Orchid Paulmeier

Hilton Head, SC | One Hot Mama's

Owning a restaurant was always part of “Mama” Orchid Paulmeier’s American Dream. The daughter of Filipino immigrants, Orchid learned the secrets of the kitchen early, picking up the fundamentals of Filipino cooking from her mother and grandmother. After working her way through the restaurant business all the way up from the hostess stand, Orchid took an internship in Hilton Head Island, SC, and almost instantly decided to permanently adjust her longitude. So with her high-school-sweetheart husband, Mike, Orchid began laying down roots in the Lowcountry, and digging in to the deep, colorful cooking traditions of the region.

Strapped with a taste for exotic, worldly flavors, and the kind of cooking prowess that only life can teach you, Orchid opened One Hot Mama’s in 2007, handpicking the menu and mixing up all of the signature sauces herself. Chef Orchid runs her kitchen like she lives her life—surrounded by family, friends and feel-good food; much in line with the Filipino kitchen tradition, everyone is welcome to pitch in dishes and ideas to the spread. Blending time-tested Southern favorites like collards, cornbread and slow-cooked barbecue and ribs with her own homespun recipes, One Hot Mama’s serves up “comfort food with a kick.” Nothing too formal or fancy. Just a warm welcome and good food with a little bit of attitude – and the best bbq on Hilton Head!

With Mike and their three children, Decker, Maile (pronounced Miley) and Zoe rooting her on, Orchid auditioned for and won a slot on season seven of The Next Food Network Star. But a little taste of the spotlight couldn’t change Orchid’s priorities: Family, friends and food. Because nothing tastes better than that.