We kinda knew this was coming. Last May, a big story in the Post and Courier announced that Peninsula Grill Chef Robert Carter was taking a leave of absence from the restaurant to write a cookbook. Talk around town quickly turned to a rift between Carter and Hank Holliday, his partner at Peninsula Grill. Those close to the situation kept mum on what was really happening over at P-Grill, and the spin machine was on high alert: everything's cool, situation under control, Peninsula Grill still a great place to eat.
After Carter left the kitchen, he suddenly became much more visible. His Iron Chef episode finally aired. He was nominated to participate in the Ultimate Critics Dinner put on by the Wine + Food Festival, but his separation from Peninsula Grill seemingly prevented him from cooking that night. Of course, nobody close to the situation was talking.
So after a summer of speculation and spin, the announcement comes today: Robert Carter is officially out at Peninsula Grill and has been replaced by his longtime Chef de Cuisine Graham Dailey.
The divorce seems utterly amicable. A super-happy smiley face put on for the children. Carter is excited for the future: “I have very much enjoyed my association with the Peninsula Grill,” he said in a prepared statement. “At the same time, I am looking forward to new opportunities, which promises to be both challenging and rewarding, and it gives me more time with my family. I am also excited for Graham. He has done a superb job here for so long and I have no doubt he will continue the tradition of excellence we have established these last 14 years.”
Holliday is thrilled with the succession: "“Bob has had a great 14-year run as a fantastic chef here and has been and will continue to be a wonderful hospitality ambassador for the City of Charleston. We wish him every success in his future endeavors,” said Holliday in the company's press release. “We’re also very excited about Chef Graham Dailey taking the helm, for which he has methodically and meticulously prepared.”
And Dailey has plans for the menu: "“This is obviously an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Dailey. “I have tremendous respect and admiration for Bob and consider him to be one of the great influencers on my culinary career. I am also extremely excited about the chance to put my own stamp on the restaurant while continuing our great tradition service, style and sensational food.”
And my personal hope for getting any juicy tidbits, even a hint of emotion, from these guys who are splitting up after more than a decade together is finally put to rest. This is the story, and they're sticking to it.