Darren Damonte was born in New York in 1960 and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. When he entered college in California, his insistence on living in a co-ed dorm unwittingly landed him in the middle of the International Studies Department. He continued to allow Fate to guide him until he found himself in Japan as an exchange student.
After an apprenticeship to ceramic artist and noted gourmet Banura Shiro, Darren established his own studio in Shigaraki, where he made wood-fired and slip-decorated tableware. In addition to pottery, he often used his kiln to smoke meat and fish and bake bread.
As the owner of the Yellow House Pottery in Iga, Darren has held many solo exhibitions, group exhibitions, and workshops in Japan, Korea, and the United States. He became known for holding "Damontei," pop-up style events where guests could enjoy his cooking and tableware. He was featured on the NHK program "Utsuwa Yume Kobo."
A disastrous fire destroyed Darren's home and studio in Iga, leaving him with only the clothes on his back and the people he loved. After three months in a mental hospital, he emerged ready for a new, sober beginning.
On his 50th birthday in 2010, Darren opened bistro Damontei as the realization of a dream - a meeting point for love, laughter, pots, and good food.