Chef Ryan started cooking with his Mom at the age of 2 ½ by making raised cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies and zucchini bread from scratch. Growing up east of San Francisco in the Livermore Valley, the family had a sizable garden that provided a wide variety of fresh produce. During the summer, the family would make trips up the California coast to chase king salmon, flounders, and ling cod. Simple, fresh and tasty were the name of the game while growing up.
Chef Ryan’s first taste of the restaurant business was when he was still in high school, where he worked bussing tables at a local Chinese restaurant. Making the jump from the front of the house to the kitchen happened while attending college. When a cook walked out during a lunch service, the future chef was thrust into position. For the next two years, Chef Ryan worked at both the Morning Thunder café and Round Table. For the next couple years, the novice chef earned his chops at a variety places that included a ski resort, summer lodge, brew pub, and a country club. Arriving in the Sonoma valley around the turn of the century, he started working for one of the oldest up-scale catering companies, giving the budding chef the opportunity to experience wine country cooking. In order to acquire wine education, he took a job as sous chef at the world-renowned St. Francis winery. During this time, he traveled to New York City and cooked winery dinners at the prestigious James Beard house on two separate occasions.
Attending the California Culinary academy, Le Cordon Blue was the next step. The education filled in the gaps and smoothed off the rough edges that the last ten years of kitchen work had left. Upon graduation, the newly minted chef landed a job at the highest grossing restaurant in San Francisco, The Slanted Door. Here Chef Ryan learned about Asian cuisine, more specifically Vietnamese food. After 6 years working there, he was recruited to go to Shanghai, China to work as a western chef, doing American style food at Kabb Bistro and Bar. Living abroad exposed Chef Ryan to totally different food and culinary ideas. After his two-year contract was over, and missing America, he returned as Executive Chef at E and O Asian Kitchen, in San Francisco.