Chef Delle Donne cultivated his zeal for the culinary arts growing up in the Little Italy section of Wilmington, Delaware. At the young age of 14, “T.J.” went under the wing of Chef Daniel Dogan, executive chef of one of Wilmington’s top kitchens.
Determined to make a career out of his passion, he enrolled at Johnson & Wales University Providence Campus College of Culinary Arts. As a student, he obtained professional experience through his internship with award-winning Chef Douglas Rodriquez, a visionary who is credited as the father of Nuevo Latino cuisine, at famed Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia, known world-wide for its inventive Cuban-inspired menu. With that experience under his toque, Delle Donne returned to campus and became a teaching assistant and fellow, supervising other students, cooking for university administration and planning extraordinary meals for special events all the while still studying his craft. Upon his 2004 graduation, Delle Donne obtained a position as executive sous chef at the prestigious Hay Harbor Country Club located on Fishers Island, N.Y.
In 2006, Delle Donne was awarded Best Young Chef in the Northeast region by the Chaine des Rotisseurs. The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is the world’s oldest international gastronomic society, founded in Paris in 1248, T.J. now sits on the board as their Conseiller Culinaire . He returned to the university in 2005 as the assistant director of culinary events and personal chef to the university president. In 2007, he earned a Master’s degree in Foodservice Education from the university’s Alan Shawn Feinstein Graduate School. He is a contributing writer for Flavor & The Menu magazine, and served as Executive Chef for its annual conference, “Flavor Experience,” for 12 years. In 2010, he was promoted to Director of Culinary Events to an Associate Instructor, where we spent 6 years in the classroom and developing curriculum.
T.J. was invited to the famed James Beard house in New York City with SD 26 chef Matteo Bergamini and Daniel Boulud executive pastry Chef Ashley Brauze in the summer of 2014, in the same summer TJ was invited to execute a dinner for United States President George H.W. Bush’s 90th birthday. Over 2013 and 2014 T.J. was liaison to Chef Chris Young of Modernist Cuisine and Chef Steps as they trained Johnson & Wales faculty on modern movements in food. T.J. was host to Chef David Kinch of Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos California as he received an honorary degree of doctor from the university and was honored with executing a dinner for Chef Alain Ducasse as he received his degree of doctor the year prior. T.J. was lead chef in Johnson & Wales Centennial Gala dinner which was held in 2014 coupled with the university’s annual Emeril Lagasse scholarship fundraiser. T.J. is assistant coach to the Rhode Island student culinary team winning a gold medal and first place for the Northeast United States and second place in for the national title in 2014. T.J. is a contributing writer for 41 degrees north Magazine, Yankee magazine, and dinnertools.com, he consults with multiple companies throughout the United States, has guest lectured at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and the Escola de Formacao Turistica e Hoteleira, where he represented the United States at their international event 10 Fest. In closing T.J. is an avid faculty member in the Wellness & Sustainability program at the university where students will work with local, seasonal and sustainable seafood, produce and livestock. T.J. is a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation.