TUSCUMBIA — The owner of a restaurant that's about to open will appear on a segment of NBC's "Today" show on Wednesday.
Darnell "SuperChef" Ferguson, who is in the process of opening Superhero Chefs at 104 S. Main St., is in New York City preparing for Wednesday's live segment, during which he will make waffles and pancakes.
Ferguson said he expects Tuscumbia to receive a shout out during the show.
"I'll be making some of the waffles and pancakes we'll be doing here," Ferguson said last week while touring the Alabama Music Hall of Fame as part of an effort to familiarize himself with the area.
He said the producer of the "Today" show segment indicated Tuscumbia would be mentioned as part of a lead-in to a possible contest.
"They should be talking about the new restaurant opening up," Ferguson said. "They are going to have a contest afterward saying, 'Our next restaurant is opening up in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Where do you think SuperChefs should go after that?'"
It won't be the first time Ferguson has been on national television. In 2018, he won the Food Network's Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge, and he also has been featured on programs such as "The Rachael Ray" show.
Ferguson opened a SuperChefs restaurant in 2012. He has two other locations — Louisville, Kentucky, and Columbus, Ohio.
People started calling Ferguson "SuperChef" while he was a chef for Team USA during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
When they were discussing the next restaurant location, initially names like Atlanta, Georgia, and Nashville, Tennessee, popped up. Then someone told Ferguson and business partners Terrel Davis, Larry Lewis and Rodney White about Tuscumbia. Afterwards, Lewis contacted Mayor Kerry Underwood and the decision to come to the Shoals grew from there.
"We prayed and got our own ambitions out the window," Ferguson said. "This presented itself and I thought, 'I think this is where we're supposed to be.' It just fit perfectly. The people seem like — everyone seems to love it here."
Underwood said Ferguson has been trying to learn all he can about Tuscumbia. The mayor took him to the music hall of fame to help him discover the state's musical history.
"He's going to be invested in the community," Underwood said. "It's more than just a restaurant for him. This guy's really something."
Ferguson said music is a major part of SuperChef's restaurant, so it seemed natural to located in the Shoals, considering its rich musical heritage.
Ferguson said he has talked about that with friends and others who are affiliated with his business, and have brought up the "Muscle Shoals" documentary after watching it.
"I keep trying to get these guys to watch it so they can understand how special this place is," Ferguson said.
He said the response he has received from the community has him optimistic.
"I think the reception from people in the Shoals area has been fantastic," he said. "It's been like a home. They are really accepting.
"I like it here so much. This is my first time in a small town, but it's been one of best culinary experiences I've had so far."