Derrell Smith blends culture, conversation and love into Mad Good Food

Derrell Smith of Mad Good Food on Tastemade, photo provided by Tastemade
Derrell Smith of Mad Good Food on Tastemade, photo provided by Tastemade /

On the new Tastemade show, Mad Good Food, Derrell Smith brings many things to the table. Beyond his engaging personality and food knowledge, his table is set with open seats ready to welcome everyone into the conversation. Mixed into those cooking tips and tasty ingredients is a recipe for success beyond the confines of the kitchen. His mission to spread love through food is an idea to be savored for a long time.

The former Syracuse and NFL football player appreciates that life might not take everyone on a direct path to success. After a career ending injury, Smith made several pivots. From the business world to the kitchen, each choice led him to his current path.

While his new Tastemade show, Mad Good Food, might be some food lovers introduction to Smith’s culinary insight, he is not a stranger to the food community. After winning a meatball contest with his OG sauce, Smith parlayed that success into food businesses around New York City, including a location at the Barclays Center. Still, Smith continued to move forward because his mission to spread love through food is a never-ending journey.

Derrell Smith wants to spark a curiosity with food.

As the child of two pastors, Smith learned at a young age that life is a journey. It might not always be the expected path, but there are lessons to be learned along the way. More importantly, he embraced the concept to never let fear be a barrier in his path.

While he appreciated that fear cannot be avoided, he understood that he can control his response to those uncertainties. Whether it is having to leave behind a particular career or entering that meatball contest, his truth is about embracing the moment and seeing where that opportunity takes him.

In some ways, his Tastemade show ,Mad Good Food, is one sliver of that journey. While many people will watch and learn amazing recipes to make at home, each show is more than that idea.  From the family meals to the individual dinners, the there are many pieces of food knowledge on the table.

For Smith, it is more than a how-to guide. While the teaching tools are woven into each episode, he seeks to tell a story, have a conversation, and inspire others to embrace their own path.

From explaining why spices should be cooked in a curry sauce or why corn starch is used in a fried recipe, the hows behind each choice are just as important as the result. Each decision is a conscious one. Whether it is making a recipe a little more healthy forward or introducing Haricot verts instead of green beans, it draws viewers into the kitchen and conversation. Even if viewers are not sitting at Smith’s table, they are being welcomed into his world.

In the end, the phrase Mad Good Food might have stemmed from his community that reacted to that first bite and found it incredible. At the same time, the vernacular can have a broader meaning.

Derrell Smith looks to create a community through his platform. From the food on the plate to a representation of culture to being true to himself, the three words that describe his Tastemade show go hand in hand with his mission to spread love through food. If you are ready to take that first step on this food journey, Smith has an outstretched hand ready to welcome you.

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Mad Good Food airs on Tastemade. The series premieres on Thursday, April 8 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. Subsequent episodes will air on Thursdays nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT.