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David Vagasky in the kitchen

David Vagasky's signature

David Vagasky has lived in Charleston, South Carolina, for almost twenty years. The low country is is home, and he has embraced the costal life style and its emphasis on enjoying wholesome foods.

David, a native of Minnesota, has had a career that has taken him from humble beginnings to working at some of the nation's finest restaurants. He started his food service career as a cook at a Minnesota restaurant that served working people and then joined the Merchant Marines as a cook and a baker. Afterward, he attended classes at the Wilton School and became a master cake decorator.

In 1986, David graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) with a degree in Culinary Arts. During his studies at the CIA, he did an externship at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

It was at The Greenbrier that David trained under Mark Gray, Chocolateier for The Greenbrier. Chef Gray introduced David to the world of chocolates and fine confections, teaching him how to make chocolate in the European style. When Chef Gray moved to Charleston, South Carolina, to open Cacao’s Handmade Chocolates on historic King Street, he invited David to work with him in his Charleston shop.

In 1989 David opened St. Johns Island Café on Johns Island, South Carolina. The restaurant soon became a hit with locals and visitors to the resort islands of Kiawah and Seabrook.  With David as the principle chef, the restaurant was a full service cafe with an in-house bakery.  At the same time David produced a variety of seasonal chocolates, including molded items, hand-dipped confections, and sugar eggs for Easter, in the restaurant’s chocolate shop. Patrons and reviews in publications such as ELLE Decor, praised David for his masterful interpretation of American-style cuisine as well as his desserts and chocolates. In 2005 David left the restaurant business to teach in the Pastry Department of the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College.

David shares his passion for chocolate with the public once again through this site that features his hand-made confections.


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