Darnell “SuperChef” Ferguson may be best known for his appearances on national tv shows like the Rachael Ray Show and Beat Bobby Flay but Darnell’s story has many highs and lows. One thing that is constant about him is perseverance.
Darnell was once living out of his car and in and out of jail. He eventually used his interest in culinary arts as motivational to change his life for the better. In 2012, Darnell began a series of pop-up restaurants in Kentucky serving breakfast within existing restaurants that only served lunch and dinner. This innovative approach led him to open up his first ‘SuperChefs’ restaurant in 2015.
SuperChef specializes in breakfast with a unique style of “Urban Eclectic” cooking, which blends together traditional flavors in untraditional ways with a creative presentation. The breakfast style restaurant is themed, designed, and appropriately named after a superhero to represent the strong individuals we are as human beings and to acknowledge that everyone has the ability to be an everyday superhero. Unfortunately, just a few months after opening, Darnell faced yet another life-altering challenge when a fire broke out at SuperChefs that could not be controlled in time. Soon after the restaurant burned down, Darnell received an outpour of interest from celebrity chefs and television producers requesting he share his story with the world. These opportunities allowed Darnell to reopen SuperChefs and share his gratitude for his blessings by continuously giving back to the community.
Darnell teaches kids, communities and those in need how cooking can be a positive and creative outlet by employing teens, young adults, and those in need. He recently shared his story with us in hopes of inspiring someone else to overcome and achieve greatness.
Who is Darnell Ferguson and who is “SuperChef”?
I would say Darnell Ferguson is the same kid that he was years ago. The first chapter, the beginning of the story. A kid raised by a single mom who never knew what he can get from life.
SuperChef is the mature version of Darnell who understands what he really possesses in life. A dreamer, a person who goes and achieves, a believer who doesn’t believe anything is out of reach. A man who sets to inspire others by both his accomplishments and his failures.
Your love of cooking, when did it start?
It started when I was little. I used to cook at my cousin’s house on weekends, making breakfast and experimenting. But once I saw Emeril on Tv is when I truly became inspired and passionate about pursuing a career in it. I actually started going to culinary school in high school and never stopped.
Who or what motivates you?
Obviously, first and foremost, being able to support and provide for my family. Also, I don’t want to leave this world without accomplishing all I know I’m capable of doing and inspiring all I’m able to inspire. Not many people can hit rock bottom and find their way back, and if I weren’t able to share my experiences in helping others do that, I feel like I’d be wasting an opportunity from God.
How did your time being incarcerated help to mold you into the man you are today?
I realized what I didn’t want out of life and I learned that a little bit is a lot. It humbled me, gave me perspective and taught me to appreciate all my blessings. Freedom can’t be underestimated and now it doesn’t take a lot for me to have a lot.
Tell us about your experience during the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge.
It was an experience I needed in order to understand that I am what I think I am and what I want to be. The chefs I went up against on that show were EXTREMELY talented and being able to beat them enlightened me. I never thought I was going to win that show and I doubted myself round after round but I kept winning.
How have you been coping during the current pandemic going on in the world?
I’ve been planning and trying to prepare for what’s next. This will pass and I’m just trying to figure out life beyond being a chef. I want to be an entrepreneur and I’m putting everything in place. I’ve also been maximizing and enjoying the time with my family. Before this happened, I felt like I was never really home and I’m really making sure I’m there to support and spend time with my family.
How have you been reinspired by the respected culinary personalities that you have met such as Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, Diada, and Emeril?
I’ve been inspired to be thorough in my details. They’re all very diligent and detail-oriented people who have been able to achieve a tremendous amount in a very diverse portfolio. I want my own show. I want to judge and mentor on TV. I want to build a restaurant empire and I never want to forget where I came from and what got me here.