Chef Hollywood – Drake:
I got my love for the kitchen from watching my grandmother baking, but it changed after seeing my grandfather, dad, and uncle cooking and grilling every weekend. This was really what taught me that I could be really great Chef one day because it always brought people together and made everyone happy using food as the medium.
After I attended culinary school at The Art Institute of Atlanta my then Pastry Chef instructor, Bill Lipscomb nicknamed me “Hollywood” because I only put his first name on documents. I really took this and ran with it because it really became a talking point when meeting new people. During culinary school, I worked at two catering companies and upon graduation went on to work for The Ritz Carlton hotel in downtown Atlanta. When the opportunity to work on a cruise ship in Hawaii came along, I quickly packed my bags and hopped aboard.
After traveling parts of the world, I went back to Georgia and started working at Bold American Catering, a catering company. While gaining both management experience and confidence as the Executive Spa Chef at Chateau Élan. I started to do private chef jobs during this time and realized that I liked it a lot. Any opportunity that comes my way that will push me further in my field I will take without hesitation. From flying out to Colorado to help cook for the 2015 World Ski Championships, to moving to a new state to get a new perspective on food.
Currently I am working onboard Holland America Cruise Lines, as an “America’s Test Kitchen” Host. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to over 40 countries in the past 2 years all while teaching people from around the world about the science of cooking. The opportunity to not only teach other cultures our cooking techniques, but learn from other cultures has been amazing.
Going forward I want to share my passion and love for food with others and turn my love into a business that continues to grow over time.