Desire + Dedication + Determination = Dreams
There are few careers where you can express true passion…and even less people that have embraced their passion and made a career of it. Chef Reynold Darthard is blessed to have had the opportunity to triumph and use his natural gifts to achieve a career that he is passionate about.
Following the traditional standards of society, Rey Darthard first followed the expected path of corporate life after attending Texas A&M University. However, over the next 15 years memories of his joy of cooking with his mother and grandmother were always distracting him from finding excitement in his career. At the age of 37 he finally decided to accept God’s push to another path and entered the Culinary Program at the Art Institute of Houston. Shortly after, he received his Associate of Applied Sciences Degree with honors and officially became 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 share his gift of cooking to many philanthropic organizations including: The American Cancer Society, Bounce Program, Casa Home Tour, Fort Bend Child Advocacy, Fort Bend Focus Magazine honors the Jewels of Fort Bend, Fort Bend Women’s Shelter, Hope for Three, L.E.A.F., the National African-American Breast Cancer Survivorship Organization, Pink for a Purpose Breast Cancer Awareness, Texas Juvenile Defense Fund, and the Texas Wildlife Association.
While owning Nevele’s he also served many celebrities including Beyonce, Natalie Cole, Damon Dash, Marvin Sapp, Tramaine Hawkins, Jennifer Holiday, Kurt Carr, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, former Houston Rockets player Yao Ming, Houston Texans players Brian Cushing and Matt Schaub, Buffalo Bills’ Mario Williams and Philadelphia Eagles’ Demeco Ryan.
By providing a pleasing and nutritional experience at Nevele’s, Chef Rey attracted the admiration of former Houston Rocket, NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady, who signed Chef to a five-year position as the McGrady’s personal Executive Chef/House Manager.
In October 2009, Chef Rey continued to follow his passion and fulfilled a lifelong dream to open his first restaurant, “Chef Rey’s Restaurant and Catering” in Missouri City, TX. Here, he was able to transfer his gift into an emotional eating experience for his guests. 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 took diners through a culinary adventure. Customers clamored for the Sunday brunch Chicken and Waffles and signature cheesecakes, as well as his grandmother’s recipe for Old Fashioned Pound Cake and Peach Cobbler. These delightful and unique recipes ultimately led to his own line of Signature Desserts and Tropical Blend beverages that are still available to the public.
Continuing to explore the Lord’s twists and turns through destiny, Chef Rey was selected by the Houston Astros organization as their Executive Team Chef in February of 2011. He immediately became responsible for the players and coaches daily nutritional needs throughout the entire baseball season of training, practices and home games.
Throughout this professional time Chef Rey has accepted many distinctive projects that have given him exposure he never expected. In 2014, Chef Rey had the privilege to work with the world’s largest fast food restaurant, McDonald’s. His challenge was to prepare eight gourmet meals using only McDonald’s ingredients for specialty Chef Events that were used to communicate McDonald’s 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.
Another unique opportunity was to serve as a 2015 spokesperson for the National Pork Board’s “Pork Be Inspired” campaign. The National Pork Board (NPB), wanted to encourage Americans to learn how to prepare and eat heart-healthy pork cuts, one of Chef Rey’s favorite meats to work with.
And if this all wasn’t enough to fulfill his work schedule, Chef Rey also launch a nonprofit campaign called ‘Standing in the Gap’ which benefited Ronald McDonald House Charities. Leading up to his 50th birthday Chef Rey raised funds and created awareness of RMHC by recognizing caregivers through culinary events and finalized with a grand birthday party and fundraising gala. www.chefreystandinginthegap.com
Chef Rey has also authored multiple books, “How Life Comes Together ~ The Journey of Becoming Chef Rey” and a cookbook coming out early 2017, “Food Meets Athlete,” which shows the intersection of sports nutrition and quality food. Both books can be found on https://www.chefreynold.com/.
Chef’s current position was part of the inspiration behind “Food Meets Athlete.” As the Executive Team Chef for the NBA’s Houston Rocket’s, this four-year contract holds Chef Rey responsible for supplying daily nutrition for players and coaches as well as all in-flight meals for the team when traveling. This is a full-time culinary position that Chef never grows tired of…thanks to the gift and passion that drives him daily.
After a full schedule with the Rockets, you’d wonder what else Chef Rey would have time for, well, he also recently developed and launched an all-natural juice line geared around sport performance. The company, “Simple Life Juice Co.” offers a mixed variety of juices including his signature “Means Green” to hydrate using cucumbers as a key ingredient. Chef Rey believes his drinks will revolutionize sport drinks for the 21st century athlete. In addition, Chef Rey signed contract with OTG of New York to develop a restaurant concept coming soon to Houston’s Intercontinental Airport.
The momentum of his experience has also landed Chef Rey appearance opportunities with many news media outlets. He’s been see on KTRK – ABC 13’s “Crossroads” and KHOU’s “Great Day Houston with Debra Duncan” and been a guest chef numerous times on KTRK’s “Stretch your Dollar.” He’s judged for Houston Performing Arts Cooking Competition NAACP ACT-SO, and was included in a “Day in the Life” feature on Comcast SportsNet. He has also been on the cover of Fort Bend Focus Magazine, and covered by the Houston Chronicle with RAVE reviews by food critic, Ken Hoffman.
Chef Rey is without a doubt one of the hardest working chefs, driven daily by the passion instilled in him through God’s will. Chef Rey’s life equation is “God + Self= Everyone Else,” a motto he references regularly to keep him inspired to serve with creativity and nutrition at the heart of every meal.
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!