Chef’s Thoughts with Daryl Shular, CMC, Executive Chef of Atlanta Athletic Club

Daryl Shular, CMC, Executive Chef of Atlanta Athletic Club,may not be a six-time NBA champion, but he is a fairly decent drummer—and also one of just 68 CMCs in the U.S.

Daryl Shular, CMC, Executive Chef, Atlanta Athletic Club
Daryl Shular, CMC, Executive Chef, Atlanta Athletic Club

In August of 2015, the Atlanta Athletic Club (AAC), Johns Creek, Ga., named Certified Master Chef Daryl Shular as its new Executive Chef. As one of only 68 CMCs in the United States, Shular has extensive experience in restaurants, hotels and private clubs. Most recently, he was the Corporate Executive Chef/Director of Education for North America for the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

“It’s truly an honor and a tremendous privilege to lead this dynamic and prestigious culinary team,” Shular said after joining the AAC.  “It is my promise and commitment that we will provide the absolute best epicurean experience for each and every member of this club.”

Shular plans to focus on consistency and quality in AAC’s culinary operations while blending traditional club favorites with the latest culinary techniques and trends.

  1. You’d be surprised to learn that I am a fairly decent drummer.
  2. If I could trade places with one chef it would be Thomas Keller.
  3. One of my most memorable meals was at Charlie Trotter’s, back in 2005.
  4. My go-to drink is water.
  5. My last meal would be BBQ.
  6. My worst culinary creation was consommé for a cold-food competition. I forgot to add the gelatin.
  7. If I could change one thing about my club it would be the back of the house. It’s outdated and could use a little love.
  8. My favorite junk food is potato chips and hot sauce. (It’s actually a favorite in the Shular home—especially with my youngest daughter, Taylor.)
  9. If I wasn’t a chef, I’d love to be a six-time NBA world champion and future Hall of Famer.
  10. I knew I wanted to be a chef when I saw a culinary arts commercial from the Art Institute of Atlanta. It changed my life.
  11. You’ll never see boring food on the menu at my club, because the members deserve better.
  12. The most ridiculous member or guest request I’ve ever had was from an over-the-top politician who thought the world revolved around him. He would pop in unannounced and say, “Make me happy.”
  13. I love being a club chef because the culture of excellence is what makes all clubs so special. Having to cater to your members pushes you to be the best.
  14. When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m spending time with my wife and three daughters.
  15. My biggest mistake when I first started as a chef was assuming that I was God’s gift to the culinary world, simply because I had the job and could boil water.
  16. If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d want these four foods with me: salt, rice, olive oil and fresh basil.
  17. I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at home, but I’d never make them at the club.
  18. If I could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, it would be Jesus.
  19. The most valuable piece of advice I’ve ever received was from Edward Leonard, CMC, Director of Culinary Operations at The Polo Club of Boca Raton in Florida, during my CMC exam. He said, “Cook with passion, young man. You can do it.”
  20. My favorite celebrity chef is Gordon Ramsey, because he balances television talent with true culinary skills.
  21. The most important thing in my kitchen is professionalism.
  22. I want to learn more about my staff, because I need them to be great cooks in order to make my members happy.
  23. My favorite ingredient is garlic. The most overrated ingredient is cheddar cheese. The most undervalued ingredient is ginger. I detest cheap caviar. And I can’t live without butter.
  24. The rules of conduct in my kitchen are be professional, no matter what. Cook with passion, no matter what. And no matter what, don’t quit.
  25. My most embarrassing moment in the kitchen was when I set myself on fire. I had a towel hanging out from the back of my apron and I leaned back against the stove. The flame went up my back and burned my clothes all the way off. (Good thing I had on good clean undershorts!)
  26. I would like to see more clubs emphasize cross-training. With so many moving parts, everyone must be skilled in more than one specific task.
  27. I would like to see fewer clubs pay cooks low wages while still expecting high results. It comes down to that old adage: You get what you pay for.
  28. My favorite book is the Bible.
  29. My favorite movie/TV show is “Power.”
  30. I am motivated by my future and all of the interesting and talented people I hope to meet, learn from and cook for.
  31. 31: I became a CMC because I wanted a higher plateau to stand on, to help as many people as I possibly can. Plus, I don’t believe you can appoint yourself as a master of anything. You have to prove it and get certified. So I did.