McDaniel’s passion and respect for traditional Southern cuisine was first inspired by the foods his grandmothers prepared while he was growing up in Haleyville, Alabama. At Auburn University, McDaniel decided to pursue this passion as a career and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management. After graduating, McDaniel headed north to Montpelier, Vermont where he studied at the New England Culinary Institute. During his time there, McDaniel honed his knowledge of and appreciation for sustainable cooking and became an advocate for supporting local farmers and preserving regional resources.
In his previous positions, McDaniel worked under prestigious chefs such as Johnny Earles at Criolla’s in Grayton Beach, Florida, Chris Hastings at Hot & Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama, and Drew Robinson at Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ in Birmingham, Alabama. During his time spent in these kitchens, McDaniel’s passion for Southern foods, foraging, and sustainability evolved into the culinary style that he is known for today. His philosophy of respecting