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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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Louis Osteen

Louis’s at Pawley’s

“Good Lord, the man can cook!” said the late R.W. Apple Jr., chief correspondent for the New York Times, of Louis Osteen. His prowess in the kitchen – preserved duck with red eye gravy, brown oyster stew with benne seeds, whole flounder with sweet onion jam, toasted corn cake with brandied figs – is of long note.

A native of Anderson, in the upstate of South Carolina, Louis Osteen is one of the leading champions of Lowcountry cuisine. He and his wife Marlene first claimed Pawley’s Island as home in 1980. They have lived either in Charleston or on Pawley’s ever since.

Since 2001, Louis Osteen has been the chef and co-owner of Louis’s at Pawley’s. Along the way, he’s found time to write a book, Louis Osteen’s Charleston Cuisine: Recipes from a Lowcountry Chef. Thumb the pages. It reads like a celebration of Lowcountry traditions, of Lowcountry people, filtered through the lens of a generous and intelligent cook, fully in the thrall of his native region.

Date of interview:
2004-10-10 00:00

April Grayson, friend of the SFA


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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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