One quick look at Darnell Ferguson and you’d have no idea of the amount of adversities he had to face just to get to wear he is today, successful restaurateur and owner of 3 thriving “Pop Up” eateries in Louisville, KY. The 28 year old has struggled with incarceration, homelessness and falling victim to a number of bad decisions he made as a teen and young adult. Yet, he is living proof that it is never too late to turn your life around, follow your passions and live out your dreams.
Raised in Columbus, OH by his mom and stepdad, despite having a pretty normal childhood, Ferguson struggled throughout high school and was on the cusp of failing out. His junior year, he decided to transfer to a local vocational school to take courses in Culinary Arts.
Finally finding his niche, Ferguson completed his courses and enrolled at Sullivan University in Louisville in 2005. Sadly, shortly after arriving on campus, he discovered that he was only eligible for partial academic funding – forcing him to only take a few evening courses, which is all he could afford. He became stronger at his craft and was even chosen to be one of 22 selected few chefs to be part of the 2008 Olympic team in Beijing.
Struggling to make ends meet to stay in college, he began selling drugs for supplemental income and although he managed to graduate with an Associate’s degree from Sullivan, his ways soon caught up to him and he was arrested eight times over the next three months. He ended up losing all his belongings, being evicted and becoming homeless.
Ferguson began working as a chef throughout different restaurants in in Louisville but soon after, a bad turn in luck left him unemployed for the next year. A chance encounter led to him bumping into an old acquaintance who happened to own his own restaurant that served lunch and dinner. He offered Ferguson the opportunity to lease his space during breakfast hours and run his own independent restaurant and so his first “Pop Up” restaurant was born, named SuperChefs, after the nickname he received for his culinary skills.
Business took off so fast, that within a few months, several other restaurant owners approached him with similar propositions, one even being a man who had fired him years ago. Ferguson graciously accepted the offers, upping his “Pop Up” locations to three.
Still wanting to fully live out his dreams and own his own full-service restaurant, Ferguson partnered with an investor and friend from college to open his own SuperChefs restaurant in July of this year. The eatery features “high end” food at affordable prices and has become a huge hit in Kentucky.
In the area? Make sure you check out SuperChefs at 106 Fairfax Avenue, Louisville, KY 40207.