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Grady Spears, restaurateur, author, ADHD advocate

Known as the “cowboy cook” for his crave-worthy fare that centers around delicious, Texas-infused food (think juicy steaks and burgers), Chef Grady Spears certainly knows about the spice of life: His family.

“Being a parent just comes natural and I love everything about it,” shares the North Texas dad who has one son with wife Jennifer, a registered dietician. “[Gage, 3,] comes with me everywhere and we love being together and learning things together.”

What he does: And learning is certainly a key component to Spears’ life. Though he’s authored seven cookbooks and operates five restaurants (with a sixth opening this fall) throughout our neighbor to the West, Fort Worth, (the famed Reata, anyone?), Spears says he never set out to become a chef.
“I actually got thrown into [cooking]. I am still learning everyday,” he reveals. “I cook simple foods that don’t take a rocket scientist to figure out.”

And it’s that kind of down-home personality and talent to boot that has led Spears to a TV deal with PBS. The Cowboy Way (a 26-show series) is currently in production and will focus on the rural side of life — food, culture, country living.

Yet, despite Spears’ overwhelming success in and out of the kitchen, he admits he has always had a difficult time staying focused and meeting deadlines — even as an adult. The cause? Undiagnosed and untreated ADHD. It wasn’t until Spears was 30 years old that his condition was detected. “Just being aware that [I have ADHD] is the biggest change,” in my life, he insists. “You need to be willing to manage it and realize that it can affect everyone around you and not just you.”

Now, as a result of his late-in-life diagnosis, Spears is speaking out in the hope of educating others.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people come up to me and talk about their ADHD or about the people in their lives who have ADHD,” he says. “Making others aware of [ADHD] and getting them to go see a doctor is the most important thing.”

How he does it
Running a handful of restaurants, being a successful author and soon-to-be TV personality and now an advocate for ADHD, you would think fitting in the demands of daddyhood would be difficult, but Spears says he takes it all in stride, which often means Gage is right by his side, soaking in every detail.

“In our world, there is no such thing as a normal day,” he shares. “[Gage and I] get up early in the morning, I feed him breakfast and then we are out the door. Our lives are so busy — the day is always changing. We never know what we are going to do.”

As for his ongoing education — be it behind a stove, penning recipes for his latest cookbook or in managing his ADHD — Spears says his greatest teacher is his son.

“I learn so much from [Gage] every single day,” he shares. “I absolutely love to watch him grow.”