Grub Life: Chef David Todd is Cooking Healthy 

Chef Todd’s meal service will launch October 14th.

David Todd began cooking when he was eight years old. But his "Grub Life" will begin October 14th.

That's when Todd, 42, executive chef at the temporarily closed Longshot restaurant at Arrive Memphis hotel, will launch the website for his side business, Grub Life.

The preordered fully prepared meal service features "chef-inspired meals," Todd says. "I'll have some breakfast options, snack options, and do five to six entrée-type meals, whether you want that to be lunch or dinner. The menu for entrées rotates week to week."

click to enlarge David Todd - ERIN KIM
  • Erin Kim
  • David Todd

He provides a "chef-driven, nutritiously flavored meal, as opposed to chicken, rice, and broccoli and stuff like that.

"There's a beef option every week ... a chicken, beef, and a fish. And often I'll offer pork tenderloin."

He will keep his menu in a healthy range of 30 to 35 grams of protein, 45 grams of carbohydrates, and 25 grams of fat.

"A lot of the meal prep businesses are very fitness-driven. I like to work out five or six days a week. But I feel like there's this gap. I want to have one foot in other worlds. That's why we chose Grub Life instead of a fitness name. It's for people who want food to be hearty, but maybe not deep into the numbers of what they eat. Just delicious food. And you feel like you bought some food at a restaurant."

But Grub Life also is for those who want to fit their eating goals into their fitness goals.

Todd partnered with Josh Huckaby, owner of The Green Beetle, and Antoine Scott, a certified nutritionist/fitness professional who owns A. D. Scott Fitness.

A native Memphian, Todd helped his mother in the kitchen as a child. "If I wanted to make something, she would let me make it: 'Let's go find the recipe and you do it.' Of course, I destroyed the kitchen and made a mess of everything."

He eventually got jobs making pizzas and other fast food. He also worked at fine dining restaurants, but, he says, "I had some substance abuse issues, and I didn't keep jobs for a long time."

Todd went to drug abuse treatment for his opiate addiction in 2007 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. They knew he had some restaurant cooking background, so he got jobs at the children's center, where he cooked, and the adult center, where he organized the volunteer cooks.

He continued to cook following treatment. "I feel like cooking kind of rediscovered me. And it's been a huge part of saving my life. When you go through a life change like that and get away from self-destructive habits and build your life back, I felt like the kitchen was a safe place to go."

Todd worked with chef Ben Vaughn at the old Grace and Au Fond restaurants to see if he could "work his way into being an executive chef one day. Me just jumping in the water and getting my sea legs under me doing restaurant cooking again."

He also worked at Southwind Country Club, Acre, Spring Creek Ranch, The Green Beetle, and Interim. Instead of going to culinary school, he decided to "piece together an education" for himself.

Now 13 years sober, Todd, who plans to return to Longshot when it reopens, says after the restaurant closed he thought, "I need to figure out how to [continue to] cook. This is what I was born to do."

Grub Life was part of that "triumph of the spirit. That whole Memphis thing: 'I'm not going to quit.'

"Everything that happened to me in life has been a learning experience. This is my soul on a plate. I love fine dining. I love approachable food, too. I want to marry those things together."

Todd wants to "continue to grow" and make his food "accessible for everyone."

"To me, that's the 'Grub Life.' We're all here. We all eat. We all like different things. Put it in a bag, shake it up, and see what comes out."

Go to grublifefoods.com for more information and to see the Grub Life menu.

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