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Celebrity Chef Donald J. Smith

Chef Donald J. Smith was born and raised in New Orleans, the heart and soul of Creole and Cajun culture. It was there that he learned the ins and outs of authentic Creole Cuisine at the feet of his mother and uncle.

Chef Donald, known as Chef D has owned several restaurants. His portfolio boasts preparing meals for various entities, including conventions, corporations, celebs like Barry Bonds, The O’ Jays, The Clark Sisters, and Miguel, and feeding the homeless and less fortunate. Known to culinary circles as “Chef D,” he specializes in Creole, Cajun, and soul food.

The New Orleans native is a natural-born, innovative chef. Chef Donald has traveled the world and interacted with other first-rate chefs worldwide; he has had the rare opportunity to share his expertise and passion for good food with other chefs from countries like Brazil, Italy, and Spain. To enhance and broaden his knowledge and skills of Creole Cuisine and add a little professional twist to things, he attended Louisiana Vo-Tech and Delgado Community College, where he earned many Culinary Arts certificates. Not only does he mix his own spices, but he has also written a cookbook, Yes Chef, that came out in March 2020.

Chef D has received many awards, including “Gumbo” competitions, and accolades. In 2018 he was voted one of Louisiana’s best chefs, and in 2020, he received the Culinary Excellence Award from the National Black Chef Association. This summer, Chef D was also named Culinary Ambassador for Louisiana for the National Black Chef Association. Outside of the kitchen, the chef is very active in his community and involved in various causes, spending days working at the Salvation Army. Chef Donald is the founder and president of Urban Chef Alliance, Founder of Cooking for Life5013c. Chef Donald now has 20 plus years of experience in culinary cuisine preparation under his. Finally, he is a member of the American Culinary Federation, the Association of African American Chefs, Jugs Social Club Krewe of NOMTOC, the National Black Chef Association, 100 Black Men, and Glad Tiding Men of Distinction.

Hi Chef D! It is super awesome to interview you for Heart Of Hollywood Magazine. Please describe yourself in three words?

Loyal, Ambitious & Sociable.

How has becoming an in-demand chef made an impact on you personally?

It’s one of the greatest feelings ever, to pick up or read an email from someone around World what’s your service.

What are some of your best moments as a celebrity chef?

1. Although it was a sad occasion, having the honor to cook for Barry Bond’s father’s funeral was a delightful experience in my career.

2. For many decades, I’ve been the personal Chef for Bishop Jerry W. Macklin and throughout this pleasurable experience, I had the honor to cook/cater to many world-renowned great gospel artists such as The Clark Sisters, Bishop Paul Morton, the last Rance Allen, Bishop Marvin Winans and more.

3. Some of the greatest R & B groups like Mique, O’Jays & Too Short.

4. The International Bishops Counsel of COGIC (Church of God and Christ).

As the founder and president of Urban Chef Alliance, and Founder of Cooking for Life 5013c, what are your mission and purpose?

Personally, my mission and purpose for the Urban Chef Alliance are to get local Chefs of New Orleans together (collectively) to create a diversified Chefs community and share our talent and resources, and host fundraisers (for our youths) in and around our communities. As well as shine well-deserved light/recognition upon some of the city’s greatest chefs(African American) particularly here in the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas. My heartfelt mission and purpose for “ Cooking For Life” was to mentor and teach many of our youths today how to prepare a meal.

Not just through the eyes of creating/following a recipe but with a strong passion for love, humbleness, and hospitality. The Cooking for Life program was adopted and supported by the City of Oakland and Hayward, Ca. as a reformed youth program. It was a positive outlet/experience for many of the inner city youths to express their passion for cooking in a very positive, fun, and exciting atmosphere. Many of the youths were also involved in another weekly cooking program called “ Dinner@6 “ program.

What do you enjoy most about being in your industry?

Working as a chef allows me the freedom to become more creative than many other careers. Cooking also encourages you to make adjustments and create new and interesting flavors. Even recipes are just guidelines, and you can change the ratios and add new ingredients to create your own dish.

What is a quote that you live by?

With God all things are possible.

Do you have some cooking tips for our readers that many may not be aware of?

1. Don’t rinse pasta 2. Keep your spices away from sources of heat like the stove or lights. Herbs and spices can lose their flavor when exposed to humidity and heat. 3. Soften hard brown sugar by placing a piece of dry bread in the bag overnight. 4. Recipes are only a guideline. Feel free to substitute items that cater to your personal preferences. 5. Use Greek yogurt as a healthy substitute for mayo, sour cream, heavy cream, and more. 6. Homemade meals are good for the heart and soul. Cook often and cook with others.

What else would you like our readers to know about you?

Chef Donald Smith will travel to participate in a public speaking engagement. Cater your next event, Chef D is a published author and the CEO of Yes Chef Gourmet Spices and Foods. Next month Chef D will be opening a Grab n Go Café in Pocahontas, Arkansas which will be the first of its kind in this community.

Chef D has received many awards and accomplishments such as the 2018 ACF Louisiana Chefs of Year award and the 2019 National Black Chef Association award of excellence. Also, Chef Donald is currently the Chef Ambassador for Louisiana and the National Black Chef Association.

How can we keep up to date with all you have going on?

I do a weekly Facebook live every Tuesday talking about what’s going on in the culinary community its called “Let’s Chopped it up Chef” Email Contact Website Social Media Pages FB — Chef D Services FB- Donald Lukie Smith IG- Chef D Services Twitter- @chefdservices

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