Danny J. Wells is founder of the “Dishing It With Dan” brand and cookbook. He graduated from Mercer in 2017 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and completed a master’s degree in health care administration at Georgia Southern University in May.
Here are five things to know about Wells.
1. He’s always loved cooking.
Wells is originally from Rome and lived in Texas for 10 years before returning to his hometown. He has loved cooking since he was 8 years old. He has fond memories of learning from his mother and grandmother and getting up early to help cook when family came to visit.
“It encouraged me to spread love that way. You have to stay true to who you are and do what inspires you and makes you happy,” he said.
In college, he was constantly cooking meals for friends, and people started asking him for his recipes after he graduated. That inspired him to create a cookbook to share his favorite dishes.
2. His cookbook is filled with family favorites.
The “Dishing It With Dan” cookbook includes recipes for main dishes like beef tips, salmon croquettes and Southern oxtails; side dishes like candied yams and parmesan asparagus; and desserts like lemon chess squares and strawberry cheesecake. It also has music playlists for each food category to give people a unique selection of tunes to listen to as they cook.
“Most of the recipes were things that either my parents taught me or I learned on my own over time. A lot of them are Southern recipes since that’s where I’m from,” Well said. “My favorite is my peach cobbler. That’s something I always have to cook when I’m with my family or at church events.”
3. He wants to share his love of food.
Wells’ cookbook is available as a free download online. Wells said his grandmother always gave her recipes away, and he is following the example she set. The purpose of his book is to share his love of food with others and inspire them to learn to cook or try new dishes.
“People have loved it. Some of them have started creating their own recipes. That was what I was hoping would happen … that I’d help them explore their cooking journey,” Wells said.
4. Mercer gave him a strong support system.
Wells said some of his best memories of Mercer involve building relationships. He appreciated how accessible his professors were and enjoyed engaging with them inside and outside the classroom. He loved spending time with his friends in the University Center and the Caf and forging bonds that remain to this day.
The photographer and editor for Wells’ cookbook are friends he met at Mercer, as are the first few people who got a copy of his book.
“Mercer gave me a great support system,” Wells said. “Mercer has a lot of great people. Now, we have these lifelong connections. I really owe a debt of gratitude to Mercer for that.”
5. His goal is to encourage others.
Wells is working on a holiday cookbook, which he hopes to release this fall. He also plans to expand his website and brand through cooking videos. The videos will feature guests who assist him in preparing foods, and Wells will dish about life and encourage others.
Short-term, his goal is to secure a job working behind the scenes in health care operations, and his long-term goal is to start a company that focuses on healthy lifestyles. He wants to help people make better lifestyle choices and, as a result, reduce the health care needs of society.