Written By Ashley Perez | Photos By Tori Steyne
Connections are everything,” sounds like something you’d say about a big city corporate lifestyle. Grace knows in homegrown small cities that are full of community, like Newberry, that connections are everything. Those connections are how her family thrives and her business grows. Whether you're visiting or live locally, if you hang around long enough, you're bound to see Grace and her daughter MJ at some point. You’ll likely see MJ being pushed along on her red tricycle up and down Main Street to visit all her friends. There isn’t a day you won’t see Grace carrying her chef knives, making her way to one of her many jobs around town. There’s always the Grow Newberry Farmers Market, where you’re sure to see her family and her new business continuing to make those connections so they too can grow. Grace Frost is a Charleston native but spent most of her formative years in North Carolina. She knew early on that she wanted to be a chef and her parents almost didn’t let her. “It’s always something I’ve felt really comfortable doing, from watching my grandmother and both of my parents. I find cooking hard to really mess up, there’s almost always a way to fix mistakes, and is just way better than baking,” Grace laughs.
She was able to convince her mom and dad by applying to Johnson and Wales, where she could have a proper education based on her family’s expectations. She became a graduate of the College of Culinary Arts at JWU. She even spent time in Europe preparing and cooking classical French and Mediterranean cuisine. After studying culinary art in Paris, France, you might ask her, why settle here? A connection happened. She got introduced to Steve and got settled into Steven W’s Downtown Bistro for her first internship. That was nine years ago, and she hasn’t been able to leave Newberry since.
“Once my internship was over, I wasn’t ready to leave. I would travel every weekend to work and spend time in Newberry while attending classes and working on campus during the week in Charlotte. I eventually transferred the last year of my classes to online so I could work and live full time in Newberry.” She was drawn to work at Steve’s. She loved the simplicity but integrity in the elevated dishes. It was what she was trained to do, cook the food she loves. “I felt like I’d never work a day in my life if I always worked with food,” she says.
Steven W’s set her up for success, “I really felt recharged and excited to start my career in Newberry and plant my roots.” Her roots were in fact planted and she worked hard for years
to develop all the friendships with the people and businesses in town. Those would prove to be useful for her, as Steven W’s was just the beginning. After having a child, Grace started considering more flexible options for her career. She wanted more time with MJ and wanted to have a business she still felt passionate about. After befriending Taylor Williams in Steven W’s kitchen, she found a like-minded business partner. “Taylor really came into my life when I needed a friendship like hers. I love her passion for food and healing. I was going through some really difficult times and I really turned away from food and any passion I had for it. The first thing I remember eating after weeks of not eating was Taylor’s beef stew. It really brought me back to life, and I’m so incredibly thankful for Taylor and our friendship,” Grace shares.
Now, with a decade of culinary experience on the shelf, Grace puts her chef coat on only part-time so she can focus on her new venture, Honeybee Hollow Staples. She and Taylor use their knowledge to now blend different types of ingredients. Instead of whipping up the famous beurre blanc, they focus on whipping up body butter and their best-selling sugar scrub. Honeybee Hollow Staples creates simple, local, safe, and sustainable body care products. They haven’t hung up their aprons completely, they also sell some incredible chocolate chip cookies. Their booth is set up every Saturday at the Grow Newberry Farmers Market, where the community continues to provide everything Grace needs.
Her part-time work at the Grille means she can still play with food and cook for the locals while surrounded by good people. Neville, the Grille’s owner, has been instrumental in Grace’s transition to spending more time as a mother to a toddler. “Neville is the best boss, and always someone I can count on to help me out. Anyone that knows Neville knows he’s great. He and his wife Buffy has even been there to help babysit if I needed to pick up a shift at the restaurant.”
“I worked hard, had a family and now I have a beautiful daughter that I get to watch grow up here and also be loved greatly by the community. This community is our family, and they’ve supported us through everything we’ve done. Being a mother and business owner isn’t easy, but the people that help make Downtown Newberry thrive, help this small family thrive as well.” So it’s no wonder why she chose Newberry. She found her home, her kitchen, her friends, her neighborhood, and her community. The perfect place to buy a historic home, raise a family, and start a business. She even bought a house as close to Main street as she could. She thinks of Newberry like a family; There is no shortage of familiar, friendly faces. Newberry is a home for her and MJ. They can enjoy the living room vibes of Genesis Hub where they can relax and look out the window and view the square. They get to “raid the pantry” by spending time with Sara and Holly at Figaro Market to stock up on all their favorite treats. They have their hearth at the Grille on Main, where they can always count on Neville and the crew to offer up the cheeseburger club with pimento cheese. There’s really nowhere else they need to be.