Area ghost tour guide becomes a local social media star with online cooking videos
by Lorne Chambers | Editor
In the Charles Dickins holiday classic A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner and three other spirits over the course of one Christmas Eve night. The most referenced of these spirits is the Ghost of Christmas Past. Perhaps this is because most of us are filled with nostalgia during the holidays and Christmas is a time when we often reflect on the past and the people and places of our youth.
While ghosts might be a useful metaphor in literature, there are few things in our world that can conjure up spirits of our past quite like food. It immediately connect us with our past. A single bite can take us back to another place and time … like the Ghost of Christmas Past.
Charleston is known for its history, its food … and, well, its ghosts. CNBC and The Travel Channel have dubbed Charleston one of the most haunted cities in America while The Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report have listed Charleston among the best food cities in the country.
So maybe it’s appropriate that a ghost walk tour guide would be the one to guide us on how to demystify Lowcountry cooking, especially with the holidays upon us.
West Ashley resident Tricia Goron has been a tour guide in Charleston for more than 30 years. She runs the local company Ghostwalk but recently has found some minor fame as a cooking personality through a series of videos she’s posted on social media platforms Facebook and YouTube.
Admittedly, Goron is no chef, but she knows her way around a kitchen, particularly her kitchen. She is born and bred West Ashley, attended Middleton High, her first job was at Doscher’s, and she still lives in the house she was raised in. So the tiny kitchen featured in her popular videos is the very same kitchen she’s been cooking in for as long as she can remember.
“The hood is clean I promise! It just looks dirty,” she says immediately when being interviewed about her new found fame as a local cooking personality. She says that several years back she used the wrong cleaner on her range hood, leaving it spotted brown. People on the Internet noticed. They always do. But it’s things like this that make Goron’s videos so charming. They’re perfectly imperfect.
There is little-to-no production to the video aside from her setting up her iPad on her paper towel rack and hitting record. There are endearing blooper moments like when she poured boiling water all over the counter while trying to show the viewer the potatoes in the pot. Or when the lens gets steamed up after getting too close to her Oyster Stew.
Goron might start singing along to the “old school” music in the background or comment on something going on outside her window. She calls her microplaner “that thing” adding “It’s dangerous. I’m scared of it.” While frying okra she calls a slotted skimmer a “kitchenmajig.” Another time she asks her Facebook Live audience “What is this crazy whisk thing called, y’all?” FYI, it’s a sauce whisk and Goron uses it a lot, whether she’s making a sauce or not.
It’s clear that Goron has her own way of doing things in the kitchen and while it may not be how they teach it in culinary school, it’s the way she learned and the way she’s now teaching the hundreds of viewers who tune into her videos.
“I really do know how to cook,” she says without bragging. “I know food and what things are made from and what’s going to go with each other chemically and taste-wise. But I don’t have recipes. I actually make them up as I go.”
So don’t subscribe to Ghostwalk Trish’s Dishes YouTube channel expecting to get a recipes. What you will get is a large heaping of Goron’s humor, personality, and unique way of talking, all of which have made her a favorite on the local ghost tour circuit. She’ll even impart some history lessons in her videos, like telling you how She Crab Soup got its name. She may even share with you a spectral encounter that occurred recently on one of her tours.
But besides the heavy dash of charm and entertainment, you’ll also learn some things about cooking the Charleston way. “It’s Lowcountry cooking … whatever that means. It’s not country cooking because I’m not in the country. But it’s cooking with what we have around here — vegetables and seafood and whatever else is around.”
Since Goron started the videos last month she has whipped up delicious things like Lump Crab Cakes, Shrimp & Crab over Charleston Rice, Oyster Stew, Savory Sea Scollops with Lump Crab over Angel Hair Pasta, Waldorf Salad, Lowcountry Crab Soup, Warm Potato Salad (My Way), Itty Bitty Buttery Biscuits, and more.
According to Goron, Ghostwalk Trish’s Dishes was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to grow with each video. “I have a lot of really good, good friends and they are away from me and I wanted to do something so my friends would think they were with me in my kitchen,” says Goron. Then something unexpected started happening — other people started watching. Lots of people. Not like “YouTube star” status, but Charleston locals and Facebook friends began finding her videos popping up in their feed and starting tuning in and subscribing to her YouTube channel.
Goron says she doesn’t have any dreams of becoming The Next Food Network Star but hopes the videos entertain people and that they’ve even helped draw some business to her actual business, Ghostwalk, which was Charleston’s first ghost walk tour but now struggles to compete with larger corporate tour companies who have set up shop in Charleston. But like her cooking videos, her tours have a secret ingredient: Trish Goron. And that’s a no-fail recipe for fun.