Part two: Pete Ryan on cock's comb, Ron Burgundy and cheesy love songs
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
1937 Market Street
This is part two of Lori Midson's Chef and Tell interview with Pete Ryan. To read part one of that interview, click here.
Proudest moment as a chef: Returning to Cook Street as their executive chef instructor and being recruited to do so by my mentor, friend and former colleague, chef Michael Comstedt. I worked for Michael for nine years, and then he pushed me to come back and drive the bus. And you know what? It was like getting the pope's blessing.
Best food city in America: I love going to San Francisco -- to the markets, to the wharf, to Chez Panisse, to pig out at the hole-in the-wall dives. It helps that the wine country is so close by, too, and the cold water of the Pacific has tremendous fish and oysters, and the sourdough bread is amazing. Need I say more?
Favorite restaurant in the world: Chez Bruno in Provence. It's owned by this really nice guy, a local celeb named Bruno -- he's massive, has these huge bear claw hands and is built like a brick shithouse -- who's known for using foie gras and black truffles in everything. Seriously, everything. The restaurant is almost like a little chateau off the beaten path, and I'd just pig out every time I went there. That said, my favorite place to eat is in my back yard -- but with someone else cooking.
Most embarrassing moment in the kitchen: I was working at a nursing home when I was sixteen, and we were doing some serious deep-cleaning when someone noticed the most disgusting shriveled up old hot dog just festering on the floor. I made five bucks for eating it, but I never lived it down and I was sick for a week.
Favorite music to cook by: Anything from the cheesy '70s love-songs era, and if you know the words, you've got to sing along, because it'll will make you cook better. A close second is Hall and Oates, Gwen Stefani or crappy '80s hair bands.
Favorite dish to cook at home: I love cooking braises, stews and ragouts at my house in the fall and wintertime, because the house smells of meat, herbs and booze, all of which makes for good sleeping.
Favorite dish on your menu: The one in front of me. Seriously, we change our lesson every day, so we cook different dishes every day. Today it might be sole en papillote, tomorrow braised beef in Barolo. I can't wait till next week.