Meet Chef of the Year Darren Walters

Chef Darren Walters stands next to the Chef of the Year trophy. He is wearing his chef jacket and a tall chef hat.

ACF Chefs of Las Vegas is proud to announce Darren Walters as the 2024 Chef of the Year. Take a few moments to learn about his amazing culinary career. We look forward to all he will do for our chapter in the year ahead.

Born and bred in the charming countryside of Leicester- shire, England, Chef Darren Walters found his culinary spark in his mother’s cozy kitchen. By 16, Darren was already diving into the restaurant scene, starting as a dishwasher and working his way up the culinary ladder. From waiting tables to chopping veggies and perfecting his cooking skills, he soaked up every bit of knowl- edge about the culinary world. After honing his skills at Southfields College of Further Education and earning top-notch certifications from the London Institute of Culinary Arts, he kicked off his professional journey as a Commis Chef at the Cedars Hotel.

Darren’s culinary adventures didn’t stop there. He spiced up his career by working at some of the finest hotels in the Midlands, including Hinck- ley Island, Bosworth, Elms, and Barnsdale Country Club, all known for their award-winning restaurants and gourmet delights. But the real twist in his tale came in 1992 when Darren decided to cook his way around the globe on the luxurious SixStar Cruises. As a Chef de Partie, he mastered a myriad of world cuisines in roles like Entremetier, Saucier, Chef in Charge, and Garde Manger. It was on these high seas that he met his wife, Joanne, adding a romantic flavor to his culinary journey.

Bringing his European culinary flair to the United States, Darren dazzled diners at prestigious hotels and casinos, including The Rio, Ameristar, Palazzo, and Stardust. In 2005, he found his culinary home at the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa, working under the guidance of Executive Chef Christopher Johns. As Assistant Executive Chef, Darren transformed the property into a culinary hotspot, overseeing everything from restaurant operations to banquets and arena services. Leading a team of 300 kitchen and stewarding staff, his dedication earned him multiple Supervisor of the Month awards.

Beyond the bustling hotel kitchens, Darren is a pillar of the culinary community in Las Vegas. Joining the Las Vegas chapter of ACF Chefs in 2016, he served as Treasurer for four years and now remains on the Board. He passionately supports the organization’s charitable efforts. Through Chefs for Kids, Darren has raised thousands of dollars by crafting unforgettable private dinner experiences to be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the organization’s annual Dinner & Auction. He stays sharp with the latest culinary trends and main- tains certifications, including the National ServSafe Food Safety Manager and AllerTrain.

When he’s not in the kitchen, Darren loves exploring new restaurants and staying on the cutting edge of the culinary scene. A true sports enthusiast, he’s often found cheering on his beloved Leicester City in the Premier League and rooting for the local Vegas Golden Knights. In 2021, Darren celebrated becoming a U.S. citizen, blending his British roots with his American dreams. With his extensive career and relentless passion, ACF Chefs of Las Vegas can’t wait to see what’s next for Darren as he steps into the spotlight as Chef of the Year.

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