When you talk about local with Chef Frank Bradley, you’ll quickly realize the topic goes beyond the ingredients he uses as the Executive Chef at Hendrix. This born and raised Columbia SC native has been making his way in local restaurants since high school. From prepping sandwiches at The Other Store during his teen years to bartending in Five Points later on, Bradley's career in food has grown right along with the city’s restaurant scene.
After a few years to sharpen his craft in Atlanta and Charleston, he returned home to Columbia SC in 2014 to work at Bourbon and then Black Rooster. Throughout his career as a chef, sourcing food locally has been at the center of his approach. “I do try to keep it as local as possible and always seasonal. We’ve got a lot of really good smaller farms in SC” he says giving a shout out to Monetta Asparagus Farms who he looks forward to working with this spring, among others.
At Hendrix, Chef Frank says, “I talk a lot with my staff and bounce ideas off of them all day. I like working with the young crew because they give a different perspective on things.” The staff’s fresh perspective and Bradley's experience working with local food culminates in a menu stocked with favorite dishes with an elevated twist. One of Chef Frank’s favorite desserts growing up was the humble cruller donut, and when you run the kitchen, you get to put your childhood favorites on the menu. Chef Frank dressed this donut up with a delicate lemon glaze you never knew was missing from this classic treat. You’ll see a similar approach to dishes like the mushroom toast, lamb ribs and oyster trio.
While we could share recommendations all day long, the real key to the Hendrix experience is ordering the seasonal dishes while you can. For some ingredients like asparagus and shad roe, Chef Frank warns that the local growing season is short. Check in regularly to see what Chef Frank and his team in the Hendrix kitchen are working on.