McDowell Cary 350x350 - McDowell, Cary

Cary McDowell

Biography

Chef Cary McDowell came by his love of food honestly. Born and raised in Southeast Tennessee, he was brought up in an often idealized world of impeccably kept and bountiful vegetable gardens. The sharing of neighbors’ stories exposed him to the deep Southern food traditions that piqued his interest in food and cooking.

During his teenage years, Cary lived in Arkansas. He was immersed in the ‘covered dish culture’ of church suppers composed of cherished family recipes, the soul food tamale culture of the Delta, the proud handmade burger and sandwich scene of Little Rock... READ MORE

Chef Cary McDowell came by his love of food honestly. Born and raised in Southeast Tennessee, he was brought up in an often idealized world of impeccably kept and bountiful vegetable gardens. The sharing of neighbors’ stories exposed him to the deep Southern food traditions that piqued his interest in food and cooking.

During his teenage years, Cary lived in Arkansas. He was immersed in the ‘covered dish culture’ of church suppers composed of cherished family recipes, the soul food tamale culture of the Delta, the proud handmade burger and sandwich scene of Little Rock as an ‘entrée’ into the World of ‘concept restaurants’ run by professionals. A quick College stint further exposed him to Louisiana’s vibrant food culture which furthered the notion that perhaps a ‘career’ in cooking may be possible. Whether it was the imaginative overhaul of a gas station-turned breakfast spot, continental steak and seafood bistro, decadent classic french fine dining, regional Italian cuisine of the 1980s, to a Soda Fountain/Burger concept-Cary knew the work was his ‘calling.’

After being encouraged by a French Chef to jump into the necessary system of apprenticeship, he wrote letters to as many Chefs as he could to find an opportunity. His messages were serendipitously answered, and he quickly dove in ‘head first’ to that World and never looked back! Supplementing his apprenticeship with attending the Culinary Institute of America further cemented his desire not only to learn but give back the craft that was so freely shared with him. Working with many notable chefs, Maitres de Cuîsiniers de France, Cooks from across Europe and the World provided the foundation, deeply rooted in French and Italian technique and sensibilities. Sharing that craft with others is central to his work.

While working his way around French Kitchens, many opportunities presented themselves. Whether being a part of ambitious life-changing openings, travel and work in a small Relais & Châteaux Inn, incredibly unique and discreet event catering of all sizes, connecting the dots to the farm to kitchen eateries- these opportunities have led Cary to an incredibly promising and extraordinarily idealized career. Cary has been both an owner of restaurants, as well as helped to develop or refine many innovative concepts, such as hyper-seasonal ingredient fine dining, artisanal-inspired home cooking places, and ruffhewn takes on the Southern classics of his past.

His current project has been immersive work with the Euclid Hospitality Group as Corporate Executive Chef in St. Louis, MO. Working with a storied multi-unit pizzeria, as well as developing a fast-casual pizza and salad concept and a ‘rethought,’ ‘relaunched’ high volume Mexican concept has continued to push his boundaries while not straying too far from the fundamentals of his classic roots. As he promised his formative mentor years ago, Daniel Boulud- he will always keep the French in his cooking!

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