Chef Donald Mayo grew up in a Southeast community in Washington, DC. Growing up was pretty rough for him. He had some strong parents that led the way and made sure they protected him throughout the trials and tribulations of life. They made sure he did the right things in life, like go to school. Chef notes that he had many kids around him that did not go to school. His parents made sure he focused on the important aspects of life. Chef Donald’s first job was a food runner at the United States Department of Agriculture. When he was young, he used to be an artist. Over time, Chef found ways to develop his love of art into the kitchen.
Chef Donald has worked many high-end galas and balls, including the 2008 Presidential Inauguration! He is very proud of that, but says his proudest work would have to be the job he just landed: opening a “one stop shop” food court in the Los Angeles area. There will be several locations set to open towards the end of this year. The food courts will have a full bar, a coffee joint, a pizza stop, a Chinese stop… you name it! He told me, “This isn’t just a job, it’s my all around vision.”
Even through all the events he’s worked, and all the meals he’s made, Chef Donald truly has no stress! He told me he is “just so happy.” He has worked events with an upwards of 16,000 people, and still remains calm. “The one that worries is the one that didn’t do their job,” Chef says. “Any time you’re stressed out, its because you didn’t plan correctly. You have to see stuff happening before it happens.” He also focused on the importance of leading by example. Chef Donald is not a bad guy to be taking advice from considering he has won employee of the month four different times so far!
Although he does not currently have any plans of retirement, Mayo says, “I have plans of working smarter, not harder.”
If Chef Donald could pick anyone in the world to dine with, he would choose his 6-year-old daughter. “To be able to stare at her face and look at her beautiful smile, knowing she’s happy,” would make a perfect dining experience for him. And she’ll love anything that he makes! Chef struggled when asked what his last meal would be. He thought about this for a while, mentioning his love for all foods: Italian, Chinese, etc. He didn’t know how to pick just one thing! He finally realized that his last meal would have to involve chicken in some way. He stressed that the most important part for his meal would be enjoying it with his daughter, so it doesn’t really matter what goes on the plate!