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The Ford’s New Executive Chef, Luis Young,
Brings International Flair to Lowcountry Cuisine

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Get ready to embark on a new culinary journey at The Ford Field & River Club, with Executive Chef Luis Young leading the way. A James Beard Award semi-finalist (2020 and 2021) with extensive experience in top hotels and private clubs worldwide, Chef Luis earned his master’s degree in the heart of San Sebastian, Spain, a region renowned for Michelin-star restaurants. In our interview, he shares his excitement for building relationships with members of The Ford, inspiration for using ingredients harvested from our Edsel Community Farm and his passion for spending time in the Lowcountry’s great outdoors.

Welcome to The Ford! What are you most looking forward to as the Executive Chef at The Ford?

It’s great to be here! I am looking forward to meeting all of the members and the chance to build lasting relationships. As opposed to a more traditional restaurant setting, The Ford offers the rare opportunity to bring a personal touch to my cooking as I get to know everyone. Many of my team members are also new, so I can’t wait to build an innovative team that enjoys working together. 

You’re joining The Ford after serving as the Executive Chef at Charleston Yacht Club, and prior to that, Chef de Cuisine at the acclaimed Penrose Room at The Broadmoor. Can you tell us more about your past experiences and discuss how you plan to apply them to further elevate the culinary offerings at The Ford?

My background is largely in fine dining, and for a long time, that’s what I wanted to do. But I’ve realized that life has a way of leading you in the right direction, even when you don’t know it’s happening. 

I had the pleasure of meeting our general manager, John Johnstone, several years ago when he was at The Broadmoor, and he offered me the opportunity to join his team. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. The Broadmoor gave me the creative freedom to really fine tune my own cooking philosophy and to get to know myself as a chef. At the end of the day, I plan to use my experience to further elevate the already incredible offerings here at The Ford. 

How will you incorporate the ingredients harvested from The Ford’s Edsel Community Farm, which was just featured in The New York Times, into the menus you create?

In the beginning of my career, I focused on learning about the latest cooking techniques, but later I realized that enhancing an ingredient’s natural flavor is just as important. With the quality of ingredients we grow at the Edsel Community Farm, the possibilities for unique seasonal options are endless. Having your own garden is every chef’s dream.

Where have you found inspiration for your culinary creations at The Ford? 

All over! I am inspired by beauty in nature, so it’s easy to find inspiration at The Ford. Particularly, the community beehives have caught my eye. As someone who is not a big fan of sugar, the ability to bring natural sweetness with locally harvested honey in my cooking is fantastic. 

How do you feel the food offerings at The Ford stand out from those of other private club communities?

I think there is a misconception that club food is often boring, and at many clubs, it can be. It wasn’t until my experience in Charleston that I realized club food can be just as exciting as fine dining, if not more. At The Ford, whether ordering a steak or a club sandwich, you’re going to get the highest quality food and innovative dishes. 

How does your global experience working on culinary teams across Spain, Germany, Panama and the United States inform your expertise as a chef?

From each location across the world, I’ve gained a new perspective on what it means to create an exceptional dining experience. I’m looking forward to combining everything I’ve learned with the excellent dining experiences which already exist in our community. 

You were born and raised in Panama, which is known for its incredible seafood. Are there similarities to Lowcountry cuisine, given that our community is also coastal?

The Lowcountry has a lot of similarities to Panama — it feels very familiar. Many of the same vegetables and fruits are grown here, so I love that I can bring a bit of home into my cooking, while also learning more about Southern cuisine. 

When you’re not at work, how do you enjoy life in the Lowcountry?

I’m passionate about spending time outdoors, and I’m really looking forward to all the activities at The Ford  — the water activities especially. Being from Panama, I really enjoy fishing and being surrounded by the water. From day to day, my routine starts with a good workout followed by a quick drive to The Ford. In the evenings, I enjoy relaxing with my wife and winding down from the day.

Get to know Executive Chef Luis in this quick 1-minute video.

At The Ford Field & River Club, our members’ dining experience is a large part of what makes our community exceptional. See more reasons you’ll love living at our private, coastal Lowcountry community in Why We Chose The Ford: Video Highlights Experience of New Member Family.


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