It is not unusual for Chefs to change restaurants for whatever reason, no so much here at Kitchen on San Marco. Chef Ryan Randolph has been here since opening, serving up all the great food we have become accustomed to and presenting new dishes that wow us. He was kind enough to spend some time to give us a little insight into his Chef life.
Tell us about yourself?
I moved here from Tennessee, where I worked in private restaurants. I also lived and worked in Texas and other parts of the South West, then moved here to open KOSM since it began two years ago.
When did you decide on a career in the food industry?
I have been in the industry for the last fifteen years. It was one of those things, when I was in college it dawned on me that this was what I wanted to do.
How long have you been cooking professionally?
I would have to say ten years.
Where did you train to cook?
I went to the Art Institute in Huston, Texas, but the majority of my training came from working with some outstanding chefs. I was fortunate to work in some great restaurants and absorbed as much knowledge as I could.
How would you explain your style of cooking?
Being from the South I have a passion for all things Southern, but there is nothing to surpass the French technique. I believe everyone needs to have that foundation to build on.
Do you have a signature dish or a favorite dish you enjoy cooking?
I love doing whole fish; we are doing a Yellowtail now that is insane, just bringing out the entire fish is impressive.
What types of food do is served at KOSM?
We stick with a Southern aspect; I may be a little pork heavy at times, and other than that the beauty of fresh seafood is my choice.
How long did it take you to develop the menu?
I was here about eight weeks before opening meeting with vendors and staff. It has gotten easier after getting to know the community and what they want to eat.
Where do you get the recipes?
When you work in other restaurants, it is not uncommon to take something away. I would never want to duplicate something I had done in another restaurant, and even if it were my own, I would want to revamp it.
Does the menu changed, seasonally or remain the same?
Yes for sure depending what our farmers are supplying, plus we run features during the week for lunch and dinner as well.
What is the most popular dish on the menu?
Right now it would have to be the Octopus.
Any hidden gems that people overlook?
The Pickled Shrimp Toast, we opened with this, and it was a hit, we took it off the menu to tweak it around a bit. It’s almost like a poached shrimp and has a beautiful tangy flavor.
What can you recommend for someone new to your restaurant?
For sure it would be the Octopus, but we do have a few items that have been on the menu since the beginning; the Roasted Beet Salad, Candied Bacon, right now we have fresh Oysters with Ramp Butter. I bought enough ramps to hold us over, but once it’s gone, we will have a new dish.
What can you recommend for someone looking for something more adventurous?
Currently, we are offering our Chefs Cut Steak, which will be different cuts to get people familiar with other cuts. Pork Shank on the bone is another featured dish not usually seen on the menu. It is cast iron seared and finish it in the oven, served with Corn Meal Pancakes, this is very popular now.
Have the tastes of the customers changed during your career?
I don’t think the tastes have changed; I do believe that they are more aware of what they want in food, it’s no longer just meat and potatoes
Has the proliferation of cooking shows been good or bad for the industry?
I think both, it brings people out to try new foods, but then there is the downside where there is the aspect of oh anybody can do this. That is not true.
In your restaurant, who would be your “ideal customer?”
Someone who comes in open-minded, who wants to have fun, and enjoy the meal. It matters not if you are alone or with a group, I just want them to come in have a great dinner and enjoy themselves.
What’s your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I knew nothing about the area when I arrived, now the growth of new restaurants has been incredible, we have new clients as well as our regulars who have been with us since the beginning.
If you weren’t cooking for a living what would you be doing?
I have no idea. I probably would have stayed in school and finished my degree in archeology.
Death Row meal?
I have to go with some sort of Pate or Tureen a glass of Rose and a crusty piece of bread.