As a native of Southern California, the Pacific Ocean and Mexico were Ryan’s backyard and that meant access to fresh produce, seafood and authentic Mexican food year round. These elements today are the foundation for his palette and his cooking. However, his style as a chef has many important influences that make his food unique and delicious!
Chef Ryan’s Influences
For three years, he served as an Infantryman in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany. Following his military service, Chef Ryan attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and soon found himself working in Chicago at the Peninsula Hotel’s Avenues Restaurant under Graham Elliot Bowles. It was here that Chef Ryan began to develop and refine his version of fine dining – preparing 20-course tasting menus, cooking for countless celebrities and even President Obama.
Ever restless for new experiences, Chef Ryan and his wife Lindsey left the United States behind and moved to Barcelona, Spain for a year-long adventure.
As the couple traveled throughout Europe, taking long walks through famed farmers markets and experimenting with exotic foods, Chef Ryan was truly inspired and discovered what kind of chef he wanted to be. This inspiration turned into a passion and vision after the couple spent several life-changing months living and working on organic farms in Italy – working with sheep and goats and working at farmers markets.
Back Home to Michigan
After returning to Chicago in 2010, Lindsey and Chef Ryan celebrated the birth of their son Oliver, and Chef Ryan returned to work for Graham Elliot at his namesake two-Michelin star restaurant. However, the call to focus on his family drew Chef Ryan and Lindsey back to the state she called home, Michigan. There, Chef Ryan enjoyed catering private parties, running the wine department at a local Whole Foods and of course, being with his family that welcomed a second child, daughter Nora, in 2012. But the call to make beautiful and delicious food in a style uniquely his own became too strong to ignore and The Golden State Chef Company was launched in 2014.