Chef Reynold Darthard was practically born in the kitchen but it took him a few extra years to find his career there…
He began cooking at an early age with his mother and grandmother, creating dishes that had been handed down through generations. However, he averted that initial calling to achieve another goal, to study at Texas A&M University.
Upon graduation from Texas A&M University, Rey became Operations Manager for Andon Specialties, Inc., a large oil and gas distributing company. After fifteen years with Andon, he finally decided to follow his passion for cooking and entered the Culinary Program at The Art Institute of Houston at age 37. He received his Associate of Applied Sciences Degree with honors and officially became Chef Rey.
Officially Chef Rey
Launching full force into his career, Chef Rey opened a catering company called Nevele’s in 2003. Through this venture he had the opportunity to provide the gift of cooking to many philanthropic organizations including: Casa Home Tour, Fort Bend Women’s Shelter, National African-American Breast Cancer Survivorship Organization, Texas Wildlife Association, L.E.A.F., Bounce Program, Texas Juvenile Defense Fund, Fort Bend Child Advocacy, The Greater Houston American Cancer Society, Pink for a Purpose Breast Cancer Awareness, Fort Bend Focus Magazine honors the Jewels of Fort Bend, and Hope for Three.
While owning Nevele’s he was also able to serve many celebrities including Beyonce, Natalie Cole, Damon Dash, Marvin Sapp, Tramaine Hawkins, Jennifer Holiday, Kurt Carr, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, former Houston Rockets’ Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, Houston Texans’ Brian Cushing and Matt Schaub, Buffalo Bills’ Mario Williams and Philadelphia Eagles’ Demeco Ryan.
This amazing journey led him to accept the a five-year position as personal Executive Chef for former Houston Rocket, NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady.
In March of 2010, he fulfilled a lifelong dream and opened the doors to his first restaurant “Chef Rey’s Restaurant and Catering” in Missouri City, TX. Here, he was able to create a menu and atmosphere that offered customers a true fine dining experience. Succulent chicken stuffed with fresh spinach, artichokes, shallots and garlic, pan seared Chilean Sea Bass, lamb chops, mesquite smoked to perfection, with his famous side dishes of sweet potatoes, grilled asparagus drizzled with Truffle oil, and his own line of Ultimate Salads. The Sunday Brunch had customers clamoring for his Chicken and Waffles, along with his signature line of cheesecakes. His menu also included many other delicious desserts such as his grandmother’s recipe for Old Fashioned Pound Cake and Peach Cobbler which led to his own line of Signature Desserts and Tropical Blend Beverages.
In February of 2012, Chef Rey was selected by the Astros organization as their Executive Team Chef. He became responsible for the players and coaches daily nutritional needs working side by side with the team’s nutritionist and strength coach.
As an additional project in 2014, Chef Rey was invited to participate in a unique opportunity with McDonald’s Restaurants. Chef Rey has prepared four separate gourmet meals using only McDonald’s ingredients during the restaurant’s Chef Events which are a way for McDonald’s to communicate its positive message of good food, good people and good neighbors. He has created everything from Cordon Bleu and Tortilla Soup to Meatloaf Sliders using food only found in McDonald’s kitchens.
In August 2014 Chef Rey resigned his position as the Astros Executive Chef moving forward to his new position with the Houston Rockets, which began in September 2014, as their new team Executive Chef.
Chef Rey is also the author of “How Life Comes Together ~ The Journey of Becoming Chef Rey” and his newest cookbook debuts summer 2015, “Food Meets Athlete,” which shows the intersection of sports nutrition and quality food. Both books are available here on chefreynold.com.
Through his love for humanity in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing and enhancing life, Chef Rey launched a nonprofit campaign in the fall of 2014 called ‘Standing in the Gap’ benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities. Leading up to his 50th birthday, Chef Rey hopes to raise funds and create awareness of RMHC by recognizing caregivers through monthly culinary events culminating into a 50th birthday party and fundraising gala.
The momentum of his experience has also landed him appearance opportunities on KTRK – ABC 13’s “Crossroads” and KHOU’s “Great Day Houston with Debra Duncan.” He has been a guest chef numerous times on KTRK’s “Stretch your Dollar” daily segment with Patricia Lopez, and also as a judge for Houston Performing Arts Cooking Competition NAACP ACT-SO, and recently a “Day in the Life” feature on Comcast SportsNet. He has also been on the cover of Fort Bend Focus Magazine, with articles featuring his recipes.
Chef Rey is the athlete’s chef in addition to the Performing Artists as well. He has worked as a private chef for many of the best athletes AND ARTISTS in the world. It is only great performance based food if it tastes good and clearly the evidence speaks for itself . Modifying recipes to meet an athlete’s individual goal or a team goal is central to performance based nutrition. Chef Rey can take traditional high fat foods and modify them to fit the performance template. Although there are many great chefs in the country, few can make leaner food taste like gourmet food from the best restaurant. This is not only unusual· it is an art. Welcome to the world of Chef Rey!
Chef Rey’s professionalism and culinary skills have been such an asset in our home. He has an extreme amount of creativity and experience in all areas such as preparing meals, nutrition, safe handling, and attending to small details. He has been a life saver on numerous occasions when we have hosted dinner parties. Chef Rey’s courteous demeanor, knowledge and experience behind preparing meals and eloquently servicing large dinner parties and banquets have always surpassed our highest expectations. Chef Rey has always gone above and beyond what was expected and needed of him in regards to preparing delicious meals for our family and friends, to other household and family matters that helped keep our home in order! Just a few of Chef Rey’s dishes that have always knocked our socks off are his Chilean Sea Bass, Coconut shrimp, pasta, french toast, shrimp & grits, creme brulee, banana pudding and of course his famous cheesecake! We can’t sing enough praises about Chef Rey….he is truly one of Houston's premier, elite chefs!