Hailing from the small town of Haleyville, Chef Rob McDaniel is Alabama through and through.
Having had a love affair with food from a young age, McDaniel earned a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University. He then headed north to earn a culinary degree from the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, where he developed a passion for local and organic farming.
Upon his return voyage to his home state, McDaniel began learning from two of Birmingham’s best restaurateurs: Chris Hastings of Hot And Hot Fish Club and Nick Pihakis of Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q.
It didn’t take long for McDaniel to blaze his own culinary trail. In April of 2009, McDaniel teamed up with Russell Lands On Lake Martin to open SpringHouse, a beautiful lakeside restaurant that emphasizes local ingredients (especially Alabama Gulf Seafood) in a sophisticated yet comfortable setting. In 2013, McDaniel also assumed a general manager role at Lake Martin’s recently re-opened Kowaliga Restaurant.
In the spring of 2013, McDaniel was named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s award for Best Chef in the South, an honor that he followed up by representing Alabama at the 2013 Great American Seafood Cook-Off.