Get to Know Darren: The Durham-Hillsborough Guide

Besides delivering deft alliterations during Durham-related sentences, Darren Davis has gotten to know the Triangle very well since he moved to Chapel Hill to attend the University of North Carolina. After earning his undergraduate degree in Economics, Darren migrated over to Durham. Now that he works at Eurosport in Hillsborough, he knows these three cities very well.  He currently leads Taste Carolina’s Durham and Hillsborough food tours.

 Starting with the basics:

Occupation: Inventory buyer for Eurosport. Where are you from? My hometown is Orlando, Florida. When did you move to North Carolina? I moved to Chapel Hill in 2004 as an undergrad at UNC, and then I eventually moved to Durham in 2011.

What do you love best about North Carolina? I really like the mixture, especially in this area; it’s a small town with all the amenities and features of larger cities. I like the close-knit community, the farm culture. I like that there aren’t a lot of chains, especially around here.

What type of music do you listen to when you’re cooking in the kitchen? I listen to some version of drum and bass, Dead Mouse or something like that. It keeps a constant beat.

Top 5 favorite foods? (anything goes) (1) Filet Mignon, (2) Blackened mahi-mahi, (3) Beef stroganoff, (4) Nachos with a lot of guacamole, (5) Spicy Thai green curry.

What is your comfort food? I’d have to say getting a big juicy burger somewhere. That and dark chocolate Raisinets.

Are there any foods you won’t eat/try? Yeah – insects. I just got back from Thailand, and in Bangkok they had these carts with fried scorpions, crickets and other insects. There was a brief second where I was like, “Oh yeah I’ll do that.” And then I saw a girl eat one, and I saw I her face, saw the crunch, and couldn’t do it.

What is the last memorable meal you’ve eaten recently? Last night I was at Six Plates, where I had the lamb meatballs and Israeli couscous.

The ingredient you currently can’t stop using is: Lately, I’ve been using a lot fresh red chili peppers from my friend’s garden.

You have a day with absolutely no obligations. How do you spend it? I’d get a group of friends together and go and see a movie. Right now I really want to see The Master. Then, I’d go and try some new beers, especially some microbrews, and read.

What are some cooking challenges or techniques you would like to tackle? I really don’t know anything about baking, and I think it’d be nice to add desserts to some of my meals. Also, it’s hard to find the time and discipline to cook, that’s probably one of the toughest things.

Who is one person you’d love to cook with? I’d love to cook with Gordon Ramsay. I think I’d learn a lot, but it would also be terrifying and stressful.  Oh, and Mario Batali would be great to cook with too.

What would you consider to be some of your hobbies? Well, I really enjoy staying active and working out.

Darren’s Favorite List: 

Favorite Restaurant: Pancuito in Hillsborough. Favorite Dish: I once had this perfectly cooked triggerfish from Magnolia Grill. Out of all of the meals I’ve had, it’s my favorite. Favorite Sandwich: I think I might go old-school on this one. There are two: it’s a tie between turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and mayo after thanksgiving, and a good meatloaf sandwich. Favorite Drink: The Hopslam Ale from Bells BreweryFavorite Cookie: The vegan double chocolate cookies from Weaver Street Market. You see them and think “vegan,” but man those things are good.

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