Introducing New Head Chef Ryan Brown
Talking ingredients, inspirations and the Annabel's dining experience
Born and raised in Quebec, Canada, Ryan grew up in a home that celebrated cooking and creativity. Starting his career at age 14, he quickly discovered his passion for life behind the stove working at a friend’s family restaurant. Ryan graduated from the Stratford Chefs School in Ontario, Canada in 2006 at age 19, and then began his apprenticeship which took him throughout Europe and Asia.
Focused and disciplined, Ryan has worked with some of the world’s greatest and most influential chefs. He worked with Thomas Keller at Bouchon, in Napa Valley, California as well as Mauro Colagreco at the Mirazur in Menton, France. He ran his first kitchen brigade in St Germain des Pres, Paris at the age of 25 and developed his passion for France and it’s ingredients as a private chef in Provence.
An ancestor of British descent, Ryan arrived in London to work his way through the ranks at l’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, absorbing a passion for finesse and attention to detail to a Michelin standard. He was then challenged in a new role as Sous Chef at one of London’s most anticipated openings: Oblix in the Shard. Working alongside Fabien Beaufour, Ryan’s talents saw his rise to head chef, clasping the reins of one of the Capital’s most visited restaurants.
Out of the kitchen Ryan has spent time discovering the secrets behind everyday ingredients by traveling and living on farms across Europe. Inspired by traditional European cuisine, Ryan enjoys putting his mark on the classics and using internationally sourced ingredients. He is a chef who celebrates the simple treatment of quality products, and is now excited to be sharing his passion and creativity with the membership of Annabel’s.
Having started at Annabel's earlier this year, we took the time sit with Ryan and get to know him a better with a Q&A:
Where do you go for inspiration for your food?
~ I have an extensive collection of cookbooks at home which I find myself surrounded by for hours on end in search of inspiration. It’s amazing how you notice different recipes or elements each time you flip through. I find Instagram to be a great tool as well to see what other chefs are doing with ingredients at any given moment and how they celebrate what’s available as the seasons change.
How would you describe the typical Annabel’s menu?
~ For decades the Annabel’s menu has been in a constant state of evolution to adapt to trends in dining style, and I believe the menu should best represent the current charisma of food culture. This said I feel that there will always be a place on the menu for the more simple and traditional dishes; which, when executed well, will always have their place at Annabel’s.
What best sums up the Annabel’s experience?
~ The Annabel’s experience is one of comfort and elegance. You feel relaxed in its surroundings and at ease while you enjoy everything we have to offer. The Club has a warm and magical feel to it that makes you forget where you are until you climb the steps back up to the reality that awaits on street level.
Which ingredient when cooking do you find the most surprising?
~ I am always surprised by the effects of salt. Salt enhances the flavour of a dish and can change the way we perceive its flavour altogether. It slows the action of yeast in bread and draws moisture out of cuts of meat and fish in charcuterie and smoked fish etc. We use it in brines to control moisture loss and infuse flavour into salt beef and honey roast ham. Salt is by far the most effective ingredient employed in the kitchen and the one used most widely, even in pastry.
What are you most excited about in London at the moment?
~ I am very excited to be a part of a new generation of chefs who are defining their own boundaries in the kitchen. There are fewer “rules” in kitchens now than ever and you can feel the energy in the restaurants across the city of chefs who are eager to celebrate and showcase the relationship they have with food without having to adhere to a particular style. There are a lot of great restaurants popping up in London run by young chefs who used to work for more iconic chefs can cook what they want and build a reputation for themselves.