Down in the South, larger carrots are typically harvested in the fall, which bodes well for carrot cake baking. However, springtime brings delicious baby carrots, and with Easter around the corner, what better way to indulge than with a cake to close out the carrot season.

Chef Brandon Carter of FARM Hospitality brings two versions of this classic dessert to his restaurants. A classic layered carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, caramel, and vanilla creme at FARM Bluffton, and a carrot cake bread pudding at Common Thread. Behind the scenes, Chef Brandon is currently working on a special carrot cake riff that’s inspired by tres leche, utilizing carrot juice, coconut milk, and pecan milk to soak the cake.

Carter is the executive chef and partner of FARM Bluffton and Common Thread, where he works tirele arter is the Executive Chef and Partner of FARM Bluffton and Common Thread, where he works tirelessly to connect the guest’s dining experience with the farmer’s ethos. Always cognizant of seasonality and availability of local ingredients, Carter crafts ever-evolving menus that speak to the bounty of South Carolina's Lowcountry and the coastal region of Georgia and pay homage to the many growers, fishers, farmers, and artisans who inspire him.

Born in Ohio and raised in Georgia, Carter was inspired by the allure of the kitchen during a family trip to Italy at age 13. Looking to forge his own path, and compelled by the industry’s exhilarating energy, Carter took his talents to the Culinary Institute of America and completed his studies there in 1999.

Carter held Chef de Partie and Chef de Cuisine positions at the Ritz-Carlton Naples in South Florida before moving to the Lowcountry to work at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff. In this new role, he oversaw four restaurants and was part of the team that landed Palmetto Bluff on Bon Appétit’s “Top Ten Foodie Destinations” list in 2013. Carter also met Ryan Williamson, who owned a nearby farm and provided many products for Palmetto Bluff’s restaurants, during this time. Their special chef-farmer relationship led the duo to establish FARM Hospitality, opening FARM Bluffton in 2016 and Strangebird Food Truck in 2019. Common Thread, which opened in Savannah in 2021, was named one of Bon Appétit’s “50 Best New Restaurants” in 2022.

At FARM Bluffton, Strangebird, and Common Thread, Carter puts an emphasis on sourcing locally and building personal relationships with purveyors. His menus change as often as his inspiration, highlighting hyper-seasonal ingredients with global influences. Never taking his work too seriously and leaving room for play, Carter’s vision is to bring his community together through nourishment and friendship; when a customer feels like family, he knows he’s accomplished what he set out to do.