About Us

The Local Palate is a Southern food culture magazine that tells the stories behind the people, places, and foodways that make up this diverse and dynamic culinary region. Here, food and drink are more than sustenance—they’re a way of life. We invite readers to join us and our team of experts as we explore Southern recipes, traditions, artisanal products, makers, chefs, getaways, and communities, and use food as a lens to better understand this rich, storied region. Through our events and our online shop, the Local Palate Marketplace, we connect our audience to the people and products we cover, giving them the opportunity to experience these stories first-hand.

Our Brand Pillars

  • Food & Drink    
  • Culture & Community
  • Travel & Exploration
  • Southern Makers & Experts
  • Ingredients & Products
  • Home & Entertaining

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Be sure to follow us on social. 

Visit the Local Palate Marketplace to shop a curated selection of artisan goods for your table, bar, kitchen, and pantry.

Meet the Team

Joe Spector, Publisher & CEO
Joe Spector is Publisher & CEO of The Local Palate. He founded the magazine in 2011 and over the past eleven years has been the driving force behind it, creating new opportunities and areas for growth, including expanding its distribution nationally. The Local Palate has enjoyed sustained growth across multiple platforms including print, digital, social media, and events. In 2020, localpalatemarketplace.com was launched to showcase and support southern makers and their products and help them reach a national audience. After graduating from Northeastern University in Boston, Spector spearheaded a number of start-up ventures in the consumer products industry, technology sector, and entertainment industry before turning to the publishing industry. He lives on Wadmalaw Island with his wife Jaynie, who owns Dog & Horse Fine Art and their dog Tommy.

Erin Byers Murray, Editor in Chief
Erin Byers Murray joined The Local Palate in 2020 as editor in chief and oversees the editorial content across all platforms, including the magazine, The Local Palate Marketplace, the website, and social media channels. She began working with the magazine as a freelance writer in 2015, and brings with her 20 years of magazine editing and food reporting experience. Murray is an award-winning author and cookbook collaborator, and her work has appeared in publications from the Boston Globe to Food & Wine. Murray’s fascination with recipes and ingredients extends into her home life—the Syracuse University alum loves testing and experimenting with new recipes, or figuring out dishes to try in her outdoor pizza oven. When she’s not cooking, she spends time walking the hills of West Nashville or digging into a good book, and is usually surrounded by her husband Dave, their children Charlie and Maggie, and their rescue dog Rex.

For editorial inquiries, pitches, or feedback, please email Erin at erin@thelocalpalate.com.

Amanda FitzGerald, Director of Sales and Marketing
Amanda FitzGerald thrives on wearing multiple hats, which comes with the territory of being Director of Sales and Marketing. After graduating from Clemson University with an International Management degree, Amanda fell into a career in the publishing industry. Her array of experience from American City Business Journals is what led her to pursue The Local Palate when returning home to Charleston, combining her interest and love for food and traveling, and passion for the publishing world. Amanda and her husband James are always seeking their next adventure with their son Fitz in tow, when they’re not at home with their dog Hattie and cat Birdie.

Angelique DeClercq, Art Director
A reformed Northerner (like many of us here at The Local Palate), Angelique DeClercq moved to the Orlando area in the early 2000s after years on staff at Wine Spectator and freelance stints with publications like Saveur and Vogue. In Florida, Angelique began teaching art and design to high school and college students and dove back into the publishing world at Bonnier publications Garden Design and American Photo. Now, she’s relocated once again, this time to Charleston to take up the mantle as The Local Palate’s new art director. “It’s always been a dream of mine to art direct a food publication,” she says. 

Maggie Ward, Production Manager
Maggie Ward is a production manager for The Local Palate magazine. Having spent three years in various roles within The Local Palate, Maggie specializes in special projects that bring the stories from our pages to life and creating experiences that allow our readers to engage with the magazine in meaningful ways. She spends her time seeking out the latest underground culinary talents and trends around the South. While based in downtown Charleston, Maggie is an avid adventure traveler, spending part of her years in remote locations discovering the international foodways that continue to influence Southern food culture today. 

Emily Havener, Managing Editor
Emily Havener likes contradictions—she was born in the South but moved to the North at the age of 12 and attended the University of Pittsburgh for a BA in English writing before returning to the Charleston area. She is an avid reader and writer and started her editing career by cofounding a boutique editing firm in 2005 while bartending on the side. Charleston’s creative food scene turned her into a foodie who dabbled in restaurant reviews and food blogging. In 2009 she graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coach certification program and developed recipes for a meal planning service. She loves to eat, especially tacos, seafood of all kinds, charcuterie, and pickled everything. As long as she has some kind of cheese on hand, she can make a meal. She has found the perfect combination of her love of food, writing, and organization at The Local Palate. Emily lives in Summerville, South Carolina, with her family.

Amber Chase, Digital Editor
Amber Chase thrives balancing big-picture possibilities with small-scale detail. She brings a breadth of food knowledge, a hearty work ethic, and a very high gluten tolerance to her role as digital editor for The Local Palate. Her years have been shared between Charleston, South Carolina and her hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, thoroughly securing her as a Southern native. In a past life, she co-owned a bakery, starting her mornings at dawn and returning home covered in flour and coffee grounds. After working with various local publications, she fulfills her dream of contributing to a food publication with her role at The Local Palate. Her other full-time gig is parenting her daughter, Nova, who will no doubt grow to be her superior.

Chris Dugas, E-Commerce Manager
Chris Dugas has been nurturing a love for Southern culture from his earliest days, especially when it comes to food. The son of a restaurant professional, Chris started cooking at a young age and has always considered food his true passion—but it was his desire to dress well that led him on a path into retail while he was an undergrad at Valdosta State University. From launching a custom suiting program eventually managing the e-commerce department for a shop in Charleston, Chris’ appreciation for fine, Southern brands, coupled with his desire to work with what he’s most passionate about, led him to the role of e-commerce engagement manager for The Local Palate Marketplace. When he’s not helping any number of artisanal producers tell their stories, Chris can be found at Charleston haunts like Graft Wine Shop or Little Jack’s Tavern, ordering an old fashioned, or cooking dinner in his Avondale home with his wife, Julie, and pups Harper and Brewer.

Brittany Furbee, Associate Editor of Creative Content
Brittany Furbee is a West Virginia native who joined The Local Palate as the associate editor of creative content after a brief stint as a freelance writer for the publication. After receiving a master’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University, her passion for writing and cooking led her to discover the world of competitive cooking competitions. For years, Brittany traveled the country participating in dozens of competitions and working as a recipe developer and content creator for national food brands, winning many awards and accolades along the way. Outside of the kitchen, she is a wildlife enthusiast and travel junkie who most recently traveled to Kenya for an authentic African safari experience. When Brittany is not working or planning her next adventure, you can find her enjoying time in the hills of WV with her partner Jacob and their dog Dory.

Brian LePorte, Advertising Sales Executive
Brian LePorte is all about chasing down business and most important, the relationship building of sales. After graduating from Clemson University with a business management degree, Brian started his a career in sales. His experiences range from selling water filtration systems, to corporate season tickets with the Charleston Battery, to now selling ad space for The Local Palate. When Brian is not in the office you will find him hanging out with friends, on the beach, golfing, crabbing, or enjoying some good food and drink.

Olivia Cooper, Digital Marketing Manager
Olivia Cooper is in love with good food and great storytelling. She joins The Local Palate as the digital marketing manager, a role which combines her communications acumen with her boundless enthusiasm for food and culture. After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in marketing, Olivia worked in culinary media for Valrhona and other brands. She also embarked on her own entrepreneurial venture, founding a small ice cream business. Outside of work, Olivia is an avid food explorer and enjoys discovering hidden culinary gems in the South and beyond. When she’s not strategizing marketing campaigns or exploring new restaurants, Olivia enjoys cooking for friends and family, experimenting with new recipes, and documenting her culinary creations on social media. As part of The Local Palate team, Olivia is excited to connect with fellow food enthusiasts and spread the love for Southern cuisine and culture far and wide.

Kara Amoruso, Graphic Designer
Kara Amoruso is an out-of-box thinker, who’s always looking for the solution to any problem. Since graduating from Savannah College of Art Design with a major in graphic design, she has been working freelance building brand identity’s & logos for others. Now joining the team at The Local Palate as their Graphic Designer to help assist with the design and layout of the magazine or wherever help is needed. When the creative thinking cap is off, Kara can be found going to the gym, horse back riding, or having cooking competitions with her family.

Tate Jacaruso, Associate Editor
Tate Jacaruso is a food and travel lover from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she went on to work in media covering news and lifestyle across the South. When she isn’t working on an article, she’s reading fiction, trying a new recipe, or traveling. Tate is based in downtown Charleston and is making her way through every bowl of pasta and oyster on the half shell in town. She enjoys celebrating Southern food and culture with The Local Palate team.

Lauren Shillington, Advertising Sales Executive
A Southern nomad from the start, Lauren has lived in a wide range of cities from Dallas to Atlanta which solidified her love for the diverse identities of the South. This said, she always had a heart for Charleston where she now resides with her husband, Dylan, and her dog, Jagger. With a background that includes publishing, marketing, modeling, and event planning, Lauren is always brimming with ideas and eager to form long-lasting partnerships as one of The Local Palate’s advertising sales executives. When she’s not brainstorming campaigns, find Lauren hosting a backyard oyster roast with her friends, binging her latest television obsession, or making memories with her close-knit friends and family.

Carly Semack, Events Manager
A Northerner by nature, Carly Semack is a Southerner at heart. Moving to Charleston in 2015 to attend the C of C, Carly fell in love with the city, its culture, and most importantly, its cuisine. Carly joins The Local Palate team following a winding career in hospitality, in roles that ranged from server to event coordinator, social media manager to mezcal ambassador. After venturing to Manhattan for a stint in the fashion industry, Carly followed the call back to Charleston in 2023, returning to what always felt like her true home base. When she’s not creating floor plans or exploring new venues, Carly can be found enjoying wine and tinned fish with her friends at Bar Rollins, antique hunting in the city’s hidden-gem shops, and meandering through Hampton Park with her dog George.