COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD)- A downtown Charleston chef is one of three chefs who will represent the state in culinary events throughout the year.

Marcus Shell, the executive chef at 39 Rue De Jean, was selected as a South Carolina Chef Ambassador for 2023, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette announced Thursday on behalf of multiple state agencies.

“We’re proud to have these three outstanding chefs represent South Carolina this year as Chef Ambassadors,” Gov. McMaster said. “The incredible culinary skill of these chefs and other chefs like them around our state greatly strengthens our cultural heritage and helps to bring millions of visitors to our state each year.”

The chef ambassador program- in its ninth year- is meant to highlight the state as a top culinary destination with ambassadors participating in culinary events and promotional opportunities.

According to the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism (SCPRT), the program blends two of the state’s largest industries: agribusiness and tourism.

Throughout the year, chef ambassadors will support local farmers and highlight the state’s food traditions using certified South Carolina produce, meats, and seafood to prepare dishes.

“Together, chefs and farmers highlight our state’s agricultural roots and fresh, seasonal foods,” Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said. “The Chef Ambassador program also helps lift up rural South Carolina and support South Carolina agriculture.”

South Carolina’s restaurant industry has gained both national and global recognition in recent years.

“From our busy Main Streets to our off-the-beaten-path backroads, South Carolina cuisine is as diverse as it is mouthwatering,” Duane Parrish, Director of SCPRT said. “When visitors come to South Carolina, they are lured by both our landscapes and our flavors – and when they leave, they leave craving their next chance to return for more.”

The 2023 South Carolina Chef Ambassadors are*:

Chef Erica McCier
Indigenous Underground | Abbeville, South Carolina
Chef Erica, also known as Chef Trudy, is the owner and executive chef of Indigenous Underground in historic downtown Abbeville. Formerly a schoolteacher, Chef Trudy went to culinary school after overcoming major health setbacks, and went on to open a catering business known as Trudy’s Personal Chef & Catering and co-found Off Tha Hook Seafood & Grill. Her menu at Indigenous Underground mixes Southern food and global influences.

Chef Rob Masone
| Rock Hill, South Carolina
After building an extensive resume as a chef across the country, Chef Rob returned home to Rock Hill to open Kounter in 2020. The Rock Hill restaurant is home to the historic Friendship Nine Sit-In lunch counter, which has given Chef Rob a landing place for his innovative culinary creations.

Chef Marcus Shell
39 Rue De Jean | Charleston, South Carolina
A New England native with a seafood background and classic French culinary training who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Boston, Chef Marcus honed his skills in some of Boston’s finer establishments. He is now Executive Chef at Charleston’s beloved French brasserie, 39 Rue de Jean.

*Descriptions provided by SCPRT.