Business Boom

Angela-BrooksTucker is undoubtedly one of the fastest-rising business destinations in the Metro Atlanta area.  Each month, the Business Boom will seek to show different examples of how Tucker’s business scene is flourishing. This month's column is written by  Business Outreach Coordinator, Angela Brooks. 

Chef Daryl Shular in the kitchen.February is Black History Month and, in observance, I interviewed Chef Daryl Shular, the owner of FarmED Kitchen + Bar, which recently opened in the Lakeside Centre complex in Tucker.

In 2014, Chef Shular, or simply “Chef” as his team calls him, became the first African American and minority to earn the culinary industry’s highest honor, the designation known as Certified Master Chef (CMC). This was no small feat as the American Culinary Federation’s Master Chef exam includes a grueling and rigorous 130-hour, eight-day food preparation with written tests that only have pass/fail outcomes. 

“It was a very intense, yet humbling experience,” Shular said. 

Last year, he used his CMC credentials and his more than 25 years of culinary experience, preparation, and personal sacrifice to launch the Daryl Shular Hospitality Group (DSHG). FarmED (pronounced Farmed) Kitchen + Bar is the flagship restaurant of the Shular Institute culinary program; both are under the DSHG umbrella of companies.

FarmED opened in December, featuring a wide range of regional/Southern cuisine and custom beverages in a 7,000 square foot space with a bar and a view into the open kitchen and culinary test lab. Shular said he’s proudly built his career on the principles of healthy cooking, sustainability and supporting local food suppliers, something that’s on full display at his new venture. 

“At FarmED we support local food suppliers and farmers by selecting the freshest product direct from the farm and bringing it to the kitchens here at Shular Institute,” he explained.

Chef Shular plated meal.If you’ve been around the Tucker area for a while, DSHG is located in the space formerly occupied by the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. And that’s no coincidence. Shular is not a newcomer to Tucker. He was Corporate Executive Chef/Director of Education for North America for Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts when he earned his CMC certification. 

“It’s been a 360 [degree] journey. This is where we started, and we’re back here again,” he said. “When I went looking for space to fit my current needs and allow for growth, this happened to be available and we closed the deal.” 

He says he’s excited to be back in Tucker and he’s very anxious to give back to the local communities and share his knowledge and experience with the next generation of master chefs. 

“Tucker is a very special place because it’s so community-based,” he said. “I love that it has that small-town feel, but with metro growth. It’s a good fit to be here.” 

When referring to the Institute, Shular prefers the term “apprenticeship” rather than “cooking school”.

“We have a different approach to culinary education at the Shular Institute,” he expressed. “It will be a real-world learning environment that also incorporates business fundamentals to help arm graduates with career options and a better path to success. We’re going to produce what we call Navy Seals of the culinary industry. There are benchmarks and requirements that must be met before one can even enter the program.”

Shular Institute. The Institute will be staffed with a 10-to-1 ratio of students to chef professionals and will serve as the internal labor pool for the other businesses within the DSHG. With six employees now, Shular anticipates ultimately growing to around 30, which means more jobs in Tucker.

Also under the DSHG umbrella is PlateED (pronounced Plated), a suite of interactive cooking classes led by industry professionals with both in-lab and online options from the novice to the professional level. Earth First catering is the latest creation of Chef Shular, a catering and events company blending fine food with a world-class hospitality experience. 

His skills as a Master Chef have led to invitations from all over the U.S. and throughout the world to speak, teach and participate in elite cooking competitions. But Shular is not about to rest on his CMC laurels. He’s also developing his first recipe book, and even a television show displaying his skills and continuing his mission to teach others how to live a healthy lifestyle while enjoying the art of culinary cuisines.

Currently, Shular is one of only two African American CMCs on the American Culinary Federation’s rolls. Among his many awards and accolades, he is archived in the Library of Congress and he is an inductee of the African American Hall of Fame in Savannah. When asked how he’d like to be remembered in Black History, Shular simply said, “As a trailblazer on the rough side of the mountain who helped other people along the way.”

FarmED and the other DSHG businesses are located at 1927 Lakeside Parkway, Suite FK01.

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