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Meet Our Guides

Guilds Hollowell


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 today

Hoon Calhoun


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


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 passions and walk these beautiful streets everyday.

Palmer Stowe

a woman smiling for the camera with cocktail

I arrived in South Carolina from the other Carolina in 2005, to study at the College of Charleston, and have called Charleston home ever since. A fortuitous birth to an adventurous eater mom and a restauranteur dad has instilled in me a lifelong enthusiasm for dining culture, and for seeking out unique and transportive meals wherever I go. Thus, after entering Charleston’s tourist industry in 2012, I quickly developed a particular fondness for helping guests find their perfect meal – an enjoyable challenge in a city that prides itself on eating well! I’m delighted to be writing about Charleston’s robust dining world for CCT, and I hope my contributions help all of our guests to expand their culinary horizons!

Seph Duggan

a man wearing a hat

I grew up in the quaint beach suburb of Mount Pleasant in Charleston, South Carolina, a destination overflowing with resources for a young explorer. My parents happily encouraged daily pursuits such as sailing, hiking, and camping in the endless coastal wetlands. In addition to my love of the outdoors, history was another fascination. Influenced by my hometown, I learned the benefit of understanding the historical significance of the places I explored.

Motivated by challenge, I enrolled in The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. While learning the qualities of leadership, I pursued my first guiding opportunity as a docent. It was then that I discovered the desire to educate while simultaneously leading others into the unknown. After graduation, I became a licensed guide for the city of Charleston, conducting historical walking, culinary, and mixology tours.

Despite early success in the travel industry, a fierce wanderlust and an ambition to encounter the world remained. So I set out in search of unique adventures—from diving in Southeast Asia to sailing the Caribbean, from missionary work in the Middle East to hiking in the Andes, and most recently, leading adventure expeditions across North America, Alaska, Baja California, and Canada.

Each exploit helped form me into a well-diversified leader and a multifaceted guide with a passion for the world around me and a drive to facilitate travel for others. If you see me on the street, I would love to engage in a variety of topics, from cuisine and wine to geology, oceanography, and oceanic conservation.

Susan DeBlase


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


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


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 Levine


One of my earliest childhood memories is of visiting, what seemed to me, a magical and mysterious ‘City by the Sea’. I remember ocean mist spraying over a sea wall, ships sailing in a harbor, climbing on canons, horses walking along the streets and a large park full of wonderfully contorted trees.

The memories of this place lingered with me throughout my childhood. Never could I have imagined that one day, in the distant future, I would be guiding people on their own adventure through this same magnificent location.

I was born and raised in Florida and received my undergraduate degree in Theatre and K-12 education from James Madison University. After teaching 8th grade for three years (BLESS MY HEART!) I went on to receive a master’s degree in School Counseling from Austin Peay University. I spent 11 years in public education and then decided I was ready for a change.

In 2015 I became a Certified Tour Guide for the City of Charleston. Being a tour guide enables me to combine my passion for education, history and preforming. I love learning how our history has impacted our local cuisine and being able to share that knowledge with people form all over the world. I am so grateful for the opportunity to help others fall in love with this city, just as I did so many years ago.

Dale Westerberg


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!

Kristin Halvorson


Hi! My name is Kristin Halvorson and I have lived in Charleston since 1996. I began my tour guiding journey approximately a decade ago in the carriage industry. I have a BA in History from the College of Charleston, a MA in History from the University of Charleston/The Citadel, and a MA in Egyptology from the University of Chicago (I left Charleston for a number of years to pursue this degree). Yes! I am a Historian/Egyptologist! How many of those have you met? Six years ago, the College of Charleston hired me to teach history full-time as an adjunct professor and I have been there ever since. But that did not end my tour guiding career as I guide full time in the summers and, also, when I am available during the school year. Food has always been a crucial part of Charleston’s history and I am ecstatic to be a part of the Charleston Culinary Tours team interpreting this fascinating aspect of not only the Lowcountry, but the world!