www.catherineabegg.com // seattle event photographer // copyright catherine abegg
Lapsang tea and blueberry BBQ pork ribs, creamy cauliflower, charred sweet corn & drunken bitter greens. We’ll give you a second to wipe the inevidable drool from your keyboard.
Now, who is the genius behind this dish you might ask? Seattle-based private Chef Ryan Ross.
Portrait by Catherine Abegg // www.catherineabegg.com
Whether there are two people or 50 people at Chef Ryan’s table, she is an expert at creating the perfect dining experience paired with delicious, creative meals. For example, her dining club, Supper Corps, has mastered family-style dinner-partying in large, uncommon places, and it demonstrates her skill for facilitating a magical dinner for 50 at one table. When she’s not at these food-centric events, she is helping companies (like us!) develop new products, creating her own edible goods, fermenting, consulting, and crafting beautiful works of (art) cakes.
With a personality equally as intriguing and compelling as the dishes she creates, we are so excited to feature Ryan Ross a Foodie that we love. We had a chance to catch up with her today:
When did you decide to become a Chef?
I was a performer in NYC and still dabble every now and again. But, cooking, plating and sharing are all like a performance! That’s why I am a chef and not just a baller home-cook.
Photo by A. Hayashi | Concept and styling by Ryan Ross
I love the energy and reflection of efforts when you prepare a feast for a party of people looking for a dining experience, not just a meal. I also love the necessity of the skill, we all need to eat right!
Hear-hear to eating right! Now, as a professional Chef, what food-related beliefs are most important to you?
We are relying way too much on buzz words that are listed on the menus of our favorite gastropubs or artfully scrawled on the chalkboards of our favorite restaurants. Yes, “Eat Local, Farm to Table, Know your Farmers, Nose to Tail Dinner Tonight” are all wonderful wordings. But are we being honest with why these phrases are important? Are we being responsible when we use these labels?
What I mean is, lots of folks jumped right on the “Farm to Table” wagon, because yes, of course we want fresh food from near lands. How progressive, responsible, and even romantic! In this bustling lifestyle that many of us lead, to have farm fresh foods? Sign me up! The thing is, in order to get what we want from theses farmers, when we want it, we have made a giant loophole in the industry. We have put demands on our farmers to grow the tomatoes that we need in the middle of December so we can put on our menus, “Farm to Table, I promise!”
On a large scale, this is destroying the fabulous concept of supporting our agriculture system with “Farm to Table” dining. When we mess with growing out of season on a commercial scale, our crop rotations get thrown out of whack. Our soil health fails thus producing foods that are void of nutrients and flavor. We are producing sick plants, enticing farmers to use more stabilizers and more chemicals to quick fix their crops, and then consume these same crops. Over time, we who are consuming these treated items have lower immunity, which leads to more disease and health compromising issues. This net casts even wider; this way of producing and consuming is socially acceptable under the umbrella of “Farm to Table” cuisine.
This, often unknowingly, misguided label and false sense of feeling morally sound when dining on a “Farm to Table” menu out, is leading to the killing the of insects and bugs and polluting our soil and water, all things we need to keep our circle of life in check!
SO, as Dan Barber says, “Landscape Eating” is more accurate if we want to save our future. Educating ourselves about what the soil needs in order to produce healthy and delicious tomatoes in the proper Summer rather than meeting the demand out of season, means, lets figure out how to make the winter crops delectable and in high demand AND practice a bit of old school methods, like preserving, pickling and jarring and being on your very own episode of Portlandia!
But seriously, let’s support our farmers by buying what is in season. As chefs, let’s use our skills to turn underdog produce and seemingly non-exciting cover crops, like red clover and oats, into stars of new and innovative dishes to enhance our soil’s fertility and to keep biodiversity, erosion, and the local ecosystem, in check! “Eat Local, In Season, Organic, Head to Tail, and Farm to Table” truly should all mean the same thing. We just have to do it right. And many folks do, don’t get me wrong. I am a new transplant to the Pacific Northwest, and wow! I have come across some restaurants that just really get it!
Next time you see Farm to Table on a menu, start a conversation, know what you are supporting and keep digging! Educate yourself and learn from those that are implementing the ethics.
Agreed! Being aware and educated on what you support is so important to us at Allgood too. With that said, what in-season foods, ingredients, or techniques have you been loving lately?
With the warm season upon us, I have shifted my cooking methods out of the braising and roasting and canning. Now I am sautéing, grilling and searing, with some cool and effervescent beverage in hand. But my favorite wild card is the BEST technique for summer, it makes all the difference…. knife skills!
I mean it, if you slice your radish into little batons, or turn your zucchini into ribbons, or mandolin your carrots into paper thin disks, you will find a new level of excitement when you prepare your salads and veggie dishes. The texture, the mouth feel, the colors, blanched, raw, or sautéed, lightly dressed and seasoned can just really knock one’s socks off. And I have about a billion edible flowers that I grow on my deck. I look forward to it all year long!
Edible flowers really look like your signature on so many dishes you create – we love it!
Petals, salts, and chevere
We’re so proud that you’ve helped us create some new, scrumptious products. What is your creative process like, and what inspires your flavors and recipes?
When developing products for Allgood Provisions, I had to first try every single item available of course! The simple and clean flavors–not to mention the intention of Allgood Provisions– and the quality of everything from farming practices to the earth-friendly packaging is so true to the mission of making healthful and ethically sound snacking accessible.
I wanted to take these classic and flawless flavors to create blends and flavors that would transport you somewhere off the beaten path. While brainstorming I would ask myself, “where do I want to go?” Be it at the lodge after a long ski, or lying in the sand in the Caribbean, “what flavors bring me there?” Through conversations with the Allgood team, lots of taste testing, and some inspiration drawn from fun culinary and travel memories, I think we nailed it! See ya in Thailand!
Thanks so much for speaking with us today, Ryan.
Give Ryan’s Instagram page a peak to see some of her latest creations.
Cake + Edible Flowers
If you are interested in the dining experience Ryan described, her Seattle-based Kitchensurfing profile is a great place for more information.
We can’t give out too many details, but be on the lookout for some new Allgood Provisions to be released in the near future. We’re honored to have a great mind like Chef Ryan Ross to help us develop some perfect, unique new products for everyone. Stay tuned!