Name: Ryan Manning
Certification: Certified Culinarian
Present Employment: Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes – Highball & Harvest
Previous Employment: Walt Disney World – Flying Fish Café
Special Awards: Achievement in Culinary Excellence 2015 – ACF Central Florida Chapter, Chef Rôtisseur – La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs
Schooling/Training: American Culinary Federation Apprenticeship Program – Colonial Williamsburg Hotels / J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Culinary Program
Mentor Chefs: Rhys Lewis (CW), David Serus (RC), Justin Addision(CW), Travis Brust (CW), Hans Schadler (CW)
How did these Chefs impact your career? My mentors have shared their experiences with me, and have taught me different ways to better myself as a leader and chef, they each have shared their business perspectives of their operations which have lead me to be the chef I am today.
What are your favorite dishes to prepare? I love getting back to my roots with some good hearty German food. I enjoy cooking Rouladen and Spätzle especially on a cold day (not that we have many of those in Florida).
What are your favorite foods to eat? Authentic Mexican Tacos – like Tacos Pibil or Tacos Árabes
What is your favorite cookbook? Not really a cookbook but I love to reference the books: “The Flavor Bible” and “What to Drink with What You Eat” – both are great resources while writing a menu.
Ingredients you could not live without? Mustards (all types), lemons/limes, butter, and cream
What gives you pleasure on the job every day? Helping others to learn and grow. It is exciting to be able to be the one to provide educational opportunities (both in the operation and through field trips). I grew so much from these experiences myself and so it is nice to be able to take the time and give these opportunities to others with the same passion.
What was your worst disaster in the kitchen? A few years ago, I was working in a kitchen as the Sous Chef when we had a fully committed dining room and a wine event in our private dining space. As the second course of the wine dinner was being prepared a fire broke out in the kitchen causing everything to come to a stop.
How did you turn it around? We had to rebound after the sprinkler system was turned off and continue to serve all of the guests (some has a modified menu). I was soaking wet for the rest of the night but had to work with the other chef to hold the team together and keep a positive energy. We got support from the other hotel restaurant chefs and really came together as a culinary team. It was challenging but an amazing learning experience.
What advice do you have for new Culinarians? Look beyond your own kitchen. I was once told by a chef there is always someone better then you out there. It was great advice, not meant to get you down but rather to give you drive. Learn and grow constantly, volunteer, and stage whenever you can. You will never know everything and there will always be someone “better” who you might have to compete with for that job/promotion you want.