Chef Ron Duprat has had a passion for good, healthy, locally sourced foods ever since he was a small boy growing up in Mare, Haiti. Despite a poor upbringing, he always felt at home in the kitchen observing his grandmother cook. It was there that his passion for cooking took root. Today, Chef Ron Duprat – celebrated restaurateur, Top Chef contender, author, humanitarian and executive chef – credits those comforting times in his grandmother’s kitchen as the basis for his food philosophy: fresh, flavorful, seasonal ingredients that create mouth-watering dishes with a nod to his heritage.
To understand the man today is to remember his past. His “rebirth” of sorts began after he and his family survived a 27-day boat trip from Haiti to Florida when he was just 16. He saw some pretty terrible things that month, including boat mates being thrown overboard after meeting their final fate. However, he saw a beacon of hope and a spark of what was to come for his future when he was given sustenance from others who could fish and feed the rest as fuel to keep going. Once in America, Ron Duprat was given an opportunity as a dishwasher in the Little Italy restaurant, quickly moving up the ranks to chef. It was there, in that hot Florida kitchen, that Ron Duprat knew his calling. It wasn’t anything his family expected. After all, little boys and girls in Haiti were encouraged to become doctors, lawyers and politicians – not chefs in a foreign land with no money and little knowledge of the local language.
Despite those overwhelming odds, Chef Ron pursued educations in Paris France and the United States, most notably the Culinary Institute of America. As he gathered experience, honed his skill and made connections in the culinary world, his talents started to make headlines. He first gained recognition when he competed in Bravo TV’s “Top Chef.” With a magnetic personality and fun demeanor, Chef Ron Duprat caught the bug for the screen and later starred in Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue.” Rubbing elbows with such famed chefs as Emeril Lagasse, Giada De Laurentiis, and Guy Fieri, Chef Ron has proven he can roll with the big guys.
Fueled by a specialty of French fusion spiced with Caribbean flair, Chef Ron has cooked for dignitaries and heads of state, was appointed Culinary Ambassador by Hillary Rodham Clinton, and wrote his own book called “My Journey of Cooking.” Not only has he served as executive chef to several esteemed restaurants across the country, he’s catered private events for Usher, Beyonce, and Haiti’s president elect Michel Martelly. He even showcased his signature French Caribbean cuisine to millions of viewers during his appearances on Good Morning America and The View. This national spokesperson and public speaker -- not one to shy away from the limelight -- devotes his time to being an advocate for sustainable food future in Haiti, which focuses on reducing reliance on imports and increasing local production.
His professional resume is impressive, to be sure, but perhaps what inspires Chef Ron the most is his love of giving back to the community, participating in countless community outreach programs. From First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign “Let’s Move,” and Food for the Poor to Real Men Charities and No Kid Hungry, Chef Ron gives more than just lip service. He gets in there and helps out in the only way he knows how: food. As an educator in the fight against obesity and worldwide hunger, this celebrity chef can be seen lending a hand in food pantries, teaching kids about healthy eating, and participating in local school health fairs.
Chef Ron’s also a member of several respected organizations, such as the Black Culinary Alliance, Basil Magazine’s Chef Council, and FLIPANY (Florida Introduces Physical Activity and Nutrition to Youth), an organization in south Florida offering affordable physical activity and nutrition programs to local families. His entrepreneurial spirit has allowed for the creation of nearly 50 restaurants to open up under his leadership.
His mission is and always has been to serve healthy, locally-grown, fresh produce and fish that fuse the bold flavors of his native homeland with French Caribbean influences. Chef Ron’s latest endeavor has him coming back to New York as executive chef at the Montauk Yacht Club, bringing his love of bold French Caribbean flavors and fresh seasonal ingredients to the table. He’s been here before and achieved excellence and leadership: he’ll do it again. As a restaurateur and expert in exotic flavors, Chef Ron Duprat has a zest for life that’s fueled in the kitchen by a passion for cooking.
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