Alumni Stories

Chef Reynold Darthard

Culinary Arts

Executive Chef to the Houston Rockets
The Art Institute of Houston

Executive Chef Reynold Darthard

From a young age, Chef Rey was interested in cooking, learning from his mother and grandmother. Yet, when it came time to attend college, he put his culinary passions aside and attended Texas A&M University. Upon graduation, he pursued a career in the oil and gas industry as an Operations Manager for Andon Specialties, Inc. 

Yet, while Rey’s career in that industry heated up, his passion for cooking continued to burn even hotter. At the age of 37, he made the life-changing decision to enroll in the Culinary Arts, Associate of Applied Science Program at The Art Institute of Houston. He would go on to graduate with honors in 2004 and start the creation of his personal brand, “Chef Rey.” 

After graduation, Chef Rey opened his own catering company, Nevele’s, where he had full culinary and creative control. Through his talents he was able and honored to give his gift of cooking to philanthropic causes like the National African-American Breast Cancer Survivorship Organization, Texas Wildlife Association, Hope for Three, and many more. 

Through Nevele’s he also had the opportunity to cook for celebrities and professional athletes. These connections directly led to the next steps in his culinary career where he became the head chef of a professional baseball team, a collaborative culinary innovator with a major restaurant chain, and even opened his own restaurant in Missouri City, TX. Today, he is proud to hold the title of Executive Chef to the Houston Rockets.

Chef Rey has worked hard during his career and as a way of enjoying his successes, is giving back to The Art Institute of Houston community through a self-funded scholarship for under-privileged students who are passionate about Culinary. Because he knows personally what passion and opportunity can do for someone’s future.