Patrick Ryan interview, Part 2: Loving hot sauce and banning floppy chef hats

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Chef Ryan is ready to open Port Fonda.
  • Chef Ryan is ready to open Port Fonda.

Yesterday, chef Patrick Ryan talked about his start in the kitchen and the decision to launch Port Fonda (click here for the interview). Today, he answers a series of rapid-fire questions about what's filling his pan, fridge and mind.

What are your culinary inspirations? For people, it's Rick

Bayless and Paul Kahan. For places, it's regional Mexican and the

Midwestern United States. As for others, it's Eater and The New York Times food section.

One food you love? Most everything from the American picnic-food genre.

One food you hate? Raw mushrooms.

Most overrated ingredient? Truffle oil.

Most undervalued ingredient?
Tomatillo.

Best recent food find? Christopher Elbow Venezuelan Hot Chocolate.

Favorite local ingredient? The varieties of radishes from Crum's Heirlooms and the Boulevard Smokestack Series.

What are the rules of conduct in your kitchen? As long as things are happening the way they need to, I don't really care. Most are appearance-based. No black chef coats. No combat boots. No Zubaz, Chefware patterned baggy pants. No floppy chef hats.

What was your worst moment in the kitchen?
I wouldn't narrow it down to a single moment. Sometimes cooking in a shitty restaurant becomes a series of worst moments.

What's never in your kitchen?
Fake butter.

What's always in your kitchen?
Our dog. Good coffee -- Oddly Correct, Broadway, Intelligentsia -- and Farm to Market Grains Galore and half loaves.

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
The boring stuff is Shatto milk and whatever pulp-free orange juice is on sale. The not-as-boring? Hot sauce, El Yucateco and Tamazula Extra Hot and Wilkin & Sons Tiptree Jam, usually green fig.

Late night, where are you eating and drinking? I like stopping by the Rieger for a late snack, and there is always plenty of wine at my house.

What dish would you make to woo a woman? My wife loves tacos al pastor.

How would you change kids' menus? Kids don't know what kids' menus are until a parent orders off of one.

One book that every chef should read? It depends on what they're into cooking. For what I like to cook, I'd recommend Rick Bayless' Mexican Kitchen, Susan Trilling's Seasons of My Heart, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's The River Cottage series, Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers' The River Cafe series, and Stephane Reynaud's Pork and Sons.

What would you like to see more of in Kansas City? Bars with very good food.

Who's got the best barbecue in town, and what are you ordering? I'm an Oklahoma Joe's fan; sandwiches and sides.

A chef is only as good as ... the public's perception.

In Part 3 tomorrow, Ryan will talk about the plans for the inside of the Airstream trailer and the food that Port Fonda will serve.  

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