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Culinary life suits Nuvolé Rooftop TwentyTwo Chef Roy Darling
Southern vibe agrees with Jamaica native
Published Thursday, September 12, 2019 4:26 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Chef Roy Darling returned to the kitchen with a new job at Nuvole Rooftop TwentyTwo/AC Hotel.

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It was only a matter of time before Chef Roy Darling returned to the kitchen and warmer weather.

A New Englander born in Jamaica, Darling joined Nuvolé Rooftop TwentyTwo/AC Hotel Charlotte (220 E. Trade St. Suite 2200) last year. After eight months with his newborn son Mac, it was time to return to work. His oldest son, Malcolm was a conduit for Chef Roy’s position at Nuvole.

“I had already moved here to North Carolina, and had just had a brand new baby,” Darling said. “I took some time off and then realized after being with the baby for eight months that I really wanted to go back to work. My oldest son was doing valet in the city, and he knew the previous general manager [Dawn Lockhart]. [Malcolm] knew that they were looking for a chef. I reached out via LinkedIn, sent in my resume. He had me come in for an interview, and here we are.”

Darling’s family relocated to Mooresville from the Northeast for the same reason many people move here — weather.

“We wanted to move to a warmer climate, and North Carolina was something that we picked — it wasn’t going to be too hot or too cold,” Darling said. “We wanted the happy medium — a little bit of snow. It’s gone in three days. We also wanted to be on the lake, something that we’ve dreamt about for a while. We were able to settle in Mooresville, which we like quite a bit.”

Darling’s family encouraged him to pursue a safer route after high school, despite his desire to attend culinary school.

“When I was in high school, I always wanted to cook,” Darling said. “When I graduated high school and wanted to go to culinary school, my dad talked me out of it, [saying] that there was very little money in it, and you worked quite a bit. I ventured off and did other things.”

However, fate had other ideas, starting with a move to Martha’s Vineyard.

“When I graduated high school, my stepfather was a painter,” Darling said. “We worked a lot in Boston, did a lot of commercial buildings. In 1989, I had a girlfriend at the time who was moving to Martha’s Vineyard. Her brother was living there. I had nothing better to, so I said, ‘I’ll join you.’ I ended up staying 11 years, and eventually owning my own painting business, doing new constructions, which gave me a great view on how people put things together as far as being creative. Some of the houses that I’ve worked in and seen are unbelievable, which also gave me great ideas for my future endeavors.”

When a friend opened a restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard, and asked Darling to help out, he jumped at the chance to get back into the kitchen.

“I was living on Martha’s Vineyard when a friend of mine opened a restaurant and asked if I wanted to help out a couple days a week,” Darling said. “A couple days a week turned into four-five days a week. I owned another business at the time. I would be eager to leave my work to go to the restaurant to work there. That’s when the realization kicked in, ‘you know what, this is really what I want to do.’ So I sold my house and sold my business, and went back to culinary school. It’s been uphill from there.”

Darling studied at Southern New Hampshire University and the Culinary Institute of America.  

“At the time it was New Hampshire College, and it’s now Southern New Hampshire University,” Darling said. “They had a really good culinary program—smaller classes.”

Fewer students in the classroom allowed for greater hands-on experience.

“In larger schools, you’re broken down into teams,” Darling said. “If you’re working on a recipe, you only get a small portion of a recipe to work on. With New Hampshire College, because the classes are so small, you get to work with a lot more of the recipes. You’re very hands-on with those recipes.”


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