Darryl Mickler grew up in the South, and Sunday dinners at his grandmother’s home were the highlight of the week. After high school, he won a scholarship to study food and beverage management at Pensacola Junior College and ranked first in class at graduation in 1986. During college, he participated in a summer internship at Les Chef’s de France at EPCOT with Great Chefs Roger Vergé and Paul Bocuse, and after college he returned to Les Chef’s de France to further his culinary education.
When he left Chef’s de France in 1992, he joined Walt Disney World first as specialty chef and then later as chef de cuisine. In 1996, the Great Chefs television crew showed up at the Disney-MGM studios to tape Chef Mickler for the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of America television series.
In 2000, he entered Rollins College for a Bachelor’s Degree, graduating summa cum laude in 2003, then went on for his MBA in Business Administration, Marketing and Finance, and Accounting in 2006. He left Disney in 2006 to be Executive Chef for Red Lobster for one year, then promoted as their Director of Product Development through 2010. Brinker International brought him to Dallas as their Senior Director of Culinary Innovation in 2010 and in 2014 he became Associate Vice President of Culinary Development for Aramark in Philadelphia. In 2015, he returned to Orlando as Senior Director of Research and Development for Hard Rock International.