Iron Chef America winner dies at 66 – .

Walter Royal was a North Carolina chef who won “Iron Chef America” in 2006 with his dishes made from ostrich. 

Walter Royal’s legacy 

Royal was well known in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he was the longtime executive chef of the Angus Barn steakhouse. Though he had dreamed of being a chef since childhood, but a culinary career wasn’t always in the cards for him. Encouraged by his parents to choose a different path than the challenging world of cuisine, he studied psychology and initially worked with children with mental disabilities. But in his 30s, Royal decided to pursue his childhood passion and went to culinary school. 

Royal worked at North Carolina restaurants, including the Fearrington House and the Magnolia Grill, before opening his own restaurant, the Crescent Café in Durham, North Carolina. There, he served Cajun cuisine in a casual atmosphere until he was hired by the Angus Barn in 1997. He remained there for years, building a reputation as one of North Carolina’s finest chefs. 

When Royal competed on “Iron Chef America,” the secret ingredient was ostrich, which he cooked with ease, noting that ostrich was simply another red meat. He prepared a Southwest-style ostrich burger with homemade potato chips, ostrich satay with peanut dipping sauce, and ostrich pot pie, plus an ostrich egg chocolate soufflé for dessert. Royal impressed the judges and won the episode. 

Notable quote 

“When I travel, I hit where the locals go. It’s rare that I will go to a five-star restaurant when I’m traveling. I want to go where the locals go, the little off-road spots.” —from a 2017 interview for the North State Journal  

Tributes to Walter Royal 

Full obituary: The News & Observer 

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