Hey yall and welcome back for yet another ‘Noire Excellence’ segment. So for those that know me know that food is my life. It brings me joy, laughter, hope, and a good meal is just down right awesome. There is nothing better than having your stomach be on E, and then for the Heavens to open up and a big ol’ plate of Thank you Father is placed in front of you to consume and enjoy. I mean…. *wipes tears* Yes Lord! Coming from a family with Southern and Caribbean roots, I have had my fair share of delicious meals in my 27 years of living and when I find awesome restaurants/chefs, I like to share my wealth of knowledge so that you too can enjoy what they have to offer.
So here’s the backstory..I was on twitter not to long ago, and this picture of this masterpiece of a meal floated across my timeline and my mouth instantly started to salivate with no hesitation. My heart filled up with so much peace just by looking at this photo and I was THIS close to biting my iPhone screen but I didn’t because my AppleCare is expired and ain’t nobody got time to pay for a new screen. lol So I found out who created this meal and instantly followed him on Instagram and the mouth salivation continued and even increased. I mean…Holey Moley Donut Shop can this dude throw down in the kitchen! After I lurked on his page, I was able to get a hold of him and we talked via email and I was able to score an awesome interview!! Darius Cooks is such a cool dude and his creative dishes never cease to amaze me. Want to see what I’m talking about? Just keep reading…
ATBEL: Well if it isn’t Chef BoyarDarius himself. How are you sir?
DC: I am fantastic really..I couldn’t be any better. You know, I left the gym today and ended up at this great Mexican restaurant with the best guac I’ve ever had. Like no seriously… It was creamy, tangy, salty, and just perfect…so I’m great!
ATBEL: Lol! I love your food enthusiasm. But I agree, there isn’t anything better than some bomb food after a great workout. Well I first off want to say thank you for even doing this interview because I’m really a big fan of your work/recipes.
DC: Why thank you for reaching out to me and I’m glad you’re a fan.. I’m just a dude from the hood trying to cook the food he loves.
ATBEL: And I love what you cook so let’s get started shall we? So for those who don’t know you or know what you do… let the people know your name, where you’re from/reside, and what you do for a living.
DC: My real name is Darius – lol. Darius Williams. Originally, born and raised on Chicago’s West Side but I currently live in NYC. And besides running www.DariusCooks.com, I work as a HR Director for a global commercial real estate firm. I know…two totally different lives but we’ve got to pay these bills one way or another.
ATBEL: And they say Chi-city! *Ye voice* lol My moms is from the southside of the Chi and I got all homies that stay on the west side in K-Town and Holy City. Yea you are right, those are two different jobs but hey bills don’t pay themselves so you do what you gotta do. So I first found about you on twitter when somebody on my timeline RT the pic of your collard green and cornbread cake that is topped with fried chicken and gravy. Babbbbyyyyy when I tell you that my mouth salivated like no otherwhen I saw that pic? Like I literally almost ate my iPhone lol. What made you even think to make that?
DC: Lol! Well actually, I’m just always creating stuff. That’s what I do with my cooking;I take the envelope, push it and then I walk away. Then I come back to it and then push it some more. That’s what I did with that collard green and cornbread cake. If you think about it, how many times on a Black holiday table have we seen collard greens, cornbread, mashed potatoes & gravy and fried chicken? Just about every darn time right? So I figured what better way to celebrate our culture than to try and put it all together! I like to take familiar ingredients and present them in brand new ways. That’s what I do.
ATBEL: I never really looked at it that way but you have definitely taken holiday eating favorites to a whole different level with that creation and I am all here for it! Lol Have you always had a passion for cooking? If not, what made you start creating all of these amazing dishes?
DC: I’ve always had a passion for eating…good food! So, I figured early on that if I want to eat good food, I might have to learn how to cook it. I started whipping up stuff in my mothers’ kitchen when I was about 9 years old. I’ve seen my mother make fried chicken a million times so I tried to do it one day by taking the chicken and seasoning it, battered it, and then fried it. And it was delicious but the only thing was that it was actually turkey wings and not chicken wings. I didn’t know the difference back then so I can say that I’ve been frying turkey long before it was ever popular.
ATBEL: Do you have any professional chefs that you look up too that inspire you to cook?
DC: I don’t really follow professional chefs because there’s a touch to what I do that’s super personal and familiar. Sometimes chefs can be too strict or too “sciency” and yes, I know that’s a word I just made up Lol. But for me, it’s about letting the food take you on a journey and I know how to do that well. Some others that do that for me are people like Sunny Anderson, Nancy Fuller, and Ina Garten.
ATBEL: What motivated you to create your websites and share your dishes with the world?
DC: I felt that it was just time to do so. At the core of who I am lies this responsibility to the art of creativity and I needed to share it with the world. Besides, one day I want to be this huge food star and if no one knows I can cook, why would they look my way? So, I started food blogging about 8 years ago. I’ve gone through several blogs and several URL’s until I found my perfect point of view that I wanted to showcase. www.DariusCooks.com definitely embodies the true essence of who I am. It’s my personality, my struggles, my history, my laughter, and my pain all displayed through recipes on my website.
ATBEL: I love that you are very open about your relationship with your boyfriend. We all know that with more success comes more criticism and everyone on Instagram and other forms of social media has an opinion. You guys seem so in love and that he really supports you in all that you do which is awesome, but do the harsh comments about homosexuality ever discourage you from doing what you love & being so open about your relationship via social media?
DC: I think if you incite harsh comments, then they’ll come, and I don’t do that. When you encounter me you get love, warmth, familiarity, and lots of fun. Where can negativity breed in that environment? It can’t. Michael is a fantastic dude and although he’s not in front of the camera a lot, he’s just a goofy as I am, and we are a good match for one another. If people did throw harsh comments my way, it wouldn’t matter to me. I’ve got a mission and a purpose and it would take more than a few harsh comments to slow me down.
ATBEL: I heard that! Haters are gonna hate..and potatoes are going to potate.. -___- lol! Have you ever had any recipes’ that didn’t turn out that well?
DC: Potate? Lol! Ok.. Oh, and yes I have; It happens all the time. Ask any artist if they are proud of everything they create. Of course they aren’t but those are the things that keep us moving and inspire us to do better. Those are also the meals that you’ll never see me post. LOL
ATBEL: Lol ok fair enough. Now I see that you have been traveling a lot as well. From all the different restaurants you visit, do they inspire you to try different ingredients that you might not of thought of used in your cooking till now? Or do you just stick to what you know and what’s been working?
DC: Yes, I travel a little here and there. And sure, of course eating around the world inspires me. Everything I do inspires me. I take in all of my life’s experiences, internalize them, and show them through creativity. So, when I went to Orlando and met the Filipino family that started the amazing seafood restaurant, I was inspired. When I went to Philadelphia and met the guy that started a one-window cheesesteak joint, I was inspired. When I went to Las Vegas and had dinner at Hash House with friends from Chicago, I was just so inspired. Inspiration happens every time I take in some sort of experience, and then I turn that experience around is through my food.
ATBEL: What is your all-time favorite recipe out of all of your creations? Do you have a favorite type of food? Mine definitely has to be Soul Food, Italian and Mexican.
DC: My favorite is anything that I can eat with a fork or a spoon. lol I love all of my recipes because they represent a part of me. However, that Ultimate Fried Chicken and Peach Cobbler Shortcake recipe might make you slap somebody’s mama though.. just sayin’.
ATBEL: Lol! I wouldn’t put that past you. Your recipes are such a blessing to my stomach and if I could g-walk through my Macbook into your kitchen? Man look… I’d be like heyyyyyyy roomies! What’s for dinner? Lol! So what does the future hold for www.DariusCooks.com? Do you ever want to open your own school for people who want to learn how to cool or even teach classes to those who are cooking-challenged? Lol
DC: Not G-walk through your macbook…lol! You are so silly. I don’t think I’ll do a school in all honesty. I’m doing live online cooking classes that started on Saturday 8/2 at 11AM on my YouTube channel – youtube.com/everydaycookin. They’ll be live, unedited, and full of mess because I won’t be able to take out the bloopers. Lol I’ve got a few other projects in the works and I’m working on a restaurant concept in Chicago that I’ll open up in 32 more months. It’s all-apart of my 3 year/36 month plan.
ATBEL: Smart plan and I can’t wait to see what’s next for you with this food journey..I expect nothing less but great things. Well Darius, that’s all the questions I have for you today. Once again thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me and I wish you the absolute best and I can’t wait to try out more of these recipes’ of yours! DC: Thank you! This has been a blast. ATBEL: Before I let you go, let everyone know where they can find you via social media and where one can find out step by step recipe guides so they too can try out some of your dishes with their own families.
DC: Everything is available at www.DariusCooks.com and I’m all over social media – facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, everything as @DariusCooks. Well that’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed our interview and make sure you visit www.DariusCooks.com for all great recipes he has and new ones he is going to be making in the future. Don’t know how to cook that well? That’s ok too..his live cooking shows will help you step by step so that you too can become a great chef and enjoy all of these yumminess in your home too!