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Dondi Mcnulty
featured chefs dondi mcnulty
Miami and South Beach in particular have witnessed a revival over recent years. With just over one hundred rooms The National is one of those perfect South Beach Boutique Hotels, and it is not just the three hundred foot long swimming pool nor the hammock in the palm trees that will dazzle you and leave fond memories, it's got food too....

At the Launch of Cafe Mosaic the hotel's dining room, GlobalChefs met the face behind the food. Along with many of their upgrades the most recent to the hotel is their Chef Dondi Mcnulty.

He is not Bubba Gump, but this New Orleans native is the son of a Shrimper and he was born to cook. Dondi Mcnulty enlightened us "With a working Mom you did not wait to get fed you just took care of it yourself". His Great Grand Mother was an excellent cook and it was she that took his newly found interest and created the passion that he possesses to this day; "she created the beast," he jokes.

After graduation from High School Mcnulty joined Louisiana Culinary, to learn the classic culinary foundations. Upon graduation Mcnulty and two friends took a trip to Florida for some fun. After the two week trip they returned home to New Orleans packed their possessions and drove back. " It was the clear ocean that mesmerized us. We all wanted to stay in Florida we came back with our gear and set up home". Home was a small apartment that all three shared, including the bed, " the bed we had was so huge that all three could sleep in it without even touching each other; I think the beer might have helped a little too".

For the first two years in Florida Mcnulty worked for movie actor Burt Reynolds as a Sous Chef at his supper club restaurant, Backstage. A twelve month trip to L.A. California followed where McNulty worked as the Sous Chef with an old friend at the fusion restaurant Mélange." Looking back it should have been called confusion!" Mcnulty quips, " then my truck got stolen, and it was time to return to Florida!".

His return took him to Cafe Le Rarouche. During the next three years Mcnulty would get his first taste of being "The Chef". The owners sent him to Paris; to Stage at The Ritz Hotel, during which time he resided in the red light district "It was just like being back in New Orleans!"

His next move would secure him a position at what would come to be South Florida's only AAA Five Diamond, Mobile Five Star Resort. It started life as The Ocean Grand and lives on as The Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. " The food there was always amazing, but when Four Seasons came in they raised the standards across the board, first The Restaurant received AAA Five Diamonds, then the Hotel. Mobile Five Stars followed soon after, it was a great place to be a Sous Chef; it was very positive and full of energy, the operation was very successful. Hubert Des Marais is a great Chef. His style permeates through to everyone".

After seven years it was time for Mcnulty to carve his own name. This would mean a trip down I-95 to join his old friend and Director of Food and Beverage, Matt Linderman. Now McNulty displays his skills and style. "I like to cook for people as if they were the only ones in the room. It's the details. In a restaurant you need to watch the little things; that is what separates the good from the great". And whether it's Samurai Seared Sea Bass or Chef's Hot Hairy Bananas you wish to sample there is no better place in South Beach and there is always that hammock to crash in afterwards....... (more)

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