By Will Chavez
The opportunity to move from Albuquerque, N.M., to take a job as Cherokee Nation Entertainment’s executive chef came after he competed in an Iron Chef-style competition in July in Washington, D.C.
The Cherokee Nation citizen lost the competition by a small margin. However, CNE’s food and beverage director contacted McClellan regarding him working for CNE after an article about the competition appeared in the Cherokee Phoenix.
“CNE, mainly Paul Jarrell, read the article in the paper and hunted me down in Albuquerque and said, ‘is there anyway we can bring you back here and have you work for the tribe?’ I said ‘it’s an opportunity we need to look at, and lo and behold I’m here,” he said.
Below: "Don McClellan prepares a dish at the West Siloam Springs Cherokee Casino. He recently returned to Oklahoma from Albuquerque, N.M., to work as Cherokee Nation Entertainment's executive chef." (Will Chavez/Cherokee Phoenix)