A local chef recently spent most of September traveling from Oregon to New Jersey feeding more than 200 cyclists on a 21-day trip to raise money for cancer research.
The relay-styled trek was divided into seven portions that covered around 150 miles each day. Groups were split into 15-20 riders who swapped every three days. Hunter Davis, a local resident, chef and the owner of The Dish and The Spoon, fed them throughout their journey, inspiring him to work toward becoming a traveling chef.
"Each segment (of the race) that came up, they had a night that everyone would share their stories, and so being able to hear all those stories and having people share their experiences with us was pretty amazing," Davis said.
Davis said he stayed a step ahead of them, traveling to the next stop to prepare dinner and a lunch for the next day to fuel them. Often times, lunch would be a wrap, sandwich or pasta salad, and dinner would include either an pasta-filled meal or a cookout with a grilled protein and sides. He said they also always had desert from a local bakery.
Davis started working in the restaurant industry when he was 15 years old, and opened up The Dish and The Spoon about six years ago.
"It's always a learning process," he said. "By the time I was 20, I was managing kitchens, writing menus, developing recipes and yeah, just kind of worked my way up."
Currently, he works along 30A — extending into Destin and Panama City — as a personal chef. Some of his most memorable clients include county music artists Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, Zach Brown and Little Big Town.
"I would say both situations are fulfilling for there different reasons," Davis said. "It is inspiring to cook for the cyclists and honoring to be able to cook for celebrities."
This year, he partnered with Food For Thought to use a one-for-one model to help feed people in need. For every meal he prepares, he donates one as well, adding up to almost 50 meals.
In the future, he hopes to continue his partnership with Food For Thought and is working to renovate a 1965 Air Stream trailer that he plans to take on the road.
"Fall of next year would be my tentative goal, but (I'm) ready to travel anytime the opportunity presents itself," Davis said.