Keith Darling

I was inspired with the passion for cooking by my mother and father. Both descendants of French speaking families, I was surrounded by the poetic French language and of their enjoyment of cooking together. Bringing to our table the French style of “cuisine du pays” along with a variety of different cultural cuisines.
At fourteen I began to spend time in our family’s kitchen helping with meal preparation under the watchful eye of my mother, and after a time, I learned the methods and techniques that allowed me to create the delicious dishes that our family still enjoys today.

After attending a few semesters of college, I discovered that my true desire lay in the kitchen and not in the lecture hall, and I wanted to learn to cook professionally. I found and opportunity to work in the kitchen of a small French restaurant at a California ski resort, spending two years under the instruction of a very talented and patient teacher, chef Jean Marc Pelus. With his encouragement I struck out for New Orleans to “cook in the big leagues.” Enrolling in a classically styled culinary apprenticeship, I spent three years immersed in the rhythms and disciplines of the professional kitchen amidst a backdrop of the sultry heat of Creole and Cajun spice with a side of jazz, that shaped the unique cuisine of Louisiana and of the Gulf Coast.

Armed with the knowledge and experienced gained, I cooked around New Orleans taking in the Crescent cities melodic cuisine. With my rooted confidence, I was ready to express my own interpretation of those distinctive styles. It was then that I became the Executive Chef at Annadele Plantation Restaurant on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain. During my tenure as chef at Annadele Plantation I was approached by the director of a newly built vocational/technical school in New Orleans to teach culinary occupations. Wanting to spend time with my newborn daughter, I accepted the position and spent two years as head instructor, training a class of 40 students. My next professional journey took me into the world of chain restaurant menu development. I spent 22 years as corporate chef of R&D in chain restaurant and food manufacturing. I traveled internationally in that position, exploring the cuisines and cultures of many destinations. In my spare time I co-developed and taught “Think Like A Chef,” a series of classes to budding culinary enthusiasts, which I taught over one thousand students over a ten-year period.

This exciting and fulfilling path has led me to your kitchen where my motto in
teaching and sharing my passion for cooking with you is simply this:

“It must go from my head to your head to your hands”

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