Elizabeth “Heidi” Trull:
Heidi has developed her eclectic southern cuisine through years of training and experimentation. Heidi grew up on a large farm near Sumter, South Carolina, loving the fresh, delicious food of the countryside. After high school, she immersed herself in her passion for cooking, and got a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales in Charleston.
After completing her education, Heidi apprenticed herself to outstanding chefs for five years in order to learn the ins and outs of fine dining and restaurant operation. She gleaned valuable experience from Elizabeth Terry at Elizabeth’s on 37th Street in Savannah, fed the stars at the Ritz Carlton in St. Louis, and finally settled in New Orleans to join Emeril Lagasse’s Nola with her husband, Joe. Heidi fit right into the tradition of culinary excellence in New Orleans and soon realized that she had a marvelous vision for a restaurant of her own.
Heidi opened Elizabeth’s Restaurant, a lively place to enjoy delicious, affordable food in a laidback neighborhood called the Bywater – downriver from the French Quarter. A magnificent outpouring of word-of-mouth praise for her fresh, inventive comfort food and the restaurant’s fun atmosphere helped Heidi grow her establishment, accommodating the flow of people from all over New Orleans and the world. She was given rave reviews in eminent publications like Gourmet and Southern Living, and won awards for her consistently excellent restaurant.
When she and Joe realized that they wanted to head home to the Carolinas to raise their son, Tom, and get back to the land where the food is grown, she knew that a new restaurant was in her future. And thus was born Grits and Groceries. Now Heidi splits her time between the restaurant and horseback riding with Tom through the nearby fields.
Joe Trull comes from a long line of chefs. His grandfather operated a commercial bakery in Winston-Salem in the 1920s, and his whole family was in the bread business. During high school, Joe spent summers working in his family’s bakery, and he too got bit by the baking bug.
Shortly after graduating, Joe secured a spot at the award-winning French restaurant, La Chaudiere. During his time there, he worked closely with the pastry chef and cultivated the care and attention to detail required of the world’s finest pastry chefs. He further honed his skills as chef at the Glendale Springs Inn, cooking from the fresh vegetable and herb gardens, and changing the menu daily. And though his next step took him to be the head chef of the nationally-renowned Asheville restaurant, The Market Place, Joe came to realize that his heart was in the details and desserts. So he spent a year at the Blue Moon Bakery before being lured to New Orleans with the offer of the prestigious pastry chef position at Emeril Lagasse’s world-famous French Quarter restaurant, Nola.
Joe enjoyed a richly rewarding 10 years as Emeril’s pastry chef, setting the dessert menu, training new chefs for Emeril’s other restaurants, and helping Emeril’s culinary empire grow from two to nine restaurants.
When Joe and Heidi decided to simplify, returning to their roots to raise their son, Tom, Joe looked forward to being in the country near where their cooking ingredients are grown and produced. Wherever possible he stocks Grits and Groceries with locally-grown organic produce and dairy products and when you come out to the restaurant you will see the extensive and changing menu of desserts that have made Joe famous. Some of his specialties include Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie and Vanilla Root Beer Marbled Pound Cake, and he hand-makes a full range of ice creams (using local Happy Cow Creamery products) including enticing flavors like Coffee Toffee and Bourbon Butter Pecan. Come hungry!
I was born in New Orleans, but I am at home now at Saylors Crossroads. I get to play with my Mamma, Daddy, Grandma, Uncle and dear friends (like Miss Grace and Mr. Merle) every day. Plus I have a horse named Cookie. I love to be outside, and already know how to cook and work in the garden.