A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Tyler realized his passion for cooking at a young age, working with his grandmother in the kitchen to help feed the family during holidays. Tyler is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University and was most recently the Pastry Chef of DC’s Fiola Mare. Passionate about fresh produce and local flavors, he is constantly pushing creative boundaries to develop and execute new and exciting menu items.
In May, Tyler joined the RRBITC catering team as the new Pastry Sous Chef. He jumped in right away and experienced the spring rush of recent receptions, conferences and events as DC gets back to in-person gatherings. We had the opportunity to chat with Tyler and learn more about him, while he was preparing desserts for an upcoming luncheon.
Pastry Sous Chef, Tyler Donahue with Executive Chef, Houman Gohary during the Capital Harvest on the Plaza (CHoP) chef demo
Tyler Donahue showing CHoP attendees
how to make Watermelon Summer Salad
Q: What inspired you to first pursue cooking professionally? Describe your culinary philosophy/vision.
Chef Tyler: I grew up with two grandmothers that were passionate about cooking and spending time in the kitchen. While all my cousins were playing, I was having a blast in the garden and kitchen with them.
For my culinary philosophy, I believe putting quality ingredients at the forefront allows the most memorable dishes to come alive. Focusing on local ingredients and flavors enables my creations to shine and be well received.
Q: Congratulations on your new role at RRBITC, what opportunities excite you most about working at the venue?
Chef Tyler: I am excited to work in such a large operation with such a reputation in Washington DC. Operations of this size allow for more teaching and opportunities for the future of my industry to thrive.
Q: What are your favorite flavor combinations?
Chef Tyler: Tropical, tropical, tropical! My years spent in Grand Cayman and St. Thomas have influenced me to blend southern and Caribbean flavors to create fun and new combinations.
Q: What dessert or cake advice do you have for couples planning their wedding receptions?
Chef Tyler: Consider going with a faux cake for large receptions. The artistry is less at risk of environmental stresses, and the guests of your big day will never know.
Q: If you could have a round-trip ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you choose to go? What would you want to do there?
Chef Tyler: Indonesia is on my bucket list. I’ll be spending time on boats, eating fresh-picked fruits, going island hopping, and scuba diving.
Q: What is your favorite dining experience in the DMV area?
Chef Tyler: My favorite dining experience in the DMV area is the traditional Hong Kong-style dim sum service at Hong Kong Pearl in Seven Corners, Virginia. The artistry of the small bites and chaotic service are always a treat.
Tyler preparing RRBITC's homemade raspberry hazelnut Linzer bars