Welcome to the first installment of "Chef's Corner With..." where we will bring the Hickory Metro Regions brightest culinary minds right to you in a one on one interview. We are talking to those that bring you your tasty favorites about their favorite recipes, favorite things about life in the Metro and more.

Rick Doherr chef cafe ruleThis first round we are talking with Rick Doherr, Chef at Imagine One Hospitality - Café Rule & Wine Bar and Highland Avenue. Rick is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and also studied in Chengdu, China at the Sichuan School of Higher Learning. Rick is married with four kids: Layla 12, Zada 9, McCoy 7, & Hendrix 4. Rick loves to be outdoors, skateboarding, riding bikes and hiking with his family. 

So without further delay here is what rick had to say! 


Name: Rick Doherr, Chef - Imagine Onerick chef Hospitality - Café Rule & Wine Bar and Highland Avenue

Favorite thing about what you do:

Rick: Sharing my passion through food and talking to our guests about it.  I source from local famers, which creates a great link and story to where their food is coming from.  We even have a local potter that we used this year! 

What is your favorite recipe (food/drink) and location in the Metro region:

Rick: The Fried grit fritters at Café Rule & Wine Bar. This is a new menu item and is becoming very popular with togo orders.  Served with our famous jalapeno pepper jelly.  Tastes just like Jalapeno poppers! Cafe Rule fritters

How do you make this recipe your own when given the chance? Are there ways that you can change it up or make at home?:

Rick: This is my recipe!  But to make at home - Cook some grits, cool them down. In a large bowl add grits, cheese, herbs, salt and pepper. Roll into a ball, then set up breading station with flour, buttermilk, and panko breadcrumbs.  Coat the grit balls well at the breading station and then put onto a tray. Fry at 350* until golden brown.  Have some pepper jelly in a dish ready to be dunked!

What is one of your favorite things about the Hospitality Industry in the Hickory Metro?

Rick: We have a tight-knit group of chefs always willing to help each other and our community.  For instance, we have a few events throughout the year int he Hickory community where we all come together and support.  Events like the March of Dimes, American heart Association’s Heart ball, and a Farm to Fork dinner held by The Downtown Hickory Farmers Market and The Greater Hickory Christian Cooperative Ministries. 

Any top secret recipes or menu items that we should know about??

Rick: Our menus are constantly changing and improving.  The one item everyone asks about is our broccoli baffle!!  It is very simple to make, all you need is a deep fryer, some lemon zest, salt and lemon juice. cafe rule staff Fry the broccoli for 45 seconds-1 minute. Remove and toss with lemon zest, salt, and juice. Simple and delicious! 

Final thoughts form the Chef: 

Rick: There are some exciting things in the works with the Hickory food scene and we all should be ready! The Imagine One Hospitality Group has plans to bring some fun and innovative things to the Hickory Metro Area. 

For more information or to view menu's: 

Café Rule & Wine Bar 

Highland Avenue 

To get social with these locations: 

Café Rule & Wine Bar - Instagram: @caferule | Facebook -  @caferule

Highland Avenue - Instagram: @highlandavenue | Facebook: @HighlandAvenueNC

Photo credit: Imagine One Hospitality 


Until next time... Bon Appétit