Tim Peters, Executive Chef
Tim Peters is a breed apart. Not only does he change the lunch and dinner menus daily and make his own charcuterie from scratch – from house-cured bacon, sausage, paté and rillettes all the way down to the mustard and pickled okra – but he curates his own wine list as well. Oenophiles know they’ll find harder-to-find labels on his list, and Tim keeps a downstairs stash – a few bottles each of “realllllly cool wines” – for regulars and “obvious co-wine nerds.”
On his days off, Tim takes his rifle and his motorcycle and goes hunting for wild boar, deer, or turkey for his grill at home; or he’ll head off fishing for “bass, trout, or anything that wants to grab a hold of my hook.” In the right weather, he even goes foraging for chicken-of-the-woods and oyster mushrooms in spots he won’t divulge to anyone but his native plant specialist cohorts.
When Tim took the helm at Motor Supply in 2005, he was fresh off of sous chef gigs in the kitchens of acclaimed Charleston chefs Mike Lata and Frank Lee, with a an interim stint as a wine merchant at O’Hara & Flynn Wine Merchants. “I wanted to spike my wine knowledge upward,” notes Peters. “What better place to do that than a fine wine establishment, tasting and learning all day, every day?”
Raised in rural New Jersey, Tim grew up hunting and fishing with his father and enjoyed fresh produce from nearby farms. At an early age, he learned the value of fresh ingredients and the importance of not wasting anything. After attending culinary school at Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York, Tim traveled to France to attend classes at the famed Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. He worked for Chef Marc Meneau at L’Espérance, an esteemed three-star Michelin property in lower Burgundy. Tim’s first job upon returning to the States was at the award-winning Grouse Mountain Grill in Beaver Creek, Colorado, under Chef Rick Kangas.
Later, he moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where he expanded his love of southern regional cuisine by working as sous chef at Anson for James Beard award-winning Chef Mike Lata (Fig), and beloved Chef Frank Lee at Slightly North of Broad (SNOB).
Tim considers two non-restaurant jobs as key in his evolution as a culinary artist. The first was a stint as a farm hand on an organic farm, The Green Grocer on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina, where he learned how to be a steward of the land by raising crops and taking care of chickens that produced highly sought-after eggs for Charleston restaurants. At Charleston’s O’Hara & Flynn Wine Merchants, he was able to enhance his knowledge of wine and food pairings to a remarkable degree. In 2006, Peters took over as Wine Director at Motor Supply and is pleased to offer a Wine Spectator-endorsed list of bottles hand-selected to complement his cuisine.
In creating each day’s menus, Tim makes a conscious effort to highlight the bounty of local, sustainable farms and food artisans. Having labored on an organic farm, Tim understands well the extra effort required of farmers who avoid spraying pesticides on their produce and who forego using antibiotics and hormones in their poultry and livestock operations. “If we don’t support these guys,” he notes, “who will?” He has seen first-hand how hard it can be for the small, organic (or near-organic) farmer. “We feel that if we stick with these products, then it will pay off for everyone in the long run.”
Eddie Wales, Owner
One of the most highly regarded and beloved GMs in South Carolina, Eddie is an active board member of the Congaree Vista Guild and, in fact, started the Forest Acres Restaurant & Merchant Association in 2004. Placing a priority on green business practices and contemporary Southern hospitality, Eddie leads a staff of passionate professionals who go above and beyond in everything they do.
Born in North Carolina, Eddie grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina and attended The University of South Carolina, during which time he worked in numerous restaurants, clubs and The Town House Hotel, where he was offered his first management opportunity before graduating from USC. Drawn to the food and beverage industry, Eddie made the decision to focus his efforts on quality, local restaurants. As luck would have it, he was led to Motor Supply Company Bistro by a friend in 1989. Though he started out at Motor waiting tables, he sensed that there was greater potential for him at the special little bistro with high ceilings, New World made-from-scratch cuisine, and daily changing menus. Two years later, Eddie became General Manager.
In 1994, Eddie moved with his soon-to-be-bride, Tracy, to Athens, Georgia, where she attended veterinary school. (She now owns Four Paws Animal Clinic in Columbia, SC.) While in Athens, Eddie worked for the talented restaurateur Melissa Clegg of The Last Resort Grill, and later helped Clegg open East West Bistro in 1996. After Tracy's graduation, the couple returned to Columbia, and Eddie eagerly returned to Motor Supply. Eddie eventually purchased Motor in 2000, and in 2002 opened a second fine-dining restaurant in Forest Acres, the popular neighborhood bistro, Tombo Grille. He co-launched the popular Rooftop Rhythms concert series in the mid-2000s with Lauren Goodale of Pasta Fresca, and from 2006 to 2008, Eddie also owned the popular Paulie’s Pizzeria in Forest Acres. In 2011, Eddie decided to sell Tombo Grille to its trusted management team.
Eddie and his wife Tracy have 3 gorgeous little girls, who in 2010 took a coveted Best Homegrown Tomato prize at the Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival for their backyard heirlooms. During Eddie’s tenure at Motor Supply, the restaurant has flourished and continues to be one of Columbia’s most loved institutions.