Working his way up in the chef’s world, Ryan has honed his skills through a diverse and dynamic culinary career that has taken him from Singapore to California and back, where he currently leads the restaurant at Marcy’s, a seafood bistro known for its refined seafood creations with bold flavours that echos Ryan’s training in both French & Japanese.
While it was always Ryan’s ambition to work in the fine dining sector, he believes in the importance of cooking food that brings happiness, rather than succumbing to ego-driven motivations; And that choosing to work in a kitchen with a supportive team is the best way to start; Finding a kitchen with a chef that is willing to go down to their staff’s level to guide and help them is more beneficial in the long run.
Ryan’s culinary journey unknowingly began at the age of 17; Studying design and working alongside in an internship, Ryan also took on a part-time work on top as waiter at a now defunct Chic ‘Thai’ restaurant, Per Se Bar and Kitchen in Singapore. He unexpectedly found himself thrust and thrown into the deep end of the kitchen, running in and out, serving customers, preparing food and washing dishes; All that during a chaotic shift when the Chef decided to walk out because of a dispute.
Despite the initial challenges, Ryan discovered a sense of calm amidst the chaos and ignited his passion for cooking. This experience inspired him to pursue formal culinary training while working full-time in a kitchen across California.
Throughout his career, Ryan has had the privilege of learning from esteemed mentors who have shaped his culinary philosophy. Chef Isaac Miller from Maven restaurant, whom Ryan holds dear as one of his favourite mentors, instilled in him the importance of not being afraid of utilising unconventional ingredients and finding beauty in “ugly produce.”
Ryan also gained valuable experience working under the tutelage of MasterChef Koike San from Sushi Koike, an Edomae sushi restaurant, where he learned the art of washing rice and handling seafood with extreme sensitivity and care.
Inside the kitchen
As a Head Chef, Ryan understands the importance of fostering a positive work environment in his kitchen. He places great value on his team of four kitchen staff immensely, recognizing the rarity of sincere cooks who are eager to learn and grow together. Ryan believes that setting the right vibe and tone in the kitchen and treating his team with respect, fairness, and kindness is crucial in setting the tone for the kitchen and ensuring the success of the team. His leadership style has resulted in a cohesive team that has remained loyal and has grown together under his guidance.
Among the culinary delights at Marcy’s, one of the most popular dishes is Amberjack with fish sauce and vinaigrette, showcasing Ryan’s culinary prowess and creativity..
With all his experience so far, what are His words of wisdom to fellow chefs?
“Be open to any and everything. Be experimental. Be honest. And ask a sh*t tonne of questions. There is no right or wrong. Chefs work in a high-pressure environment and managing mental well-being is so important.”