Chef Dee’s Story

Chef Dee grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida in Panama City where the bays and beaches were his playground. His love of cooking came from his Mom and Grandmother, who taught him the ways of being a great southern cook.

Dee worked his way through college in the restaurants of Panama City Beach where he learned the dishes of the Gulf Coast with its abundance of fresh seafood. After earning his degree in Business Management at Troy State University, he couldn’t get the restaurant industry out of his blood and decided to attend the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. When he graduated in 1988, he returned home to Panama City and began his culinary career in some of the best restaurants on the coast as Executive Chef and started making his smoked tuna dip, which became an instant success! Other restaurants began showing interest in buying his signature dip for their own businesses, and Chef Dee’s Smoked Tuna was born. Food distributors started purchasing the smoked tuna dip and selling it to restaurants throughout the Southeast. When production space started becoming an issue with the increase of sales Chef Dee started using small smokehouses around the country to produce his smoked tuna recipe.

Chef Dee announced in 2019 that he would like to make Chef Dee’s products available nationwide and decided to work with America’s #1 smoked fish company, Acme Smoked Fish. This relationship gives Chef Dee’s Smoked Tuna the ability to provide his high-quality smoked tuna products across the United States.

Chef Dee along with his wife, Brenda, own Dee’s Hangout restaurant that opened in 2008 in the heart of Panama City Beach with only 21 seats. After years of growing, Dee’s Hangout now has over 200 seats where Chef Dee serves up some of the best Southern, Coastal, and Cajun cuisine on the Gulf Coast, and where all his smoked tuna products are for sale to their loyal customers.