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 –


2023 Chef Ambassadors

Chef Erica McCier

Indigenous Underground | Abbeville, South Carolina

Chef Erica, also known as Chef Trudy, is the owner and executive chef of Indigenous Underground in historic downtown Abbeville. Formerly a schoolteacher, Chef Trudy went to culinary school after overcoming major health setbacks, and went on to open a catering business known as Trudy’s Personal Chef & Catering and co-found Off Tha Hook Seafood & Grill. Her menu at Indigenous Underground mixes Southern food and global influences.

Chef Rob Masone

Kounter | Rock Hill, South Carolina

After building an extensive resume as a chef across the country, Chef Rob returned home to Rock Hill to open Kounter in 2020. The Rock Hill restaurant is home to the historic Friendship Nine Sit-In lunch counter, which has given Chef Rob a landing place for his innovative culinary creations.

Chef Marcus Shell

39 Rue De Jean | Charleston, South Carolina

A New England native with a seafood background and classic French culinary training who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Boston, Chef Marcus honed his skills in some of Boston’s finer establishments. He is now Executive Chef at Charleston’s beloved French brasserie, 39 Rue de Jean.