Indaco executive chef Mark Bolchoz took over the King Street restaurant in December 2020, and in the nine months since, he’s revamped the menu with dishes like chicken milanese, a heritage pork chop and S.C. corn agnolotti with chanterelles and smoked mozzarella.
But Bolchoz, who worked as an Indaco line cook after graduating from culinary school in 2016, is making his mark inside the Indaco kitchen, where he’s working to energize the current cohort of cooks on the line by streamlining kitchen operations.
“One of the most important things about leading a group of people is knowing what they’re doing,” Bolchoz said, “so having done that for a year and a half back then, I can very vividly remember what things used to bother me and what systems needed to be changed. I’ve been able to implement a lot of that stuff, which has helped us streamline. We’re doing more numbers now than we were in 2019.”
Bolchoz said he’s implemented a new workflow and made layout changes to the kitchen, making it easier on his cooks. Sometimes, it’s as simple as adding a shelf.
“We’ve added a couple shelves to hold pots and pans on the line,” said Bolchoz, recalling a service prior to the changes when the restaurant filled 177 pasta orders. “So potentially, [the line cook] would have to bend over fully at the waist to reach below the stove to pull saute pans from this lower shelf 177 times, not to mention all the other bending. So, we added this metro rack shelf to the top of the stove, so now you just reach your arm forward and pull pans down to the stove.”
“A lot of people would be like, ‘Well that’s crazy,’ but if you stand over the pasta station and bend down 180 times, you’ll be like, ‘Wow this shelf is a total game-changer.’ It’s just little things like that that can make a line cook happy to see that someone really does care and listen,” Bolchoz said.
The Charleston-born chef worked his way through multiple Charleston kitchens after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park in 2016. For seven months, Bolchoz worked the morning shift at The Grocery before heading to Indaco, so he knows what it’s like to grind on the line.
When asked what made Bolchoz a good fit to take over the kitchen at Indaco, which will celebrate its eighth anniversary Aug. 25, Indigo Road Hospitality president Steve Palmer said, “Mark’s passion and enthusiasm for Italian food first and foremost, but second, he instills respect from his kitchen team and that inspires me.”
According to Palmer, “Mark has total freedom to change the menu.” Since taking over, Mark has brought a spicy soppressata pizza and 48-ounce tomahawk ribeye to the menu, in addition to seasonal specials like the corn agnolotti — Palmer’s favorite dish.
“The menu had lost its direction, so to come in and do a light overhaul within the parameters of what Indaco is supposed to be was awesome,” Bolchoz said. “We try to cook with stuff that’s from here and treat it as if this is something we were using in Southern Italy right now.”
Bolchoz, pasta sous chef Elton Morris and the whole Indaco team will celebrate its eighth anniversary Aug. 25 with an eight-course pasta tasting menu ($75 per person). For more information, visit indacorestaurant.com.