Chef Tias Gerke isn't one to boast about his accomplishments — he's very humble — and he's the "new" head chef at Stereo 8. New is in quotations, because Gerke has been with the James Island restaurant almost since day one. Gerke weathered the rotating door of executive chefs at the Stereo 8, and when encouraged by the rest of the staff, he asked if he could step into the position.
Gerke grew up in restaurants. His mother and father ran a cafe, his stepmother owned a hotel and Chinese eatery, and his aunt and uncle ran a restaurant. He never set out to be a chef, but somehow always found himself working in kitchens. While he doesn't have any formal training, Gerke has almost a lifetime of on-the-job education.
When asked about his influences, Gerke cites traveling in Europe when he was younger (his father lived in Germany), his Chinese stepmother, cookbooks, and making his way through the varying cuisines he discovered while living in San Francisco (he still misses Burmese food). All of these factors go into developing the Asian/Latin American fare found at Stereo 8.
Gerke is also a musician and was focusing on his music in Oakland before moving to the East Coast to be near family. His musical background is a tidy match with Stereo 8's mission to bring live acts and new tunes to James Island. Gerke says sometimes co-owner Joe Walker will catch a song playing in the back of house and then it might make it onto the dining room floor at Stereo 8.
The menu will continue to evolve with Gerke in the kitchen and perhaps a bit of the soundtrack too.