High Point ‘tough guy’ turns out to be a master chef too, as ‘Uncle Cheesecake’

Offbeat and Unique

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Daniel Gray is known as a chef and a baker but most people know him as Uncle Cheesecake.

“You can hear me being called a number of different things,” said Gray. “But that’s the name, that’s it.”

A title well-earned because of his delicious dessert.

“I’ve always loved cooking,” said Gray. “My mom was always gracious enough to let me in the kitchen with her.”

Back then he never considered cooking as a career.

“After high school I wanted to act, play professional soccer and I ended up joining the Marines,” he said.

It was during his time in the Marines that he met some lifelong friends who encouraged him to pursue cooking and gave him the nickname Uncle Cheesecake.

“I’m supposed to be this big super tough guy and then at the back of the conversation I tell them I bake cakes,” he recalls introducing himself. “It brings a smile to their face, the big tough guy is the one that bakes cakes.”

His efforts in the kitchen have earned him a lot of media attention both locally and nationally and he was even on the TV show “Chopped.”

“Did I think I would be cooking on the Food Network?” he questioned. “It was one of those things that just kind of happened.”

He says it’s his daughter Dallas McKenzie who is really the one most likely to steal the show.

“She a better cheesecake salesman,” he said about the two’s love of being in the kitchen. “I just like food, I just wanted to be around food all the time.”

A love he enjoys sharing with others.

“Anytime I can put a smile on someone’s face I’m going to take that opportunity,” he said.

Uncle Cheesecake is located at 3800 Tinsley Drive #111 in High Point.

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