A Gourmet Life: Chef Adam Kirby

By Leslie Moore

A Gourmet Life: Chef Adam Kirby

Chef Adam Kirby, Bistro 217

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a new dad; my son, Abel, is four months old and the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. My wife, Lindsay Hart-Kirby is a local girl; she and her mom own Pawleys Island Wear in the Hammock Shops. My dad and his wife live here, and my mom, who lives in Atlanta, comes to visit a lot, especially since we had Abel. We live near the river in Hagley Plantation. I love my river view!

I was born in Atlanta, but have lived from Hawaii to Charleston. When I realized a traditional four year college wasn’t for me, I started working in a restaurant in Charleston. From there I moved around a lot, living in Hawaii, Oregon, San Francisco, and even Athens, Georgia, for a while. I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland, Oregon, and have been fortunate to work with some of the best chefs in the United States. My personal cooking style has evolved from all of my influences – I grew up surrounded by wonderful, traditional Southern cooks, was trained in classic French cuisine and influenced by the amazing Pacific Rim cuisine from my time in Hawaii and San Francisco.

What do you do for Thanksgiving?

This holiday is the only time I cook when I’m not at work. We have 30-40 friends and family members over and prepare a feast! I do fried turkeys, baked turkeys, and just about everything you could imagine for Thanksgiving. Luckily for me, my wife and my mom are both excellent cooks and help prepare the meal.

Which family member had the most influence on you becoming a chef? Why?

Definitely my mom: I grew in a house where everything from mayonnaise to jelly was homemade, and traditional Southern food was served. At an early age, Mom taught me the difference between good and bad food. My friends all came to my house to eat – even when I wasn’t at home! Cooking delicious food is a generational thing in my family – my mom learned to cook from her mom and so on down the line.

What are you grateful for right now?

My little boy – I never knew you could love someone so much. Also, my beautiful wife, my family, my pack of crazy dogs, my business partner, Anne Hardee, and the great staff here at Bistro 217. My life is good.

Tell us a little about Bistro 217.

We cook “from the hip,” meaning we don’t use recipes. We cook to taste. As much as possible, all of our ingredients are local, organic and fresh. Our fresh fish is delivered daily, we grind our own meat for burgers and everything is made from scratch. Our sous chefs, Raiford King and Elvis Xhani are amazing, which makes it easy for us to communicate what we want to achieve.

We have customers who eat here every day we’re open. I think Bistro 217 is sort of like “Cheers” with good food! This fall and winter we will do a lot of catering and holiday parties – I love winter food featuring the hearty winter vegetables and heavier fare. Plus, business is a little slower in the winter, and we have time to really create and refine our cuisine.

Bistro 217 Restaurant and Bar, located at 10707 Ocean Highway in Pawleys Island, is open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. Contact them at 843-235-8217.

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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