While Chef Danielle Saunders may not have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she was raised with a pan in her hand and an everlasting passion for the culinary arts. Danielle’s early experience helping her family prepare Sunday dinner was the landmark for the start of her culinary journey. Upon graduating high school, Danielle entered Norfolk State University in Virginia and majored in Chemistry. After a 2 year stint at Norfolk, she decided to finally pursue her dreams of becoming a chef. In 1997, Danielle enrolled at the New York Restaurant School, where she studied Culinary Arts under Chef Neil Becker (Silver Medalist - 2000 IKA Quadrennial Culinary Competition). After graduation Danielle had the opportunity to work under the tutelage of renowned chef greats including Anne Rosenzweig (Arcadia, Lobster Club) and Michael Lomonaco (Porter House, 21 Club, Windows on the World). Danielle soon after moved on to be the Executive Restaurant Chef at Panevino Ristorante at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City for 3 1/2 years. In 2005, Danielle decided to transition into the private sector of the business and accepted the position of Personal Chef to Media Mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs. As Personal Chef, Danielle traveled across continents sampling various cuisines and cooking in kitchens all around the world. Following over 2 years with Mr. Combs, Danielle realized that she had opened the doors to a whole new world. As her reputation for being an A-list celebrity chef grew, so did her client roster. Danielle has cooked for the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Jann Wenner, Tom Hanks and Gary Sheffield to name a few. Much like her celebrity clientele, Danielle is no stranger to the media. She made her first television appearance on VH1's “I Want to Work for Diddy 2” in 2009 as a guest chef. Additionally, after seven seasons, Chef Danielle is the first female African American winner of Food Network's hit TV show "Chopped”. In the Fall of 2011, Chef Danielle won “Chopped Champions” and made history again by becoming the first female chef to ever win Food Network's championship chef competition. With such a wide array of international experiences and traditional southern techniques, instilled in her since childhood, Danielle is helping reinvent the distinctive "Soul Fusion" style and interpretation of food. She is currently working on her first cookbook based on her late grandfather's memoirs & original recipes.
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