In the heart of downtown Havana, Florida where the friendliest small town offers historical views and luxury shops, Chef Derrick Lane, a Gadsden county native’s dreams became a reality.
Lane’s love for cooking traditional southern dishes began at an early age. He grew up watching his mother and grandmother, and cooking alongside them.
Embracing flavors and recipes in the kitchen, assisting his family would become the cornerstone of his culinary journey.
Lane’s passion for cooking only deepened over the years, leading the dedicated chef to pursue formal culinary education. He enrolled in Keiser College, honing his skills and furthering his craft. During this time, he gained hands-on experience working in various restaurants, including an externship at Sea Restaurant in San Destin, Florida. While working at the Governor’s Club, Chef Lane met Jack School, a master chef anywho became his mentor.
After years of culinary education and experience, In 2015 Chef Derrick Lane took a bold step. Armed with family traditions and recipes created along the way, he opened Odell’s Restaurant. Named after his wife’s middle name, this small town cozy eatery quickly became the go-to gathering place for locals, family and friends and especially church goers.
Odell’s, which offered an all-can-eat buffet, as well as made-to-order items, became the talk of the town where word of mouth was the main source of advertising. The made from scratch menu included meats such as fresh cut oxtails, fried chicken with side choices from white acre peas to beans and homemade desserts. Over the years Odell’s Restaurant service and recipes remained consistent.
However, like many other businesses suffered from the challenges of Covid, so did he. In December 2021 years of dreams and memories were shattered. On December 18, 2021 Lane walked away from the life he worked so hard to achieve.
Following the loss of the restaurant, it became difficult to upkeep houses and cars.
“I lost everything but my wife,” Lane said jokingly.
Over the next couple years, the owner relied on his own determination and support of family and friends. The chef credits Isaiah Cole for introducing him to rental properties in Havana, Florida.
While reading The Havana Herald, Lane came across a job advertisement that presented a new opportunity.
Since July 10, Chef Lane has taken the reins at Off The Rails Irish Pub, serving as the chef and Kitchen Manager for ‘Off the Rails Irish Pub.
“I’m still cooking from scratch while learning the Irish style delicacy,” Lane shared.
He has incorporated his own style of cooking at the Irish pub, implementing Chef’s Choice Tuesday, where he serves up a different dish every week.
Kiwanis White – Gadsden County News Service