Jeb Aldrich finished working with his father, Jay Swift, at Noble Fin the last week of June. Since then, he’s spent some time in Charleston, working in some of Steven Palmer’s restaurants “to get to know the culture” of the Indigo Road, because that’s the group that will run the food and beverage program at the renovated Hotel Clermont. Aldrich will be the executive chef of the hotel’s yet-to-be-named restaurant as well as its rooftop bar.
“From what I’m hearing, the hotel will open the first of the year,” says Aldrich. “There’s always a pipe that’s not where it should be, so there’s always something that could happen, but that’s what I’m hearing. January 1.”
The 90-seat restaurant, which will be open daily for dinner as well as for Sunday brunch, will be a French-style brasserie. “France is where I first fell in love with food,” says Aldrich, who worked for Joël Antunes at his eponymous restaurant, Joël, for almost two years. (Joël closed in 2010.) “That’s where I first saw really refined technique.”
Aldrich has been working on his new menu this week, but he can’t reveal anything yet. Palmer—who Aldrich first met fresh out of Johnson & Wales University when they both worked at the Peninsula Grill in Charleston—has to approve of his plans.
“He’s kind of on the forefront of the way the restaurant culture is changing,” Aldrich says of Palmer. “The days of the screaming chefs are dying out. Steve’s idea is that if we treat our employees well, and talk to people the right way, then everything else falls into place.”
Aldrich says he’ll miss working with his father, who is his mentor, but after 10 years in the kitchen together, it’s time for him to do his own thing. As for Swift, he is “very proud.”