You’ve come to the Isle of Palms on vacation, to kick back and take it easy.  Why cook?

When you’re staying in a luxury beach house, the name of the game is relaxation.  The goal is to eliminate stress and rejuvenate you and your loved ones as you experience the peaceful beauty of the beach.

But, you and the folks staying with you have to eat.  So consider hiring a private professional chef or in-house caterer to create an extraordinary meal right in the comfort of your beach home-away-from-home.  You’ll be able to experience some of the unique cuisine the Charleston area is known for, without having to drive anywhere or sit amongst a throng of other diners.

For your dining pleasure, here are three great options for personal chefs or in-house catering…


1 –  IndiGenius Cuisine. 

Arlette O’Rourke is a gifted chef who is willing and able to whip up a gourmet dinner in the kitchen of your beach home.  Her company, IndiGenius Cuisine, uses fresh, local Lowcountry ingredients.  In fact, their company tagline is “Brilliantly Local.”

This is how she puts it: “Our goal is to provide guests with exceptional, gourmet, small event catering and personal chef services.  We believe that service and quality are the pillars necessary to make your intimate brunch, luncheon or dinner party a success.”

The Lowcountry is famous for its waterways and the delicious creatures that live therein.  When you come to Charleston, you’ve gotta eat some seafood.  Chef Arlette and her crew know how to make the most of whatever the fresh local catch happens to be.

Their classic Charleston spring & summer menu has a huge array of Lowcountry favorites to choose from, like Bourbon BBQ (brisket, pulled pork, spare ribs, smoked sausage or drunken chicken wings); Bubbly Baked Crab Dip with crostini, chilled avocado soup shooters with local blue crab, chives and crème fraiche; Southern Seafood Gumbo with Carolina Gold Rice Middlins; Charleston Surf & Turf with Grouper or Wreckfish and Filet; Jumbo Shrimp & Grits; Wild Mushroom Galette with plant-based parmesan; Blueberry Buckle with vanilla ice cream and lemon sauce; or Hummingbird Cake.  Prices include full service and clean up, two appetizers, salad or soup, entrée, palate cleanser and dessert.  Wine and beer options are also available.

They make hosting a special occasion meal a piece of cake.  Ideas include a champagne & caviar brunch, clam & lobster bake, spa & bachelorette meals, as well as vegetarian, vegan, anti-inflammatory and healthy options.

They also offer a three-course meal delivery option right to your door.  There is zero contact; you pay online, receive a text, and your delicious hot dinner is left waiting right at your door.  Menu changes daily, but recent ones included Beef Bourguignon, Grouper with Kabocha Puree, Fennel Salad & Creamed Greens, and Lavender Crème Brulee.

You can reach Chef Arlette and her crew at (843) 270-0243, or email either or


2 –  Embers and Ashes. 

Private chef couple Italo (aka Tito) and Leila Marino met at culinary school in New York, and they’ve been cooking up a storm ever since.  They’ve worked at several of Michael White’s award-winning restaurants including Ai Fiori, Alto, and Marea, and Tito worked under the famed Daniel Boulud at his namesake restaurant.  Here in Charleston, they were co-executive chefs for several years at the popular Monza on Upper King Street.

Now they’re happily doing their own thing, and bringing it to your place.

They thrive on outdoor cooking, which comes as no surprise based on their company name.  Their specialty: “Wood Fired Feasts.”  They have ample experience with cuisines from around the globe.  Leila herself was born in Germany, Tito is of Italian heritage  –  and they love mixing it up.

Embers and Ashes has a delicious presence on social media. Check them out on Instagram or Facebook to get a virtual taste of what they can offer.

Some examples  –  Crispy Calamari Pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, Calabrian chiles, smoked gouda, capers, aioli and mint.  Char-Grilled Oysters.  Their take on lobster roll appetizers, Mini Shrimp Rolls with Buttery Brown’s Court Buns.  Or even a New England Clam Bake, right here in the South.

They love to create custom menus tailored for their clients.  Their cooking and their service draw consistently rave reviews.  You can reach them at (843) 323-5213, or by email at


3 – Dockery’s

If you’re looking for a casual in-home dining experience, Dockery’s may be just the thing.  Their mobile culinary unit is headed by the popular Chef Todd Ladd.

Their motto  –  “You bring the people together.  We make sure they have a good time.”

And, I would add to that  –  “…and are well fed.”

Some of their most popular options include whole hog pig pickin’ featuring a local Keegan-Filion Farm hog, Oyster Roasts and Lowcountry Boils.  Chef Ladd will cook just about anything on his smoker, including chicken, sausages, brisket and even alligator.

Dockery’s can handle catering of any size, as well as all levels of service (delivery/pickup, preferred or executive levels).  Their 25’ catering van can handle buffet setups, quick bites or simple meal drop-offs.

For the full in-house dining experience, they will bring everything with them (pot and pans, plates and silver, servers), clean up afterward and take everything away, so you just get to enjoy the evening.


They love to work with clients to customize menus to your particular taste.  Some highlights from their expansive menu include:  Pimento Cheese Biscuits, Charcuterie, Truffled Popcorn, Pork Belly Sliders (with char siu BBQ, arugula and pickled red onions), Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Yukon Gold Potato Salad, Vertical Roots Salad, Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Mac ‘n Cheese.

Beer and/or wine pairings can be included, depending on your needs.

For a very special gathering, check this out  –  Dockery’s will even brew a special custom beer just for you.  They’ll have it canned and ready for your special evening.  They can even help design the labels with your own photos, artwork or label design.

To connect with Dockery’s, call (843) 310-8644 or email

Next time you are enjoying your Isle of Palms vacation rental consider letting someone else do the cooking (and the dishes).  And let the accolades to your hosting skills roll right in.