My name is Nana Darkwah. I was born and raised in Accra, Ghana which is located in Western Africa. I came to the United States to pursue a dream, and so far, that dream is becoming a reality. My culinary journey began roughly 12 years ago when I was living in Pennsylvania and working as a dishwasher in a local restaurant. The kitchen staff gave me an opportunity to work the line and I accepted. It was here that I discovered my passion for cooking.
That growing passion made me eager to learn more, so I began working at an Italian restaurant within a Casino Resort. I quickly advanced to lead line cook and was able to improve my skills while being introduced the to world of fine dining. This position allowed me to develop a strong sense of integrity and professionalism in my work.
My next transition was moving to Florida in 2012 after accepting a cook position at Caretta on the Gulf, a fine dining restaurant within the Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach. Although I began on the sauté station, rolling sushi became my primary focus. I was trained by an experienced sushi chef, but it was not long after that I earned the same title. Working at the sushi bar, I used my new platform to expand the customers’ palettes by introducing new flavors and ideas. I was able to engage with the customers which only fueled my passion for creating a one of kind experience through food.
The knowledge I gained working at the Sandpearl allowed me to accept a position as lead line cook at Ocean Hai, a four-diamond restaurant. After about one year of employment, I was promoted to Sous Chef and so far, it has been a very rewarding experience.
In addition to my previous job history, I have also consulted with a colleague to open and run two restaurants as well as worked with Salt Rock Catering in Tampa, Florida. I am a member of D3 Diversity Chefs and our culinary team was recently awarded Best Sushi in Tampa Bay for Ocean Hai in a local competition.
Over the years, I have developed a strong sense of commitment and dedication that is reflected in everything I do. I continuously push myself to be better while maintaining the highest level of professionalism. Team work, motivation and inspiring others are values that I strive to uphold each day. Food is my true passion and I am excited to take this next step with Nallay Chef.