After high school, Chef Rome enlisted in the US Army where he proudly served his country and fellow
soldiers in the kitchen. He traveled around the world perfecting his skills and expanding his repertoire to
include international cuisine. After military service, Chef Rome returned to Rocky Mount. He began work
at the upscale Bienvenue Country Club and trained under renowned Executive Chef Larry Kennedy.
Although he was not placed at Bienvenue Country Club on a college externship like many of the aspiring
Chefs with whom he shared a kitchen, once again, Chef Rome excelled. He soon learned of a single
culinary opening at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and decided to take a chance. The
odds were four hundred to one, but Chef Rome was neither intimidated nor deterred. And it was with that
‘can do’ attitude that he shattered the odds by beating out the other three hundred ninety-nine applicants to
win the position. For more than twenty years, Chef Rome has been working to master his craft. But along this journey, he has always maintained a sincere desire to help educate and empower young professionals in the field. In 2000, he started Chef to the Stars, a chef placement service that, to date has successfully placed more than seventy-five top chefs in celebrity homes. His command of the culinary arts extends far beyond the magic he creates in the kitchen. In 2001, he was commissioned by former NBA star Isaac Austin to consult on the opening of his restaurant. Chef Rome single handedly created the menu, designed the floor plan and synthesized the operation, management and overall flow of the kitchen. So, it was no surprise when his services became in high demand. Chef Rome has shared his passion for cuisine with a variety of A list celebrities, dignitaries and elite professional athletes such as Colin Powell, Shaquille O’Neal, Priscilla Presley, Star Jones, Nancy Kerrigan, Bishop Eddie Long, Carl Gustaf (King of Sweden),
Byron Cage, Mike Bibby and more. He has earned an international reputation for being trustworthy and results driven. “Chef Rome allowed me, for the first time in my entire career, to lose weight while inactive,” stated NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal. Whether he is offering guidance to a client struggling with weight issues, an athlete desiring to gain muscle or a novice who simply wants to be educated on healthy food choices and preparation – Chef Rome delivers tailored programs with a kilowatt smile. With his popular ‘southern meets gourmet’ twist on cuisine, clients are amazed to learn that low calorie dishes can still be flavorful, filling and completely satisfying. More important, he is on a mission to use food as a tool to bring families back to the dining table to fellowship, reconnect and create lifelong memories. Chef Rome is often called upon to share his expertise and participate in the national dialogue on popular health and lifestyle hot topics ranging from energy boosting foods, cooking techniques to how to set a table. He has numerous media placements on a variety of media outlets such as The Gospel Music Channel, ABC, Fox, NBC, CBS and more. Chef Rome was the healthy chef correspondent for “The Good Life Radio,” a former nationally syndicated show and his “Cooking With Rome” radio segment can be heard weekly on “The Donnie McClurkin Show,” also airing in syndication.
In addition, Chef Rome is a managing member of Basil Magazine, an online food, wine and lifestyle magazine where he answers questions and shares a variety of tips with readers in the column “Ask Chef
Rome.” Launched in September 2009, the publication targets food and wine professionals and patrons with
discriminate tastes. It has been a successful stepping stone for minority chefs and is considered by insiders
to be a valuable networking and educational resource worldwide. Through its partnership with the World Food Programme, the frontline agency of the United Nations, Basil Magazine is helping fight the global
battle against hunger. A versatile talent, Chef Rome continues to develop new and exciting multimedia projects and consumer products. He is the mastermind behind Rome Couture, a line of custom Chef’s apparel and is also creating a collection of Chef’s footwear, cookware and knives.
He will soon add author to his already impressive list of accomplishments with the highly anticipated release
of “Cooking With Rome.” The cookbook will be his take on a variety of family recipes and client favorites. It will include a hint of low calorie healthy delights and is scheduled to hit stores Summer 2010. Chef Rome will fulfill another lifelong dream with the “Cooking With Rome” television show. The production is also in development and promises to be as unique and stylish as its namesake showcasing his vibrant personality, sense of humor and exceptional culinary flare.
Q&A With Chef Rome
BS: What did you learn from your mother/grandmother that you use every day in the kitchen?
Chef Rome: One of the things I really appreciated and learned from my mother was that she always opened her kitchen to others. She would literally take people off the street and give them a plate. I didn’t understand it at the time, but it taught me the lesson of giving. She never expected anything in return. My grandmother (with her extremely quiet self) spoke through her ability to cook with passion. My grandmother raised 21 children and always cooked with a lot of love and patience.
BS: What setbacks have you encountered as a chef/entrepreneur and what helped you over come them?
BS: If you weren’t a chef, or in the food business, what would you be?
Chef Rome: I actually considered a career in law enforcement. I wanted to be an attorney, an FBI agent or perhaps work for the secret service.
BS: What do you love to cook at home that you haven’t cooked for your clients?
Chef Rome: I’ve never been asked that question before, so I’m not sure. Because I’m a personal chef, I have to be extremely well rounded. One of the great things about being a personal chef is that I’m always challenged to cater to the taste buds of the client. Not all clients have a large palette. What I prepare for one, I may not be able to prepare for another.
BS: What sets you apart from other chefs?
Chef Rome: I think what makes me unique or sets me apart from other chefs is the way that I’ve progressed through the professional ranks. I did not go to culinary school and I am not tied to any special organization. For the most part I am self taught. I have learned and cultivated my skills with every position I have held. Those experiences have shaped me into the chef that I am today.
BS: Tell us about your upcoming cookbook “Cooking with Rome: A Flavorful Journey”.
Chef Rome: “Cooking with Rome: A Flavorful Journey” will reflect my life’s work as a ‘Personal Chef to the Stars’ as well as the moments in my life that have made me who I am. It highlights memories of my family life, relationships and gives a glimpse into where I’m from which all help shape my career and where its headed. It’s divided into three chapters: My Early Years, Celebrities, Athletes,and Entertainers, and My Most Requested Meals. It will also feature over one hundred recipes.
BS: If I can invest in only five things for my kitchen (meaning, spend more than I normally would), what should I buy as a home cook?
Chef Rome: I would recommend a really good set of knives, a great cutting board, and a great set of pots. All of these items can be really pricey, but can and will last a lifetime.
BS: Tell us about chef to the stars…
Chef Rome: ‘Chef to the Stars’ means I have to bring my “A” game every time I enter the kitchen. I’m only as good as my last meal. I have to be flexible and ready to go at a moments notice. I have to always remember that it’s not about me, but that it’s about the client and what they want. ‘Chef to the Stars’ also means that when a larger ‘name’ walks into the room I have to remain humble regardless of who people say I am.
BS: What are your long term professional goals?
Chef Rome: I have a host of long term goals that include developing a chain of Brownstone restaurants, a line of salad dressings and sauces, knives, cookbooks, frozen foods and signature chef’s apparel.
BS: What advice would you give to someone considering a career in the culinary arts?
Chef Rome: I would strongly encourage anyone interested in a career in the culinary arts to pursue their dreams. But if they lack passion they should definitely stay out of the kitchen. They must always remember that it is all about the food.
E. Lindsey Maxwell II, Esq.
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