Whether cooking for restaurant patrons or stars like Beyonce, Jennifer Holliday or Brian Courtney Wilson, one thing remains a constant for Chef Rey — serving great food and awakening the palette with culinary excellence.
In 2009, it was a toss up for Reynold Darthard whether to sit behind a desk and crunch numbers all day, which he despised, or go and do what he loved.
The Port Arthur-born native chose the latter and left behind the corporate world to follow his passion for cooking.
“I made a decision, and it was a no brainer, it was simple. Cooking came to me naturally, I could do it all night and all day and not get tired,” says Darthard, known professionally as Chef Rey.
He recognized at an early age that he had a natural gift for cooking, honing his cooking skills at the side of both his paternal and maternal grandmothers.
The 46-year-old executive chef says he is exactly where God wants him to be at this point in his life.
He recalls an earlier point in life when he had become dissatisfied despite a good job and a great income as an operations manager for a large oil and gas distributing company.
He recalls the impact of the words of an aunt on his outlook.
“She told me ‘you have no reason to complain, your story has already been written, what you need to do is sit back and let the story unfold and enjoy the ride,’” says Darthard.
At the time, he was still in corporate America making a six-figure income. Heeding his aunt’s words, he began making preparations for his exit, before stepping out on faith.
“The question is, do I have the patience and the wherewithal to let my story be told in His way instead of me trying to write my own story,” says Darthard.
The Missouri City chef credits God for the gift he has been given.
“I don’t have a problem sharing my recipes. I tell people that we can cook the same recipe, but the fact that I have been ordained and the gift has been given to me, it will not taste the same,” says Darthard.
That is the difference between a talent and a gift, he shares.
“We all have a gift within us and may know what the gift is, but very few of us actually act on the gift,” says Darthard.
When he looks back at his decision to leave behind a successful corporate career to follow his “cooking dreams,” he has no regrets.
As his restaurant enters its third year of operation, he is focused on finding someone to join his team who is like-minded in sharing his passion.
“I am intelligent enough to realize that people that work for you are not going to love your business in the same capacity that you do.
“What I am actually looking for is not someone who loves my business or loves Chef Rey’s, but someone who shares the same passion for food, customer service and people that I do,” says Darthard.
He also is focused on mass marketing his line of cheesecakes and tropical punch.
His selection of cheesecakes are available in a wide variey of flavors, including New York, cookies ‘n cream, turtle and raspberry, strawberry, chocolate and sweet potato swirls.
“I am looking to market the Chef Rey brand at major grocery chains by the first of the year, but the products will be available for purchase online for the holiday season,” says Darthard.
His pound cakes come in old-fashioned, red velvet, amaretta chocolate and strawberry flavors.
“I put my pound cake up against anybody’s,” says Darthard who uses a recipe passed down by his grandmother with his own special twist.
God has blessed me abundantly. He has blessed me with this place to bless and inspire people.
“At the end of the day, that is what life should be about.”
Chef Rey’s cheesecakes and tropical punch may be purchased by visiting http://www.chefreynold.com and clicking on the online store link.
For more information, call 281-403-2900 or visit Chef Rey’s restaurant, Thursdays through Sundays, at 2865 Dulles Avenue in Missouri City, Texas.