Joining Magnolias as sous chef in 1991, Don Drake continues to be one of the forces keeping Magnolias at the top of the nation's list for exceptional Southern food.
Prior to relocating to Charleston, Drake simultaneously attended the Culinary Institute of America and trained under Chef Barry Wine at the critically acclaimed, four-star Quilted Giraffe in New York City. Embarking on a culinary world tour after receiving his degree, Drake immersed himself in global cooking techniques, spending a majority of his time in London, Australia and Hawaii. Notably, Drake worked in Honolulu's celebrated Roy's mastering his culinary skills under famed Chef Roy Yamaguchi.
Integrating his international culinary background into the distinctively Southern meals for which Magnolias is legendary, Drake prepares dishes with surprising worldly flavors that remain true to the history and culture of their Lowcountry beginnings.
Samantha Blagg was born in Ft. Hood, TX, into a military family. As an Army brat, she spent her early childhood all over of the world, experiencing diverse cultures and cuisines. But her mom’s home-cooked meals were the true inspiration for her affinity for food and service to others.
Prior to attending New England Culinary Institute (NECI), Blagg worked on livestock & produce farms throughout her youth in Virginia. Her experience in the fields not only shaped her work ethic, but sparked a culinary passion that led her down the path to NECI. While attending NECI, Blagg had the opportunity to intern at Magnolias in Charleston, SC in 2015, a place which she has called home ever since.
In 2019, Blagg’s determination and work ethic awarded her a promotion to chef de cuisine at age 22. She attributes her success as a chef to the leadership and support of mentor Kelly Franz.
When not working, Blagg enjoys spending time outdoors and fishing or travelling to see family and friends.