Cuisine and travel writer Dom McGhee knows firsthand the power that food has to bring people from all walks of life together to share a common experience.
“I live by this notion that food connects people,” the gay 31-year-old says. “It transcends any sort of barriers. When I write about food, it allows me to meet, share, and connect with people.”
McGhee, who has written for local Houston publications and websites such as CultureMap and The B. Quarterly, has always found writing to be the best way to fully express his thoughts.
“When I write, more of my personality comes out,” he says. “I am shy, so it is a more comfortable way for me to communicate. I first started writing in college. It started on a Tumblr and a WordPress. It was just a form of expression that came naturally.”
McGhee’s love of food and travel has also taught him to be a bit more bold and fearless in the way he lives his life. “It has made me want to push myself a bit more. When I interview chefs and learn how they got started, it is just really motivating. I think it has taught me how to view people and connect with individuals in a way that maybe I would not have had before.”
When McGhee, who is originally from Georgia, moved here about 14 years ago, he was immediately struck by Houston’s uniquely diverse food scene.
“There is so much diversity here,” he says. “There is the food, the museums, the bars—everything. It really draws people here. Houston is not daunting like New York can be. You can come here and truly connect with people.”
Those subjects are what McGhee currently tackles on his own website, Days with Dom. He writes about traveling, the best spots to eat in Houston, brands, and much more. Recently, McGhee teamed up with the new Regent Square developer for a look at his favorite businesses around the city, and what they mean to him.
Whether he is enjoying the sweets at Nancy’s Hustle, savory barbecue at The Pit Room BBQ, or a cool drink at Poison Girl, McGhee can always find a good time through food. He hopes the public continues to support all of the hard-hit businesses as they resume normal operations following the pandemic. “It was hard to see so many places not make it, especially bars,” he says. “I just want the food scene to continue to grow. I just want to see these businesses prosper. I would like people to continue to help local businesses, because they really matter.”
Despite the hardships, McGhee says the pandemic has forced restaurants to become more innovative, which is exciting for the city’s social scene.
“I think what we gained out of this pandemic is a lot of creativity,” he says. “People have had to adjust, and businesses had to expand their models. For example, more places are offering to-go options and touchless menus. I think it is really going to help Houston recover. I think it will allow businesses to have more opportunities to adjust and keep growing.”
When he is not writing, McGhee is working on growing his latest passion project—a line of candles called Dom & Gray.
“I make and sell candles,” he explains. “It happened before the pandemic, but last year I created three new scents that are just sentimental to me. One of them was a tribute to my great-great-grandfather. That is just something I have always enjoyed outside of writing. Home goods interest me.”
Going forward, McGhee sees himself writing more about travel and getting into video production as a new avenue for telling stories.
“I want to tackle more writing that is focused on travel,” he says. “I also want to challenge myself and look into video production. I think starting a YouTube channel that focuses on businesses and travel would be something I would enjoy a lot.”
While the Houstonian has traveled internationally to favorite spots such as Singapore and Mexico City, the next destination on his radar might surprise you. “I know this is random, but I really want to go to Maine,” he admits. “I want to take a solo trip there. Sit back, relax, and just disconnect from the world. I think it would be very relaxing, and a nice little getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.”
To read Dom McGhee’s latest stories, visit DaysWithDom.Com.
This article appears in the June 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.