De Stewart learned at his mother’s apron strings. During the ‘50s and ‘60s his house seemed to be one of the hubs for the Hillbilly Diaspora that was taking place. People would show up at the house, everybody would hug, and then the women would attack the kitchen and cook wondrous and magical things. He learned a lot by observing but had the feeling there could be more to it than just salt, pepper, and lard. Later De went on a pursuit to learn all he could about herbs & spices. This exercise culminated in the creation of his first book which was an e-book titled, “All About Herbs & Spice”. The book is an encyclopedia of culinary herbs & spices.
De’s grandfather had a fish and poultry market in Louisville for many years and he would go every summer and try to “help” him. One of his regular customers was a young man who shopped for his grandmother. His name was Cassius Clay. He would become quite famous a few years later under the name Muhammad Ali. After urban redevelopment took his Grandfather’s store, De’s Father and Grandfather opened a produce market and De spent his summers and every opportunity learning the business. Twice, in De’s career, he found himself working for Col. Sanders, the Kentucky Fried Chicken guy. They even went to the same church.
In Northern Kentucky, when De had a cable cooking show, he was known as the “Businessman Chef”. He was a founder of the Madison E-Zone (a technology incubator), served on the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for several years, served on the board and was Chair for two years on the Workforce Investment Board (covering an eight county region). Now with stores in Historic Findlay Market, Jungle Jim's at Eastgate, and now The Friendly Market in Northern Kentucky De is simply known as “The Colonel”. Proud to be a Kentucky Colonel, he really doesn’t mind. The store boasts over 500 herbs, spices and blends. Colonel De even provides consulting and produces custom blends for over 50 chefs and/or restaurants.