I am always curious about the people who cook my food. Are they happy, creative, do they dream of being a Top Chef, or are they just doing a job with little joy? Today that curiosity was satisfied when spoke with Executive Chef Ryan Moore, from Empire City Gastro Pub. I am pleased to share, he is a happy person, and as the Executive Chef, at one of Jacksonville’s newest hot spots, he has much to be pleased about.
When did you find an interest in cooking?
In the kitchen with my mom, when I was little my parents worked so much I would be in charge of cooking dinner. My mom told me I had to learn to cook my favorite dishes, so I did.
Where did you receive your training to become a chef?
Never went to cooking school. I learned everything on the job or from the other chefs. I paid attention, asked many questions, and just cooked. Getting in the kitchen was the necessity of needing a job, and found I loved everything about it, the heat, the high energy level, the stress, the hours.
Favorite kitchen equipment or gadget?
Oh man, I like crazy things, right now it’s a smoke gun; infuses intense smokey flavor into anything. Sous vide machine water bath is always fun, but my favorite is the grill. I cook at home as well and find grilling imparts the most flavor.
How do your come up with ideas for the dishes in your restaurant?
I create and make all changes to the menu, but it is a collaboration with the other chefs in the kitchen as well.
A most embarrassing kitchen moment?
Oh! Eleven South, I wanted to go home and cry. It was my second or third week working there and cooking blood orange Crème Brulee. I was pulling them out of the oven to check them and thought I had pulled the rack out with it but did not and when I let the tray go everything, hit the floor. The worst part, I did it twice, I had to make another batch so when I went to test them, they also went to the floor.
What foods do you least like to cook?
I am not a good baker; pastry is not my strong point.
If you were not cooking what would you be doing?
Probable construction, I have done that in the past; I like using my hands you build stuff then seeing it all come together. Much like cooking, developing dishes, cooking them then the plating.
Do you have any tips for budding chefs?
Watch and learn as much as possible, from where ever you can. My biggest piece of advice, keep your head down and work, don’t talk too much, ask questions if needed, and it you are done with your job, watch the people above you.
Coffee Seared Tuna