Chef Rhett Elliott was born and raised in Camden, South Carolina. The son of a pit master, he began cooking in 1988 at age 14. That’s when Rhett got to cook for members of musical genius Prince’s back-up band, the post-Revolution line-up, who had stopped through Camden for barbecue while touring in support of the LoveSexy album. The next night, the little chef-to-bewas on the guest list, grooving backstage at The Purple One’s Charlotte performance.
From the side hustle of a kid focused on skateboarding and bass fishing to an all-consuming career, cooking has led Chef Rhett through some of the South’s most delicious and hospitable restaurants – from the 1990s Boykin Millpond outside Camden to Chef Mike Latta’s internationally esteemed FIG in Charleston.
Following his 2003 graduation from Le Cordon Bleu’s Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, Chef Rhett returned east to work as sous chef at The Jefferson Hotel’s five-diamond restaurant, Lemaire, in Richmond, Virginia. Three years later, he moved south through the Outer Banks, working as sous chef at The Left Bank at the Sanderling Inn, before returning to South Carolina to helm the kitchens at Chef Ken Vedrinski’s triad of topnotch Italian restaurants in the Charleston area — Sienna, Trattoria Lucca and Coda del Pesce.
In December 2015, Chef Rhett and childhood friend Porter Barron, Jr. opened The War Mouth, where they serve food that, up until then, Chef Rhett only got to cook for himself and friends on days off. They serve food like what they grew up eating around here, and they hope that it sparks the same good sentiments for you as it does for them.