Brandon Buck grew up on a farm outside of Columbia, SC, spending countless hours in the kitchen with his family. He moved to Charleston in 1999 and landed the Executive Sous Chef position at Cypress, where he worked for six years. He went on to spend nine years as Executive Chef of Middleton Place, where he worked with then Director of Food Services, Micah Garrison, and the owners to start a small “production garden,” supplying the restaurant with a variety of heirloom produce. After a four-year stint working under Consulting Chef Tom Colicchio at Kiawah Island’s Voysey’s, he returned to Middleton Place.
Chef Buck was paired with Fleet Landing’s then-chef Drew Hedlund for the Southern Living Taste of Charleston’s Annual Iron Chef Competition in 2013. With dishes like Carolina Gold-Encrusted Oyster with Leek Fondue and Bourbon Rice Pudding, the team took home a win, and a long-term friendship was formed. In late 2017, he was asked to join Hedlund and the RockIt Hospitality team to help them open the newly-minted Tradd’s, where he became Executive Chef in 2019.
Both native Charlestonians, Weesie and Tradd Newton have a deep-rooted relationship with the local hospitality community. Tradd grew up working in his family’s supermarket business, which they operated throughout the southeast. In 1998, the company purchased a struggling McCrady’s restaurant. Tradd was tasked with running the restaurant for many years, and succeeded in transforming it into the AAA Four Diamond establishment that remains today. Determined to set out on their own, Weesie and Tradd opened their first restaurant, Fleet Landing, in 2004. Located on the Charleston Harbor, Fleet Landing quickly became one of the peninsula’s most popular dining spots. After many years of careful planning, traveling, and eating inspiring meals along the way, the duo opened their second restaurant, Tradd’s, in 2018. Weesie and Tradd are both passionate about philanthropy and have a longstanding history of giving back to a variety of local boards and charitable causes. Weesie co-founded Women Making a Difference in 2002, which provides grants to local organizations to assist women and children. Since its inception, Women Making a Difference has generated more than $1 million in grants to Charleston-based charities. Tradd served on the board for Lowcountry Children’s Center for many years, and was recognized for his work with a national philanthropy award in 2017. Weesie and Tradd have three children and live in James Island.
A native of Naples, FL, Drew Hedlund has been working in restaurants since he was a kid. “I’ve done it all,” he shares, “From working as an expediter to serving tables to working the line,” he’s been involved in nearly every role. A 1999 graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Drew served as the Resident Chef of Dewees Island and as the Chef de Cuisine at the former 101 Pitt in Mt. Pleasant.
Hedlund joined the team at Fleet Landing just after opening, ascending to Executive Chef and helped make the restaurant the success it is today. When Weesie + Tradd were concepting Tradd’s, they looked no further than tapping Drew to help launch the restaurant. His dedication to his team, positive attitude, and acumen in the kitchen makes him an ideal fit for Director of Culinary Operations for Rockit Hospitality.
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