Anthony Dunlap: The Roving Chef

Anthony Dunlap, owner of Roving Chef Logistics, offers catering for any event, custom cakes, mini dessert and appetizer bars and personal/group cooking classes.

BY KARIN DAVIS-THOMPSON, Staff Writer

TAMPA BAY — Anthony Dunlap said the idea to become a chef was not his first choice in life. Hoping to become a professional athlete, Dunlap said going to culinary school was just his backup plan.

“I wanted to run track,” he said.

But now, nearly eight years after completing a stint in the military and attending culinary school, he has his own business and teaches cooking classes all over the Tampa Bay area. Dunlap, owner of Roving Chef Logistics, said he’s loved cooking since the eighth grade. Although it was not his first choice for a career, he knew that it was something he could be good at.

His company not only caters events but also provides personal and group cooking classes. Teaching is something he said he fell in love with during his time in culinary school. 

After graduating from high school in Alabama, Dunlap joined the United States Army as a food service specialist. In 2006, he was honorably discharged from the Army and moved to Tampa to attend the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Tampa. It was there that his passion for teaching students how to cook began to grow. 

“I’ve always helped friends and family with navigating recipes,” said the 35-year-old.  “So when it came time to get my externship hours for my BA, I taught culinary arts for a semester and got the teaching bug!”

His company offers one group class each month at a commercial kitchen where attendees will learn how to make a dish along with various cooking techniques. The price for classes and cooking demonstrations vary, but generally run between $25-$75 per person.

Dunlap said he likes teaching classes because he can view the process from a fresh perspective.

“Learning how to cook always came easy to me,” he explained. “I always love to see the look on a customer’s face when they’ve figured out how and why something is made a certain way.”

When Dunlap is not teaching classes, he is focused on the other arm of his business, specializing in mini desserts and appetizers for events big and small.

He said his goal is to fill a void in the market, offering options for people who want to provide food at their event but don’t want a sit-down meal.

“We are trying to fix the problem of what to serve when you don’t want a full meal and grocery store cupcakes,” he said.

His favorite dishes to make for events include chicken lollipops, fruit and cheese platters and mini-tacos, to name a few. But when it comes to desserts, the brownies are king.

“I’d have to say the brownie shooters are the show stealer when it comes to desserts,” he said.

Having the opportunity to work as a chef is something Dunlap says he enjoys more than he ever thought possible, and it’s never boring.

“Each event, wedding, market or festival, is always somewhere new and different,” he said. “No is ever the same.” 

For anyone interested in getting better in the kitchen, Dunlap suggests that you not be afraid to try new things. 

“Try cooking at least one new recipe a month,” he said. “Look up recipes and watch YouTube videos for help.”

For more information on booking the Roving Chef for an event or cooking lessons, visit www.rovingcheflogistics.com.

To reach Karin Davis-Thompson, email kdavis-thompson@theweeklychallenger.com

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