Meril, New Orleans
Born and raised in New Orleans, Darren grew up “with his nose to the stove” in a household where both his Grandmother and Great Grandmother cooked French cuisine for the family. Darren’s Great Grandmother immigrated directly from Paris, France to America, but French wasn’t the only food found in the kitchen. Every Sunday his family cooked Italian, and other times, they incorporated Cajun flavor to local seafood and produce.
At age 20, Darren joined the United States Army Field Artillery Division. In 2008, ten years later, he returned to New Orleans and became a cook at Emeril’s Delmonico, falling back into the routine of the kitchen and revisiting his French culinary roots. In 2010, a second deployment called Darren back to Baghdad with the Louisiana National Guard. Darren became the Chef at Palace Restaurant in the Joint Visitors Bureau in Baghdad, a restaurant that served dignitaries visiting the area. When ingredients were limited, Darren called on family, friends, and fellow cooks back home in Louisiana to send him just what he needed to make Southern standards like Muffulettas and Po Boys for Army Generals. After returning in 2011, Darren came back to Emeril’s Delmonico and was promoted to Sous Chef a year later. When Meril was slated to open in September 2016, Darren joined the culinary team as Executive Sous Chef and has held the position until taking over as Chef de Cuisine in 2019.
Darren’s military background and experience in the kitchen go hand-in-hand. Like an old French Brigade kitchen, efficiency, respect, organization, and professionalism are tantamount to a restaurant’s success. He brings his memories of Louisiana food traditions and his knowledge of French cuisine with him to the kitchen at Meril, combining local ingredients and bold flavors to keep the menu fresh and exciting, but also, a familiar reminder of home.