Chef D. Arthur is seriously legit having catered across the nation. (Photo: Johnathan Martin)
#ACCESS901 columnist Joy Doss

Whatever “it” is, Chef D. Arthur has it. His food is nom. He is personable, charming and a super nice guy. And he wants to help us get through 2018, starting and ending on a high note.

To that end, he has created his second Delicious Things Meal Prep calendar, which has over 50 incredible recipes that are what he calls “healthy-ish.” Each recipe was curated with intentionality.

Chef D. Arthur wants you to look good, feel good and enjoy food that tastes good. There is no rule that says that if it’s good for you it can’t be good to you. Each recipe can be modified to meet dietary restrictions around sugar, gluten, sodium and so on. There’s even a lil something for a vegetarian diet.

Chef D. Arthur shows off his shrimp etouffee over cheddar grits. (Photo: Johnathan Martin)

His take on soul food favorites is non-traditional. For instance, he and I met at his downtown kitchen to make shrimp etouffee over cheddar grit cakes. I was excited because I’ve long wanted to understand how to make grit cakes. But they had cheese, so only small bites for me.

He says, “Everyone does shrimp and grits so why not take it up a notch and turn this southern classic on its ear?” That he did. It was delicious. And he told me how to make the grit cakes sans the devil’s cheese products!

The Delicious Things Meal Prep calendar is wide ranging, with choices such as deviled eggs with bacon to (my favorite of his thus far!) lamb hash to cauliflower breakfast pizza. You really cannot go wrong, which becomes a small blessing for so many of us who are so busy with jobs, kids and kid stuff, relationships, parents, boards and other community involvement. You have to get the ingredients but you don’t have to put as much thought into what’s for dinner.

Chef D. Arthur is seriously legit. He has catered across the nation, most recently highlighted as the culinary influencer at the Essence My City, 4 Ways event here in Memphis. He was also the personal chef to NBA player Thaddeus Young for two years before returning home to Memphis.

But guess what? Chef D. Arthur is primarily self-taught. Though he spent time at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute in Atlanta, he got his love of food and cooking by watching and standing in the shadows of his put-your-foot-in-it family members.

Adding a lil D. Arthur remix to our soul food faves, he counts among his specialties buffalo chicken mac-n-cheese, collard green egg rolls and chicken lasagna cupcakes. Now, these aren’t the “healthy-ish” recipes in the calendar but he will make it for you.

Oh, and he is now serving it up on Uber Eats during the dinner hour and late night. So you can catch it there too, without the cost of catering.

Chef D. Arthur’s Delicious Things Meal Prep calendar merits attention. (Photo: Johnathan Martin)

While I love food, I am also extremely picky about what I eat. If you are a foodie like me, the thought of dry granola, sugarless snacks and iced tea or life without an occasional chicken wing is enough to trigger a depression spiral. (Unless, of course, there is a health situation happening.) I’m not about that 1200 cal-per-day life.

So, even as a persnickety person, I am willing to unflinchingly vouch for Chef D. Arthur; and for his calendar. Acknowledging that my trial separation with food ain’t working, I’ll be working out and also incorporating some of his recipes into my life to keep me on track as I go hard and eat smart.

Happy eating y’all!

(Chef D. Arthur’s 2018 Delicious Things Meal Prep Calendar can be purchased at Follow on social media for my cooking session with Chef. For more cooking segments, tips and recipes, follow @chefdarthur on social media.)