Haters are going to hate you. That was Chef Ryan Rondeno’s reply when I asked what comes to mind when he hears the word, naysayers. He doesn’t strike me as the type of person that pays much attention to naysayers.
Like many highly successful people, Ryan is carving out his own path.
Born and raised in New Orleans he started working in restaurant kitchens in his teens. When he graduated from High School he moved on from his food service career and went to college to study Engineering. After one year Ryan decided to give up on engineering and instead to study culinary arts. Since then he has trained with numerous globally-renowned chefs including Emeril Lagasse and Mathais Wolfe. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Chef Rondeno moved to Atlanta where he continued to work for Emeril Lagasse.
In 2008 he made a bold decision and moved to Los Angeles, where he became a private chef for Will Smith and others. Ryan loved working for Will but also felt stifled. He was on a mission to blend the spicy flavours of creole cooking with LA’s healthier eating culture. It turns out that Will’s palette was not as adventurous as Ryan’s.
In July of 2014, Ryan founded Rondeno Culinary Designs. Today his entrepreneurial ventures include pop up restaurants, the Rondeno Spice Collection (Nola Creole Rub, Citrus Herb Rub, and Ancho-Chili BBQ Rub), and a gourmet meal prep service that combines New Orleans cuisine with grass-fed organic meats and locally-grown organic produce.
Ryan’s story is a great reminder that there are so many different ways to create a career that aligns with the things you care about. In this episode, we talk about his journey, the challenges he faced in starting his own business, and his vision for the future. Enjoy.