Currently the chef at Zambra wine and tapas bar in Asheville, Ryan began working in professional kitchens at the age of 14, and earned a degree in criminal justice from the University of Pittsburgh, then immediately decided to pursue a culinary degree.After graduating with High Honors from Indiana University of Culinary Arts in 2009, he accepted an internship with the prestigious Biltmore Estate. Ryan has since had the opportunity to work with several acclaimed chefs, including his mentor, Chef Mike Gonzalez, Richard Blais, Hugh Acheson, Kevin Gillespie and Sean Brock.As one of the youngest executive chefs in town, Ryan was named one of “Asheville’s Young Guns: Rising Culinary Stars” by the Asheville Citizen-Times in 2013.Being a featured chef at several Blind Pig Dinners has garnered Ryan regional accolades, and an enthusiasm for experimenting with cooking methods and classic recipes means that his menu changes often.Heading the culinary team at Zambra showcases Ryan’s training and vision–embracing locally sourced, high quality ingredients to create globally inspired crave-able cuisine.With a strong belief that farm to table shouldn’t be seen as a trend, but as the bedrock of a great restaurant, Ryan practices this daily and can be seen shopping at local farmers markets and visiting local farms.
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This inspired, friendly and free-spirited food scene tucked in the mountains of Appalachia has been called “Foodtopia,” but the locals just call it home. Plan your trip now.
Learn more about the vision and values that guide Chow Chow's work to celebrate and enrich the foodways of Southern Appalachia.