In his adolescence, Chef William Roberts stumbled upon a TV series that would change the course of his life forever - "Great Chefs of the South" on the Discovery Channel. Entranced by the culinary wonders showcased, he found himself drawn to the tantalizing world of flavors and artistry. Little did he know, this fortuitous encounter would pave his way to an extraordinary journey alongside some of the most renowned culinary wizards.
As fate would have it, the culinary gods smiled upon Roberts, gifting him the opportunity to train under five of the very chefs he had idolized on his beloved TV program. One of these remarkable culinary maestros, Jeffrey Tuttle, not only became a dear friend but also assumed the role of his culinary mentor. Tuttle's tutelage transcended mere mentorship, propelling Roberts towards to the present day, where he stands proudly as Executive Chef at Solstice Kitchen + Cocktails, in the Lumina on Wrightsville Beach, Holiday Inn Resort.
What makes Solstice Kitchen + Cocktails unique?
Our food philosophy which is made up of simple dishes, indicative of the South, seasoned to perfection and and plated beautifully.
How would you describe the type of food you like to cook?
Technically sound, with every component of every dish prepared, seasoned, and plated with attention to deatil and care.
What motivates and inspires you as a chef?
The desire to make myself a better leader and a better cook every day.
What might diners not know about you?
When I worked for Chef Thomas Keller and saw the attention to detail that goes into every dinner service, I knew this was my calling. I realize we will never make every customer happy, but we still strive to – and it irks me when we don’t.
Current favorite dish on the Solstice menu?
Pork Belly – we make it better than anyone else. Ours is perfectly rendered, fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
What’s your favorite local product and how do you use it?
Tidewater Grain Co. Carolina Gold Rice. We use it for all of our recipes that call for rice, using several techniques and variations. I feel this links us directly to the roots of Southern cuisine.
Best foodie city?
Chicago. It has everything from Alinea [a Michelin 3-star restaurant featuring creative New American tasting menus] to neon-green hot dog relish.
What’s your all-time best comfort food?
Anything my wife cooks.
Describe the best meal you’ve ever eaten.
I could never name just one, but some of my best flavor memories are from family/staff meals at the higher-end restaurants where I’ve worked. The culinary talent displayed at those meals was inspiring.
Three songs on your current playlist?
Dirty Mef by Method Man
12. If there’s one important piece of advice you might have for cooks, what might that be?
Never stop learning!