Chef Chat, Part 1: Ryan Pera of the Grove

Eating Our Words recently stalked Ryan Pera, executive chef of the Grove, while he was shopping for fruits at the market, and now we've decided to bombard him with some questions. Rumors cleared, history revealed, and kitchen help praised:

Eating Our Words: Could you give us a quick history of the culinary adventures of Ryan Pera?

Ryan Pera: I've been in the biz for 17 years, starting out as a dishwasher and line cook at the Old Spaghetti Factory in North Carolina. Back then it was all about paying bills and drinking beer. 422 West Italian Café is where I really began to take root as a chef. I washed dishes and steadily moved up to line chef, then sous. I'd just graduated college with an anthropology degree and decided to stay on the culinary route.

EOW: Where else have you been in the kitchen?

RP: I was the Poissioniere (that's "fish cook" in layman's terms) for Le Cirque in Manhattan, as well as a sous for AZ. I worked under Jonathon Waxman at Washington Park before moving to Houston and cooking for the Four Seasons as Chef Cuisine. The Grove offered me the reins three years ago, and I happily accepted.

EOW: Wow. Nice.

RP: I was lucky to be under Jonathon Waxman before he became so famous.

Stay tuned for part two of the interview, in which Eating Our Words asks Pera about a pesky little rumor...

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