The Astros made historic changes this offseason.
You know about their new league, manager, logo and uniforms, but what you probably didn't know is that the team renovated and expanded the kitchen and dining area in the clubhouse and hired its first full-time chef.
Reynold Darthard graduated from Texas A&M and worked in the oil and gas industry for 16 years. However, he always loved to cook, and at the age of 37, he decided to make a career change. After receiving his Associate of Applied Science (with honors) from The Art Institute of Houston/Culinary Program, Darthard, a.k.a Chef Rey, started his own catering company and has served a long list of the Who's Who of Houston. Among many of his famous clients are Yao Ming, Brian Cushing, Matt Schaub, Mario Williams, and Robert Horry, although catering for Beyonce was of course his most memorable.
His five years as Tracy McGrady's personal chef was also very memorable. During Darthard's interview and tasting, McGrady hired him on the spot.
“It was an awesome, awesome, awesome opportunity,” Chef Rey said. “People always ask, 'Well, how was it working for Tracy McGrady?' and I say, 'Well, I got to live like a rock star.'”
One summer, Chef Rey cooked weekly meals for about 20 Texans players.
“That actually set the foundation as far as really cooking for multiple athletes – being able to understand their diets, needs, requirements, everything from body fat to what it takes to lose, maintain or gain weight,” Chef Rey said.
Just a year ago, Darthard was trying to run a restaurant as he also sometimes cooked for the Astros. When the team offered him the full-time job, he jumped at the chance.
“When I looked at what it could do for me and what it would do for my career, not just for growth but also being able to have the creative force to do different menus and tasks and techniques, so instead of cooking for a family of four, I’m cooking for roughly 50 people per day,” Chef Rey said.
He also cooks for the umpires and visiting teams on the first day of each home series. Amazingly, he does it with very little help.
“I actually work well by myself as you can see I’m a good multitasker,” Chef Rey said. “I can actually prepare food for easily 100 people myself. I do 100 percent of the cooking. I do have one of the attendants who will help me wash and prep chicken once in awhile, but I do the principals of the cooking.”
Stay tuned to www.csnhouston.com for much more on Chef Rey, and the TV report will air during “Astros Bases Loaded” at 4:30 p.m. on July 11. You'll get an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the new kitchen and dining area and you'll see what his daily routine is, his best dishes and what players have to say about him.