Meet Chef D. Brandon Walker (Guest):
As a native Angeleno and avid sports enthusiast, Derek Brandon Walker grew up in Los Angeles, where he soaked up the diverse ethnic food traditions and cuisine that the city has to offer, along with the sun and surf. His interest in cooking began after traveling abroad to Asia and South America. There, the food burst with flavors that spurred his creativity and lead to his enrollment at the culinary arts program at Trade Tech with additional training at the New School of Cooking, The Gourmandise School for pastry and Glendale college for restaurant management.
Utilizing classical French cooking techniques, Walker specializes in folding hints of fresh Asian and Latin flavors into his dishes. He selects ingredients that complement each other and reveal themselves to the palate in layers, transforming the dining experience into an exotic culinary journey. He has worked alongside some of the very best culinary minds, including Ludo Lefebvre, Jackie Keller, Jenny Cook, Noah Rosen, Wayne Elias, Sherry Yard, and Chris Blobaum.
Walker currently has a duel role at the St. Joseph Center in Venice, California. He is the Program Manager and instructor of the Culinary Training Program, a program that provides training for individuals with multiple barriers to employment. D. Brandon gives back to his community with hopes of repopulating the country’s kitchens with truly extraordinary chefs. He also serves as the Executive Chef at Bread & Roses Café, the off-site establishment where they feed the homeless with gourmet meals, five days a week. Additionally, he has a full-service catering company, Commis Catering, and recently taped an episode of “Chopped!” for The Food Network that is slated to air in August 2013. His other media credits include Evan Kleinman’s Good Food, Culinary Journey, CNN, KTLA News, ABC News, and countless newspapers, website blogs and other publications, not to mention his catering company’s extensive celebrity clientele.
Walker is currently working on a book, based on his philosophy of improvisational cooking which was developed during his years of utilizing random donations to produce cohesive dishes. Seeking to take cooks of all levels on a trans formative journey to what he calls “off recipe”, the chef focuses on proportion, method, locality and products which people already have on hand in their pantries or freezers. He hopes to contribute proceeds from the book to feeding the homeless.
In the 1990’s, L.A. Models represented Walker. He worked as a model in Los Angeles, New York and Asia, featured in editorials, runway shows and national campaigns, including commercials, for Levi’s and Budweiser.
In his downtime, he plays guitar and sings with his band Fret a Stare, spends time with his family and enjoys all aspects of sports. An athlete his entire life, he continues to surf, play beach volleyball and compete in marathons and triathlons. His healthy lifestyle greatly influences his food and overall philosophy on living. He is fluent in French and his favorite football team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Walker lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their three daughters.