Did you grow up connected to celebrities? If so who and is that how you got your break?
Ryan: My career started in the restaurant industry. I was taught in mentored by fantastic chefs who helped me become what I am today. The break came for me in 2008 as I was in a culinary transition.
Tell us about how you went from dreaming of being a chef to seeing it actually happen. Was there a turning point if so when and what were the emotions that accompanied the aha moment?
Ryan: The culinary industry isn’t always easy. We face tough roads and challenges on a daily basis. Persistence and desire are a couple of charactersics that often lead to success. I’d always ask myself “Was I good enough?” or “How can I get better?”. Self-motivation remained a key factor for me in order to achieve greatness. I was able to turn things around with consistency. With consistency, I’m able to keep my eye on the prize.
What made you decide you were going to be a chef? Did you have any doubts along the way?
Ryan: Because of having the passion and love for food, it was a easy transition into the culinary world. I find myself in my element when creativity is involved. There were always doubts when starting this new journey. Would I be successful? Would I continue to love it? I’m grateful for the choices I’ve made and am pleased with the continued path.
How did you end up cooking for the rich and the famous?
Ryan: In 2008, the recession was hitting America in an unprecedented way. I found myself in transition and couldn’t find a job. I applied for a job not knowing a college friend listed the add. I knew it was my time to embark on a new journey and chapter. The job interview was a lengthy four days and I made the cut by cooking my style of food. This job has contributed tremendously with my success in Los Angeles.
Can you tell us what dish you think claimed your fame?
Ryan: There hasn’t been a particular dish that was a claim to my fame. I dwell on creating excellent cuisine that appeases to different clientele across the country.
When did you know your hobby was turning into a career?
Ryan: My hobby turned into a career in 1998. It was my first restaurant job. I received a quick taste of how restaurants move and its serious business. My decision helped me shape and fulfill my destiny.
Does success feel how you thought it would feel?
Ryan: Success is everything that I thought it would be. The life of being a entrepreneur teaches you life lessons. We have to fail to succeed. I wouldn’t change anything for the world. The potential is great and look out for great things to come.
What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
Ryan: Long hours, little pay. As you start out in this career, hours are long and pay is low. We all have to earn our dues. The chef wants your level of commitment before he/she will invest in your career and guide you to success. As your career grows, hours are long but pay is better.
You’ll be friends for life.
Chefs spend more time in restaurants than with family or friends. You’re able to build a life-long bond that’ll bring about self-development. Some of the best lessons are built in a restaurant. I always appreciate the soldiers that I was able to go to war with everyday,
No personal time.
The culinary industry requires a lot of your attention. I always appreciate the time when I do have it. I always want to catch up and see whats going on around the city.
No sick days or injuries.
You’re expected to work sick and not really take time off. I believe you have to be really sick or in the hospital to get time off. I’d rather someone stay at home and not get anyone else sick. It also affects the quality of the food.
Your goals for your career will constantly change.
When I started cooking, I wanted to focus on being a pastry chef. Once, I tasted the hot line everything changed. It led me to all of the projects that I have now.
If you can battle any chef in the kitchen who would it be and why? What dish would you battle him with? Do you know this chef’s weakness?
Ryan: I’d love to battle against Chef Bobby Flay. I’ve always had respect for his style of cooking and emulate it in different aspects. I’d challenge him with my shrimp and grits. I think he is not as well versed in Creole cooking.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Ryan: In five years, I see myself deeper in my element. We are planting the seeds to achieve greatness. We am currently working on releasing an app for home cooks to release their inner chef. I also plan to release cookbooks, partner with wineries, and a restaurant. I’m looking forward to seeing my products maximum its potential.
Who inspired you and who were your teachers?
Ryan: The journey has been amazing. I’ve had the chance to work with and learn from amazing chefs throughout my years. When I first stepped into the kitchen, it was a surreal experience. The vast amount of ingredients and techniques that have been applied are now a part of my cooking repertoire. New Orleans will always be my birthplace of the journey. I’ve had the privilege of working with chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, Anne Kearney, and Sue Zemanick. They’ve set the foundation of who I am today in the restaurant world. I’ll always take with me the foundation of being at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. A school that is continually filled with talented teachers and up and coming chefs to learn from.
What are some up and coming things you have scheduled? Why and what do you hope to get out of them?
Ryan: I’m cooking for the third time at Stage and Table. We are putting together a fabulous French dinner. I’m also working on releasing the app Super Chef. It will a great app for consumers to try different dishes to try at home. It’ll range between easy and intermediate execution. I’m looking for everyone across the world to get to know my style of cooking and create magic in the kitchen.
If you can cook for anyone who would it be and why? Also what dish would you prepare?
Ryan: I’d love to cook for Kobe Bryant because he loves Italian food. The way he looks at basketball is the same way I look at food. The intensity and passion for the craft never ceases to amaze me. I’d definitely cook Butternut squash agnolotti with lobster and truffle.
Where can we try some of your food?
Ryan: I’d love for everyone to try my food through local popup dinners or even hire me to cater your private and public events.
Do you think the wives of chefs tend to be fat?
Ryan: The wives of chefs do not tend to be fat.
Can you cook just as good of a meal being mindful of calories? Be honest?
Ryan: In my honest opinion, food can can elevated no matter what. Although some consumers can be engulfed in calorie driven meals, it’ll make it less enjoyable. I prefer using fresh ingredients and maximizing the flavors.
Do you do private events? If so how can people book you?
Ryan: We cater all types of private events. Our goal is to bring a unique and fulfilling experience to every guest. I can be booked at https://www.rondenoculinarydesigns.com.
How can we follow your journey?
Ryan: I’d love for you to follow me on this great journey! My Instagram handle is @nolachef212 and @rondenoculinary. Also, my Facebook pages are Rondeno Spice Collection and Rondeno Culinary Designs.