Growing up near Ft. Lauderdale in a family of restaurateurs, cooking came easily to Charles Schlienger. His culinary pursuits began at age 8, perfecting spaghetti and meatballs. After many tries, he settled on a recipe that he liked—and then moved onto mastering other kitchen basics.
In high school, Charles dual-enrolled at Sheridan Technical College, where he graduated with a culinary degree before even receiving his high school diploma. Following his graduation in 2005, Charles took his first culinary job with A Gourmet Affair, a high-end catering company that served some of Miami’s best known celebrities and politicians. Wanting to gain experience in a high-volume restaurant, he went on to work at two Cheesecake Factory locations in Florida. He left in 2008 after achieving the position of kitchen manager.
For seven years, Charles honed his culinary skills within the renowned Todd English Enterprises. He joined the group as the opening executive sous chef of Da Campo Osteria, celebrity chef Todd English’s former modern Italian restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale. There, he met mentor Seth High, a chef who pushed Charles to incorporate new ingredients into his repertoire.
Charles then served as chef de cuisine for Wild Olives, a Mediterranean restaurant in Las Vegas, and eventually moved to the Bahamas to work at Olives at the Atlantis. In 2015, he moved to Texas to spend time learning under pitmaster Tim Rattray at The Granary in San Antonio, before making the move to Austin. For two years, Charles served as executive chef for North Italia, a modern Italian restaurant serving handmade pastas and pizzas at The Domain.
Charles joined Sway as group executive chef in June 2017, overseeing the South 1st location while simultaneously preparing teams to open two new locations in 2018. He currently directs kitchen operations at all three locations, working to streamline internal communication and ensure each Sway operates under the mantra of “same same, but different.”