Share Your Table Featuring Brandon

“With food like this, it’s about what you feel,” Brandon says. “Whatever’s local and in season, and then you can just be free with it and have some fun.”

You might call Brandon Shepard a folktale hero come to life—one who worked hard; fell in love with DAOU; transformed his career from kinesiology to wine; and now passionately saves the day, every day, as the National Director for DAOU’s Soul of a Lion.

A Southern Californian reared by a motivated mother and grandmother with strong Southern roots, Brandon says he enjoyed a lot of Creole cooking and comfort food when he was growing up.

“For the DAOU holiday dinner series, I had to choose my ‘go-to’ dish, something special that my mom and grandmother taught me how to make before I went off to college,” Brandon says. “Shepard Jambalaya is a hearty dish with ingredients that can be adjusted depending on what’s in season and where your mood takes you.”
Brandon likes to begin with a foundation of rice, a bit of shrimp, organic chicken and local sausage from Cal Poly. Next, he adds green bell peppers, white onion, and any other seasonal vegetables at hand. He follows up with “secret” spices that remain, well, a secret. He also highly recommends homemade cornbread as a side dish.

“With food like this, it’s about what you feel,” Brandon says. “Whatever’s local and in season, and then you can just be free with it and have some fun.”

Brandon pairs his jambalaya with DAOU’s Pessimist Red Blend. He says that the wine’s small amount of residual sugar smooths out the slight spice in the dish. “I don’t want one singing over the other,” he says. “I believe that these two are the perfect pair-- I would say it’s a pot of love, and a glass of love, for sure.”

Watch Brandon's Story:

Shepard’s Jambalaya

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time stove: 60 minutes

Cook time in slow cooker: 3 hrs. (*Recommended)


Enriched Long Grain Rice

Spices: Paprika, Red Pepper, Chili Pepper, Black Pepper, Salt.

1 White Onion

1 Red and 1 Green Bell Pepper


2 Bay Leaves

1 Tbsp fresh thyme

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary

1 Tbsp of olive oil

1 Can of Cream of Celery Soup

1 Pack of Lipton Onion Mix

2 Large Chicken Breasts

½ lb. Sausage

½ lb. Shrimp


Bring a large pot of water to boiling

Clean and add chicken to the boiling pot and cook for 20-25 min

Remove and shred the chicken

Dice the onion and bell peppers

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to skillet

Add diced sausage and cook until brown

Remove shrimp tails and cook in separate skillet with 1tbsp olive oil.

Mix 2 ½ cups water, rice, all seasonings, diced vegetables, cooked sausage, and shredded chicken in 3-quart saucepan until well blended. * Add cooked shrimp during last 5 minutes of cooking time.

Cook for 60 min over medium heat.

Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover. 

 Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.


Harvest 2021: Miracle on DAOU Mountain