Meet Our Guides

Guilds Hollowell

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A native of South Carolina, I am a member of the fourth generation of Guilds’s in the Charleston area. Born and raised in Mt. Pleasant, SC, I grew up playing golf in our beautiful lowcountry and music in popular downtown Charleston restaurants and taverns. After high school, I left South Carolina to attend college in Maine, learned about snowstorms and met my wife. We raised four kids on the coast of Maine and moved to the Charleston area in 2007 after our nest was emptied.  We meet our Denver sons and New York City daughters in Maine each summer, but everyone’s favorite spot is right here in Charleston!!

I am honored to be a part of this endeavor which showcases all that is so much a part of my heritage. I know secrets about the Charleston area that you won’t find in the history books or on other tours!  Enjoy Charleston Culinary Tours as the perfect avenue to explore and celebrate the best kept secret of the south…..Charleston.

I recently published a book about growing up in Charleston called Palmettos & Pluff Mud.  Purchase it on Amazon.com today

Hoon Calhoun

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gour·mand – 1. A person who enjoys eating and often eats too much.  2. A connoisseur of good food.  Synonym: Hoon Calhoun…And that when it all became clear… his name was a synonym.

Embracing global cuisine, there’s no doubt that Hoon Calhoun lives to eat, but also eats to learn and experience. For Charleston Culinary Tours, Hoon’s role is vital in liaising amongst illustrious chefs, restaurants’ kitchens, and our special guests.

From Limoges to paper plates, from E&O’s Spieglau crystal to Ball-Mason jars; From to blood-sauced Canard Rouennaise to Appalachia’s “Jelly Milkshake”; From Louis XV (Hotel de Paris, Monte Carlo) to marshside oyster roasts; From the King of Thailand’s chef to the truckstop server with her gravy-biscuits…all are vessels of Hoon’s culinary experience, education and enjoyment

Hoon firmly believes that the food a culture eats – is as important in revealing their true natures – as the laws they pass and the wars they fight.

Charley Smith

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Growing up, my family rented a beach house on Pawley’s Island every New Year’s.  My favorite part of the vacation would always be the day trip we took down to Charleston. The history, the food, the ambiance of cobblestone streets, gas lamps and horse-drawn carriages stole a little piece of my heart on every visit.

When it came time to choose the location of my college experience, I was torn between University of South Carolina in Columbia or the College of Charleston.  The decision came down to a simple but tormenting debate:  football or Charleston, football or Charleston.  The city won out and the historical vacation spot became my new home in 2005.  Four years later, I graduated with a degree in theater with absolutely no interest in pursuing the bright lights of the big city.

After some soul-searching, I realized that I loved this city and wanted to settle here. It has everything I find grand in life: fascinating history, thriving theater, untouched nature, friendly folks and unbelievably good food. If travelers found this to be the “best city in the world”, then how could I possibly leave. I feel blessed to have found a career that allows me to share my passion with everyone and walk these beautiful streets everyday.

Susan DeBlase

Susan

I have no “claim to fame” except that I recognized that old family recipes would get lost if not carefully collected! I started at age 10 to collect! Over the years I followed old aunts and the like around and not only got recipes, but learned to be a good cook. Luckily I had a mother who encouraged not only excellence and elegance, but adventure as well. Love the family favorites, but try the new!! Hate to admit it, but I have been cooking for over 60 years!

Susan’s original calling was to be a school teacher. After “lots and lots” of teaching she moved to Charleston to find herself still teaching kids but has added a new clientele (adults) and a new platform, Charleston’s Upper King Street Foodie neighborhood. Other interests include Beanie Babies, cold fusion, cross-stich, quantum physics, acid rock, and cooking shows.

Amelia “Mimi” Whaley

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Born in Charleston, Mimi grew up on Edisto Island, a sea island close to the city.  After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s degree in English (which she quickly found out only qualified her to read and write), she returned to Charleston and became a licensed tour guide for the city in 1982.  Three years later, to her great surprise, Mimi discovered she was an artist.

Charleston affords her the best of all worlds – and has everything she could possibly desire in order to pursue her passions. She loves being able to meet people from all over the world and to share this city with them. Charleston is definitely an art destination – for artists and art lovers; the Lowcountry landscape, with its beauty and creative energy, provides her with daily artistic inspiration.  Additionally, Charleston has become a major destination for all who truly enjoy great food as our city continues to impress and delight locals and visitors alike with an abundance of excellent cuisine and award-winning chefs and restaurants.

Auntie Mame once said, “Life is a banquet…”  And what better place to experience it all than here in Charleston!

Allison Hayward Roberts Tomarchio

Allison

Hello fellow foodies! I’m from “off”, AKA Rockville, MD. But my family is descended from Thomas Hayward Jr., signer of the Declaration of Independence and resident of Charleston. I’ve been a tour guide for 8 years and I love being an ambassador to my adopted city of 21 years.

I attribute my love of food and cuisine to my parents. They are both excellent cooks and have been sourcing and procuring the freshest and best ingredients, including hunting for chanterelles and morels in the forests, before the modern farm-to-table movement.

I can not wait to tell you all about the amazing food and rich history our city has to offer. There is so much to learn and experience!

Dana Neely

Dana

I was born and raised in Orlando, FL. I attended James Madison University and received an undergraduate degree in Theatre and K-12 Education. I taught 8th grade (History and Language Arts) for three years in Boone, NC. I then received my master’s degree in School Counseling from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. I was a Professional School Counselor for 9 years in Asheville, NC and one year in Dorchester District 2, Charleston.

I’ve always loved history, theatre and education. Being a tour guide was the perfect combination. It was going to be a summer job over three years ago…but I liked it so much, I’m still here! Combining history, entertainment, people, food…who could ask for more???

Dale Westerberg

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I was raised in the restaurant business in western Massachusetts where my parents had a small Italian restaurant.  After completing college at MCLA where I majored in Biology, I moved to upstate NY for a few years……I was driving home one night and the car broke down on the turnpike……the temp was -70 below zero so I gave a week’s notice to work and moved to Ft. Lauderdale…. and then on to Charleston in 1980.  I sold real estate for many years and also performed historic renovation as well as new construction (Carolopolis Award 1991).

I began my “semi-retired” career in tourism in July of 2000 and have been active ever since. I’m a very active home cook and spend countless hours in the kitchen.  I’m a Master Gardener with Clemson, a nationally certified Massage Therapist (including equine massage), avid equestrienne, horse show “Mom”, snow skier and love to travel whenever possible but cooking is my passion!

About Our Tours

Charleston Culinary Tours combine elements of historical tours with culinary adventures.

As most tours sell out, all reservations are required in advance. Each tour is limited in size, so it is recommended that you get your reservations early. Charleston Culinary Tours are held rain or shine.

843-259-2966

Historic Charleston, South Carolina

Owner Guilds Hollowell has recently published a book about growing up in Charleston called Palmettos & Pluff Mud.  Purchase it on Amazon.com