managers and regularly chefs for our private chef dinner parties! If you’ve had her food, you are one of the lucky ones!

Chef Caroline

Meet Chef Caroline! She is a beautiful soul that we all love dearly and MAN can she make us laugh like no other! Caroline + Abbye have known each other since they were basically babies and are so grateful that they are able to work together now! 

Caroline grew up in Wilmington and went to culinary school at Cape Fear. She worked in and managed kitchens for years until Abbye finally wooed her to the S+C team as one of our personal chefs. She is a powerhouse in the kitchen and we honestly don’t know what we would do without her. She also chefs for private dinner parties, manages large caterings with ease and is the best gift-giver in all the land.

Chef Keala

Meet Chef Keala! We are proud to have her on our team of culinary magicians. Keala wows us every damn day with her skills and makes sure to leave extra cookies for all us because that just makes everything better. 

Keala was born in Atlanta GA, but grew up here in Wilmington, NC. She has always been interested in art and music, and now she channels her creativity into food. She feels fortunate that her first real experience in a professional kitchen started working with Abbye in a commercial bakery when she was 21. While there, she learned as much as she possibly could about baking and she found a passion for making food.

From there, she worked at Vivian Howard’s restaurant Bennys Big Time where she eventually become a pastry chef. There she learned not only about food, but that she had a real passion for cooking and wanted to make it a career.

She and her partner love to host dinner parties with their friends, experimenting with new recipes and growing her savory food skills.

Keala is working as an in-home personal chef for Salt and Charm, and preparing desserts for events and catering. She is excited to be working alongside so many amazing talented women and looks forward to make much more delish food!

Chef Anthi

Meet Chef Anthi!

Anthi found her love for cooking when she could see over the counter on my kitchen stepstool – it has always been her creative outlet. By preschool, she was on her way to making her own garden-fresh marinara sauce and chocolate chip cookies with the guidance of her mother.  This later turned to making Greek cookies and baklava to give to her friends and teachers at school just to show her appreciation for them. 

Anthi’s love for exploring different cuisines grew over the past eight years as she traveled to over a dozen countries, living in both Avignon, France as a Rotary exchange student and studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain.  Her number one thing to really explore was always the individual nuances of cuisines, and her number one souvenir was always a regional cookbook!

We are SO grateful that Anthi found her way to us. She serves as one of our in-home personal chefs, our wine curator for both Salt + Charm and The Starling Bar, assists with our meal prep service in the kitchen and chefs for private events!  

Chef Allegra

Meet Chef Allegra!

Allegra is a formally trained Johnson & Wales hospitality professional with over 10 years of experience. She is trained in both back of house operations and front of house service. She is proficient in culinary tasks which include whole animal butchery, patisserie, bread baking, global cuisine, and more.  

She is also experienced with developing custom menus, beverage pairings, event design, and decor for curated event experiences. Allegra has successfully led teams to execute over 25 National Food & Wine Events, Charity Dinners, Weddings, and Intimate Dining Experiences in private homes and restaurants. 

We are so happy to have Chef Allegra on our team of badass women and she constantly inspires us with her beautifully thoughtful plates. She serves as one of our in-home personal chefs, assists with our catering and kitchen logistics and serves as chef for many of our private events.