Darnell Ferguson, founder and owner of Super Chef’s Restaurant, knew early on what he enjoyed and wanted to do. It was while attending vocational school that he realized how much he enjoyed cooking. His inspiration was watching celebrity chef, Emeril, on TV, and that’s when he decided he wanted to own his own restaurant. But getting there was a lot more difficult than he ever imagined!
Starting out on the right foot
Darnell started out in the right direction, attending Kentucky’s Sullivan University to study culinary arts. He was one of only two black students who were chosen out of thousands to be a part of the 2008 Olympic Team in Beijing, China. Now, it might seem like the rest of his life would unfold from here, but it didn’t.
Turning the wrong direction
Darnell was struggling to make a living as a chef and started selling drugs on the street to make money. It resulted in his arrest 8 times and losing everything, even his home. It was after his last incarceration that he took a good look at himself and realized he had become the person he never wanted to be. After his release, he managed to get work at local restaurants, but his temper got him fired, and he was unemployed for a year.
From the bottom up
It was when Darnell began attending church that he realized that he needed to make changes in his life. With his temper now under control, he talked to a friend about leasing space in his restaurant. He wanted to create what he calls a “pop-up” where he could serve breakfast. After a few months, other restaurant owners were approaching him to do the same thing at their restaurants. He was finally back on track!
In 2015, Darnell partnered with his friend, Ryan Bryson, to open their very own restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, called SuperChef’s Breakfast & More, but sadly that location was burned down. Since then, however, he has opened three more restaurants — two in the Columbus, Ohio area and a new one in Louisville, Kentucky.
Once a so-called “street thug” without a home, Ferguson is now a successful entrepreneur.