Beaumont, Texas native Tiffany Derry has always loved food, beginning her career in hospitality when she was just 15 and worked at the International House of Pancakes. Although it may not sound glamorous, working there instilled Derry with an even greater sense of determination and responsibility, and by the time she turned 17, she was the youngest person to ever be in management at International House of Pancakes.
Upon graduating high school, Derry would go on to attend the Art Institute of Houston, where her love for cooking grew. In addition to learning all she could through classes and practical experience, Derry was also president of the Great Chefs Club and a member of the American Culinary Foundation Junior Chefs Team.
Derry’s first job out of AIH was at Pesce Restaurant, owned at the time by the Carrabba brothers. “My executive chef, Mark Holley, taught me so much about the business, food and life,” Chef Derry says. “He was also one of the few African-American chefs doing fine dining well and I was proud to be there. I watched, listened and worked my hardest every day.” Her dedication paid off, as she moved from garde-manger to Jr. Sous Chef. When the restaurant was acquired by Landry’s Corp, Derry worked her way to Executive Sous Chef at Grotto Cucina Napolitano.
Derry eventually moved to Dallas and became a teacher at the Art Institute of Dallas Culinary School, where she taught her students the business, and what it means to want something and go for it with all they have. She brought that work ethic and commitment to Dallas’ acclaimed Go Fish Ocean Club, where she was executive chef, and especially to Season 7 of Bravo’s Top Chef, where she was voted “Fan Favorite”.
It was on Top Chef where the country was introduced to Derry’s quiet confidence and genuine natural ability in the kitchen. Her overall talent and strong demeanor brought her far into the competition, and her personality made her a natural for the upcoming Top Chef All-Stars, which begins airing in December 2010.
In addition to her television appearances, Derry is strongly committed to giving back to the community and has recently agreed to work with the Dallas Independent School District to revamp the school lunch program with healthier options for all students. This program, combined with other endeavors such as working with groups like Inspire, Encourage, Achieve (IEA) makes it clear that Derry is one of rising stars in both the culinary world and the local community.
Derry lives in the Dallas area with her husband Mark.