Looking back, Donny Farrell can recognize he’s always been on a path towards the kitchen. A high school athlete who loved the camaraderie of his lacrosse, football, and hockey teams, Donny found a similar type of teamwork in the back of the house. While attending Kendall College in 2006, after studying at DePaul University in Chicago, Donny began working at the now-shuttered Leopold as a line cook. There, he was introduced to the principles of making everything “from scratch” and taking his craft seriously. He also learned the value of local sourcing and using quality products, and that a great menu can’t be created from mediocre ingredients.
After stints at Girl and the Goat as a butcher and line cook and Juno as a hot kitchen chef, Donny made his way to Oyster Bah to become the restaurant’s sous chef. Named by Zagat as one of the 2016 Under-the-Radar Chefs to Know in Chicago, Donny is a natural teacher with a desire to improve and make things better than the day before. He is also the restaurant’s resident Four Letter Hot Sauce chef, making a list of rotating sauce varieties— some even smoked— that are equal parts spicy, vinegary, and funky due to the fermentation process.