Chef Ryan hails from Columbus, Nebraska, and has been part of the culinary crew at Ginger and Baker since we first opened our doors, starting as a cook and working his way up to chef de cuisine in the Café.
That same dedication and can-do attitude has been a part of his work ethic since he first started in professional kitchens in Nebraska. “I began as a dishwasher and worked up the ladder,” Ryan said. “I was planning on culinary school, but all the chefs I worked with told me I’d learn more actually working than in school. It’s been a great career path.”
From Columbus, Ryan moved to Lincoln where he was lead line cook at one of Nebraska’s busiest restaurants, and then spent time as a fine dining sous chef. Looking to expand his horizons, Ryan made the move to Fort Collins, where he was lead line cook at the Moot House before joining the opening team at Ginger and Baker.
“When we opened, we all did a lot of learning, but now we’re becoming a destination and the sky’s the limit,” Ryan said, “I personally have never worked for anyone like Jack and Ginger. The amount of care they have for their business and their commitment to their employees is not something you see anywhere else.”
As for his culinary style, Ryan says, “My mom and my grandmother were big influences, they’re a huge reason I do what I do.” He adds, “With that in mind, I like to take simple, homemade food, do it right and find ways to elevate each dish. I want to take comfort food classics like meatloaf and fried chicken and amplify them, make people say ‘wow, that’s the fried chicken I’m going to eat for the rest of my life.’”
“When people come into the Café, I want them to feel like they do when they go to grandma’s house,” Ryan said. “The feeling you get when you’ve driven for three hours to get home for Thanksgiving and you’re met with all those delicious cooking smells and know you’re welcome and where you’re supposed to be.”
When not working, Ryan loves taking family trips to the mountains with his fiancée, Tiffany, and their son, Rylee, plus three pugs and two labs. He also loves live music and anything to do with sports. (Go Big Red!)
His favorite pie? Pecan, all the way.