Chef Ambassador Program

Each year, a small number of select chefs are chosen for their dedication to incorporating healthy, locally grown ingredients into their menus.

The Chef Ambassador program is an initiative created and developed in 2014 and facilitated by both the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) and the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT). The purpose of the South Carolina Chef Ambassador Program is to promote the state’s cuisine and locally grown products that make South Carolina a culinary destination.  The program seeks ways to educate local and statewide citizens, as well as visitors to the state, on the importance of eating local, buying local, and supporting your area farmers. Each year a Chef Ambassador will be selected from the state’s four regions: the Upstate, Midlands, Pee Dee, and Lowcountry.

To learn more about the Chef Ambassador Program and past classes, please visit –


2024 Chef Ambassadors

Chef Leslie Rohland

The Cottage Café Bakery & Tea Room | Bluffton, South Carolina

As founder, owner and head chef/baker at The Cottage Café, Bakery & Tea Room, Chef Leslie serves up innovative cuisine and Southern hospitality in Old Town Bluffton. After the success of The Cottage, she opened May River Coffee Roasters, The Juice Hive, SideCar Catering, and The Bluffton Pasta Shoppe, all committed to offering fresh, local cuisine.

Chef Michael Sibert

Anonymous Burgers | Greer, South Carolina

A Greenwood native and alumnus of Cornell University and the Culinary Institute of the Carolinas, Chef Michael trained in New Orleans before moving to Greer, where he has headed up high-end establishments for more than a decade. Chef Michael opened Anonymous Burgers in Cartwright Food Hall in 2023.

Chef Javier Uriarte

Ratio | Elgin, South Carolina

Chef Javier gained his culinary experience in DC-area restaurant kitchens before moving to Columbia in 2013. He is chef and owner of Ratio in the Kershaw County/Northeast Columbia region, a tapas-style restaurant influenced by Chef Javier’s Peruvian background and Southern comfort food.