Meet the Chefs of Kiawah Island: Chef DeLuca
Chef Joseph DeLuca and His Influence on Kiawah Island Dining
It’s hard to find a better place to appreciate Kiawah’s marshland than the impeccable Marsh House. With its host of amenities it provides to Kiawah Island Club Members, its Clubhouse restaurant is a favorite among those who live on the Island.
Meet Chef Joseph DeLuca, Executive Chef at Marsh House and see what inspires him to craft amazing cuisine for Members.
Q: What does your day at Marsh House look like?
As Chef DeLuca notes, he finds beauty in the surrounding marsh and is energized by the peaceful view that greets him every day. “When I walk up the stairs, the view of the marsh and hearing the birds sing reminds me that the possibilities of my day are boundless.” His ambitions are to provide Members with the best service possible. He does everything from prepping menu items to organizing the space and creating special desserts. He works closely with his dedicated staff and says, “I’m a chef, teacher, and of course a keen listener. I inspire, direct, and always set the example.”
Q: Where does your passion for food come from?
Like most experts in their field, Chef DeLuca’s passion for the culinary world started at a very young age. In fact his passion for food is multigenerational, and comes from his grandfather who owned a restaurant in Vermont when he was a child. “In the morning, he would make perfectly round blueberry pancakes, but before the morning, a day or so before, I would tap maple trees for the sap.” Fascinated by the process, Chef DeLuca would watch his grandfather transform the harvested sap into a delicious golden maple syrup. That’s not all, local hunters and fisherman would bring his grandfather fresh game, and he would then serve venison steak, chops, and sausage to guests. “The trout,” he adds, “brook, rainbow, and speckled — served delicious… even with the head on.”
Q: How did you get started in your career?
“I’ve always worked throughout high school and college in the kitchen, and I admit there were times I wished I had gotten a job in the mall,” he cheekily cites the discovery of girls at that age being the reason why. “Then one summer, my best friend opened a restaurant while he was on break from college, and he got crazy busy. I kept hearing people say ‘a license to print money’.” He mentions that he was part of the process from the very beginning. Eight years later he bought his first restaurant in Rockville Center, New York, and the rest is history.
Q: What inspires your Kiawah Island dining creations?
For anyone that works in a creative field, you know that inspiration can come from quite literally anywhere, even negative experiences. “I went out for dinner one time and had the worst tacos, the next day I had tacos on the menu, which were much better.” Another time, he saw a photo of a famous chef holding a foam gun, and suddenly found himself wanting one just to see what he could make with it. Chef DeLuca adds, “I have stacks of notebooks filled with soups, appetizers, entrees, and desserts that I have done over the years because I didn’t want to lose the recipes or the memories of how good they made me feel.”
Q: Do you have a favorite Chef you have worked with?
At the start of his career, Chef DeLuca worked with a young Chef named Scott Perry in Charleston. When Chef Perry moved to the DC area, he followed him six months after. Perry was “charismatic, calm under pressure, and talented. This gave me inspiration to follow his lead.” He also wants to add his fellow Executive Chefs at the Kiawah Island Club, “of course all the Chefs at Kiawah Island for showing me the level we can take our craft to.”
Q: What tips do you have for those wanting to be better cooks at home?
- Cook what you like.
- Don’t add too much of an ingredient, most of the time less is better.
- Use fresh products.
- Buy a cookbook or two and educate yourself.
- Invest in good pans, he prefers stainless steel-lined pans and heavy gauged ones.
- The most important thing is to have fun. Take your time, inspire yourself, and learn. “The best thing about cooking is that even the best Chefs are learning something new everyday.”
Q: Tell us your favorite ingredients to work with.
Chef DeLuca has a mouth-watering response: “as I age, my favorite ingredients have changed. Now I love vegetables of all kinds because they provide me with the strength and energy my body needs. Give me some brussel sprouts or broccoli or broccoli rabe with garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, and a hint of red pepper flakes tossed with pasta, a crispy french baguette and I’m in heaven. I now eat with purpose. I love quinoa (which, by the way, is a total protein) to work with. I also love using fresh, wild seafood — arctic salmon, dry sea scallops, and the best meats marbled to perfection. As the fats cook and baste the muscle, tender and moist.”
Q: What do you love most about being on the culinary team for The Kiawah Island Club?
Working closely with great and inspiring chefs is what propels Chef DeLuca to do his best everyday. “We are part of a team and I know when the need arises they will be there to help. I’m able to work with the best ingredients and the freshest seafood and meats. I handle them with care, I carefully plan, and our caring Members never hesitate to give praise and gratitude.”
Experience The Kiawah Island Club and its Delicious Amenities
The chance to try Chef Joseph DeLuca’s incredible dishes is just one part of the Kiawah Island dining experience that comes with a Club Membership. Lucky for you, Marsh House isn’t the only option for delicious dining options tucked away in a beautiful landscape. The lifestyle here is meant to provide your every need, in a beautiful, elegant, and awe-inspiring way.
To experience The Kiawah Island Club, connect with our team to plan a visit to The Island and see for yourself what makes it such an incredible place to call home.