Chef Donald began his culinary career at the tender age of five when his maternal grandmother came to visit from her home in Spokane, WA. The ladies of the house (three generations in all) were making biscuits for a family get together. Young Stuart went to his grandmother and asked could he help. He was outfitted with a small cast iron skillet and a large ball of biscuit dough. He was taught to knead the dough, shown the proper amount of bacon drippings to grease the pan with, and finally allowed to bake his biscuit. A chef was born.
During his adolescent years Stuart was often left to fend for himself for meals on Saturday afternoons. It was then that he began experimenting with his mothers spice collection while frying burgers for lunch. It was easy to tell when the young man was hungry for a burger by the permanence of garlic and cayenne pepper in the air.
After high school began the first phase of food industry training, Stuart was hired as a busboy at Shoney’s the summer before starting college. Fast forward twenty-plus years and his passion, dry wit, and culinary acumen have established him as a versatile culinary entertainer. A celebrated food writer, he is the author of three cookbooks, an anthology of celebrity chef interviews and has been a regular columnist for ‘Zalea Magazine, Current, the Tri-City Review, Tailgater Monthly and the Well Fed Network to name a few. His 2010 publication Third Coast Cuisine, has received considerable national and international acclaim including being nominated for a Gourmand World Cookbook Award.
His work hosting the online cooking shows Everyday Gourmet and Little Grill Big Flavor has drawn him comparisons to Food Network stars Alton Brown and Mario Batali, but he is unique in his mission of changing the quality of food home cooks prepare. Most recently, Stuart has served as the Executive Chef at Mars Hill Café in Mobile, AL. He has exhibited his culinary prowess on TV on Mobile’s WKRG News at Nine and WPMI News at Noon, Fox 10’s Studio 10 as well as being profiled on WHBR’s Coast Up Close out of Pensacola, FL. The chef has also performed in front of thousands at live cooking demonstrations up and down the Gulf Coast.
Stuart Reb Donald was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. As a child his creativity was his calling card. Stuart was always fashioning his own toys out of boxes, Styrofoam, or anything else he could find. At the age of ten he joined his school band and thus began his long romance with music. At the age of 13 he published his first article, a clip about fishing for the magazine Alabama Sportsman.
Stuart’s talent for the trombone eventually landed him a music scholarship to a small college in Mississippi where he added guitar, bass guitar, piano, and a number of other instruments to his list of proficiencies. He joined a number of rock bands and developed a reputation as a poignant songwriter, but reading a book much less writing one was the last thing from his mind.
When Stuart was 21 a fellow guitarist gave him a copy of Richard Bach’s classic novella Jonathon Livingston Seagull. Unbeknown to anyone an author was born. He devoured the book in a matter of hours then it was on to other books – classics, serial novels, and comedies – anything he could get his hands on. He had a lifetime of reading to catch up on.
Early in 1995 the seeds of a story began to take root in his mind. Stuart, now living in Nashville, Tennessee, would lose sleep just thinking about the plot in his mind. Finally, he purchased a notebook and began to hand-write his first manuscript. When the notebook was full he borrowed a friend’s typewriter and would annoy his roommates by typing all night into dawn. The result of that first seed of inspiration is the recently released A More Perfect Union available from Lulu publishing.
Stuart began his love affair with writing the way he had begun his relationship with reading, at break neck speed. After finishing that first novel he went on a short story tare, then it was screenplays, and he has combined his love of writing with his passion for gourmet foods in first in Amigeauxs: Mexican/Creole Cuisine and most recently Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico (both published by 4 Star Publishing). The later was named a 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee.
Recently Stuart has ventured into the ever expanding Kindle market with the release of three Kindle Singles – Dinner Conversations (an anthology of celebrity chef interviews), No Sides Needed (an eCookbook) and his second work of fiction 9.999: A Cautionary Tale of Greed, Lust, and Avarice all from 4 Star Publishing.
Stuart has become a contributing writer to The Lagniappe, Current and ‘Zalea all cultural periodicals as well as countless online sources including the Well Fed Network. He currently contributes as food columnist for the Tri-Ciry Review. He has interviewed the likes of Bobby Flay, Ted Allen, Michael Symon and Commander’s Palace executive chef Tory McPhail and dozens more movers and shakers of the culinary world. In 2008 he was a runner-up winner in the “Share Your Discovery Contest: Presented by Tava” with an article on local delicacies.
Stuart’s writing style is both straightforward and lyrical. He often blurs the line between narrator and poet, but above all Stuart is an excellent storyteller, a gift he attributes to his father. His ability to put into words the mannerisms and folkways of the Deep South is reminiscent of William Faulkner. He possesses a singular wit that transcends well to the written page. One day Stuart may stand shoulder to shoulder with the other great Mobile-born authors, Albert Murray and Winston Groom.
In addition to Stuart’s experience in a kitchen he is also a veteran of the stage having performed in plays in both church and public school. He received a scholarship in drama at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Moreover, he is a professional musician with over ten years of classical training on the trombone. He is also proficient on guitar, electric bass, and piano. As a singer he has received scholarships in choir and show choir, and was asked to perform the National Anthem before a basketball game at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. He has performed on television and in concert in Biloxi, MS, Mobile, AL, New Orleans, LA, and Nashville, TN (where he lived for the better part of the 1990’s) Stuart has shared the stage with notable Nashville musicians Jerry Navarro, Akil Thompson, and Chris West (Guy Smiley Blues Exchange), as well as the King of the Mobile Jazz Scene, Joe Lewis.
Becoming an executive chef.
Publishing his second cookbook – Third Coast Cuisine.
Publishing his first cookbook for the Kindle – No Sides Needed.
Publish Dinner Conversations – an anthology of cheflebrity interviews.
Completing his new book – A Southern Man’s Gotta Sop – A Culinary Adventure Through The South.
Receiving international recognition for his work.
Becoming chef/owner of a restaurant.
Receiving a James Beard Award nomination for anything.
Being the star of his own cooking show.
- 06-07-10 ISO 9000 Certification in Culinary Arts.
- 07-17-06 Pantry Chef certification from Romano’s Macaroni Grill.
- 09-21-05 ServSafe Food Safety Certification – National Restaurant Association.
- 10-02-05 Management Certification – Concord Neighborhood Group.
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