Wild Olive opened its doors in the heart of Charleston’s farming community in 2009. Striving to capture the cultural magic of true Italian dining, Wild Olive places the utmost value on simple, seasonal cuisine, paired with food friendly wines. Delivered by a service staff with a genuine warmth and enthusiasm, the restaurant’s energy is relaxed yet lively.
While sourcing as much product locally as possible, the kitchen staff transforms the bounty of the lowcountry into artisanal variations of regional Italian classics. House-made pasta and house-cured salumi are focal points for Chef Larson and his team.
In 2013, Wild Olive became the first Certified Green Restaurant in South Carolina. In its continual commitment to operate an environmentally conscious business, Wild Olive not only purchases the bulk of their product locally, but also recycles and composts 85% of their waste. In essence, the restaurant is not only farm to table, but table to farm. We compost 1,000 pounds of raw material each week. The strict adherence to the Green Restaurant Association guidelines has been a welcomed evolution to the identity of Wild Olive and its heartfelt responsibility to promote sustainable practices.
Jacques Larson Executive Chef
Jacques Larson is a native Midwesterner, with a French name, who cooks Italian food in the South. He has been cooking professionally since 1992, with his introduction to fine dining at the University of Iowa’s Stateroom restaurant. Moving to Charleston in 1996, Jacques has had the good fortune to help open some of Charleston’s favorite restaurants, including Peninsula Grill, Union Hall and Mercato. Jacques also spent nearly six months, in 2006, staging extensively in Mario Batali’s restaurants in New York City and in the Piedmont region of Italy. In 2009, Jacques moved from downtown Charleston to the “country,” in order to head the kitchen at Wild Olive. To his surprise, he has found his greatest happiness professionally on Johns Island. The lucky chef gets to share his professional and personal joy with his new family: wife (Carrie), son (Jack), and dogs (Lily Bean and Maggie Mayhem).
Jason Parrish General Manager/CSW/Head Busboy
Jason Parrish began his career in the restaurant industry in 1993 working at Candelora’s Restaurant, which was owned by two Italians from Long Island. While working his way through school at the University of Maryland he fell in love with the food, wine and culture of Italy and began a life long odyssey to learn all he could about the country. Jason became a Certified Specialist of Wine(CSW) in 2009 and is constantly exploring the world of Italian wine. Jason firmly believes that true hospitality can make or break a restaurant and he and his staff strive to make every guest feel comfortable and welcomed from the time they walk in the door to the time they leave. His outside interests include: tennis, gardening, cooking, eating and, of course, drinking Italian wine with his girlfriend Angelena.
Bradley Grozis Chef de Cuisine
Chef Bradley Grozis graduated from the culinary school of Kendall College in 1996. The school is located in Illinois, where Bradley grew up and worked at a French Bistro, Le Bouchon. After graduation he moved to Vail, Colorado and began his culinary career working on top of Vail Mountain at a private restaurant called The Game Creek Club. Over the past 15 years, Bradley has shared his talents in the food and beverage industry. He has an honest passion for his work and is very dedicated. As part of the opening management team at Wild Olive, Chef Grozis has brought a high level of consistency to the kitchen. During his spare time he enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, and spending time with his wife Michelle and his two kids, Makenna and Ryker.
Rhett Morillo Sous Chef
Rhett Morillo, a Charleston native, was hired at Wild Olive in 2011 after working at many of Charleston’s premier restaurants. In Spring 2013, he became a welcomed addition to the Wild Olive management staff, with his strong work ethic and direct management style. On his days off, he enjoys spending time with his family and knocking back a couple cold ones.
Michelle Saletan Pastry Chef
Michelle has lived in the Charleston area for over 15 years, growing up in CT, then attending college in NYC. After graduation, Michelle started a career in retail management. After having children and staying home for a number of years, Michelle stumbled upon a pastry career.
Starting part time at Charleston’s Peninsula Grill making coconut cakes, Michelle moved onto a full pastry position, working under executive pastry chef, Claire Chapman. Her 6 years at Peninsula Grill gave her the experience needed to move over to Wild Olive in the fall of 2014.
Michelle has bought her cake experience to Wild Olive, creating a different cake of the week and simple yet mouth watering specials every weekend, incorporating an Italian spin into her desserts.
Michelle has two teenage boys, Noah 13, and Stuart 15, and between marching band, lacrosse and all that comes with teenagers stays busy.