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New chef at Florence's Town Hall restaurant began learning craft as a child
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New chef at Florence's Town Hall restaurant began learning craft as a child

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FLORENCE, S.C. — Kelly Vogelheim has had a passion for cooking for as long as she can remember.

Vogelheim, a native of northern Michigan, was named the new executive chef at Town Hall roughly a month ago.

Vogelheim said she got her start in cooking with her mother and grandmother in the kitchen when she was a child.

“They were both excellent cooks,” Vogelheim said. “I always cooked with them when I was younger and helped them out in the kitchen. It was something we all could do together, and we shared recipes and such. It was just kind of a special thing, and I loved it so much, I decided to make a career out of it.”

Vogelheim graduated from the Great Lakes Culinary Institute at Northwestern Michigan College and began working as a chef for the Interlake Steam Ship Company. She said the company had a fleet of nine ships for which she would cook three meals a day.

“We also had passengers come on board to see what we did for the economy, and they would stay about five days,” Vogelheim said. “My job was to kind of impress them and make sure they had really nice food and a really nice experience, so that was fun.”

After working there for quite some time, Vogelheim said, she was ready to get back on land and looked to move down south. She moved to Charleston and worked at Low Country Bistro for approximately 1½ years before the position of executive chef came open at Town Hall in Florence.

“It’s been great,” Vogelheim said. “It’s a lot hotter down here than it is in Michigan, but I like it. It’s nice to move around, meet new people and see new things. Southern-influenced food is fantastic, and it’s been great to learn about it and master it.”

When asked about a special dish to try, Vogelheim said she couldn’t pick just one. She recommended the dry-aged ribeye, house-made sausage, scallops, pork belly and the new Prosciutto salad, which is a trial item on the menu.

“Everything’s good. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu,” Vogelheim said. “We as a team put a lot of love and effort into it. It kind of allows everyone on this staff to put their personal touch into the menu.”

Outside of work, Vogelheim said, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Copper. She said she also likes to spend time outdoors and hopes to get back into hunting and fishing soon.

Vogelheim said the best part of cooking is getting to meet new people and personalizing her work.

“I love the people and the artistry behind it,” Vogelheim said. “You can learn so much from anyone. Everyone has different backgrounds, and when you come together, have ideas and create something that is eye-catching, beautiful and super tasty. That’s probably my favorite part.”

Town Hall is at 101 W. Evans St. and is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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