Buckhead resident Darrell Rice has been named as the executive chef of The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill and Smokebelly.
Rice has 19 years of experience working in the Atlanta restaurant scene. As the new executive chef at The Big Ketch, he is bringing diners fresh, casual seafood prepared with a gourmet touch. He is also the executive chef of upcoming barbecue restaurant Smokebelly.
Rice’s desire to become a chef started while growing up on a small town farm in south Georgia. At a young age he learned to fish, hunt, garden, cook and even butcher from his parents and grandmother. Being in touch with the origin of foods and food preparation led him to pursue a culinary career.
Rice attended the Georgia Institute of Technology until his junior year, when he transferred to the Art Institute of Atlanta’s School of Culinary Arts to pursue his true passion. After graduating in 1995, he joined award-winning restaurant Canoe. During his time there, he gained experience in every aspect of the restaurant business.
Throughout his career, he worked at several other notable restaurants around Atlanta such as Aria, Cabernet, Old Vinings Inn, Mosaic and Pour Bistro and alongside famed chefs Gary Mennie, Gerry Klaskala, Richard Holley, Paul Albrecht and Richard Blais.
Rice focuses his cooking on globally influenced, technical cuisine. He hopes to provide The Big Ketch diners with well done, unpretentious food in an inviting atmosphere with friendly service finding and cooking the highest quality seafood for the Buckhead community.
In addition to being executive chef at The Big Ketch, Rice is the executive chef of the Smokebelly in Buckhead. The restaurant blends barbecue techniques from regions all over the country. He is creating a menu full of smoked and non-smoked meats using both wet and dry rubs and injections.
Rice lives in the heart of Buckhead with his son, Brennan. In his free time, he enjoys sports, music, movies, cooking for friends on the outdoor grill and spending quality time with his son.