Julia Child once said, “Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” Celebrity Chef Darlene Bounds Walton certainly holds to Mrs. Child's philosophy and carries it over into everything she does.
Walton grew up and graduated in Stamford. She was one of five children to Opal and Raleigh Bounds. She had three brothers: Lonnie, Jack, and Roy and one sister, Joyce. She remembers that her mother firmly implanted in all of them that there was no such thing as "I can’t." Everyone was her friend, and she was always known as the class clown. As an adult, she lived in Paint Creek and had a small catering business that she started in 1992 doing wedding cakes and other items for people. Her husband farmed and ranched; he died in 1996. She has two daughters, Halee who graduated from Paint Creek High School in 1999, and Hattie who graduated in 2003. During her time as a single mom, she also worked at the school in Paint Creek.
Darlene has always loved to cook and blossomed under the direction of Flora Pace, for whom she worked in a catering business in the late 1980s.
After her kids graduated from high school, Darlene decided that now was the time to pursue her dream. She attended the Art Institute of Dallas from 2005-2007 and graduated from there in 2007. While attending the institute, she gave demonstrations on behalf of the institute, worked as a teaching assistant, and helped with the chef’s gallery. They then asked her to serve as an ambassador for the institute, an honor that she still holds today. For her internship she got to work at one of the top country clubs in Dallas and from there she went on to be the personal chef to a man that owns several banks in the Metroplex.
Walton has been a participant at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas for the last 6 years. She has been a celebrity chef and MCed the event for the past 4 years. She has loved the experience and says she has gotten to meet a lot of people and networked with other chefs.
Through it all she has always stayed true and proud of her West Texas roots, and after traveling and doing demonstrations for 5 years, she was excited two months ago to get the chance to teach at Texas State Technical College in Abilene. She also does Dinner Tonight demonstrations with the Texas AgriLife program and has been featured on KTAB4U several times. She also presented a celebrity kitchen at the West Texas Fair and Rodeo in September.
Walton enjoys teaching at TSTC and says Natural Grocers has been kind enough to provide a lot of the groceries for the class. She says the main thing she teaches her students is to detox their palates, to eat fresh, and taste every layer. Among her many accomplishments are being a member of the American Culinary Federation of Chefs and The Texas Chef Association. And of course…being from Stamford, Texas.