Knives & Needles with Ryan Zale
By Molly Kitamura
Ryan Zale is a very talented chef. He also loves tattoos! I got Ryan to write some stuff about himself the other day. Continue reading and see what makes this amazing chef tick! Plus he has a terrific recipe at the end…. A serious must try!
I am the Executive Chef at the Local Chop and Grill House in Harrisonburg VA. I work hard and play hard, haha. I love disc golf, gardening, home brewing, eating weird stuff and the Pittsburgh steelers. I grew up on a dairy farm in Ohio so fell in love with farm concept early on. My grandmother and mom were good cooks, so I learned a lot from them, but there always something about food that gave my pleasure in life, so I cooked a lot on my own.
Experimenting, trying different flavor profiles, cooking for friends late-night wasted, that kinda of stuff. I went on to culinary school right out of high school knowing I wanted explore this crazy lifestyle. I really enjoy the snout to tail concept, utilizing the entire animal. Butchering is great, and the farm to table concept is what I’m really into. My first tattoo is terrible, I was 15 and it’s a stupid tribal piece with an eye ball in the middle of it. I love the creative side of artists, the passion they have. I think it makes are industry very similar, they get a human I get an animal and we transform it into something beautiful. As for tattoo artists, Andrew Connor is my favorite artist. He’s local and he’s vegan so its fun when he comes in to dine with us
I get to run around and make him vegan coursed meals on the fly. I don’t really read any tattoo magazines usually just cook books and food related magazines. The next tattoo I’m getting will be a Tablespoon Teaspoon measuring on the palm of my hand, I thought it makes sense! Because this a crazy industry, and you have be little nuts to do what we do for years, and inking yourself up kinda all goes as one. But tattooing and cooking are both forms of art so theirs that tie together as well.
What Chef doesn’t want a pig tattoo on them, haha. And I have never lost a job because of having them. As for future tattoos, I’d stick with Andrew Connor. He’s a friend we have a lot in common and I feel confident with his ability’s, he’s amazing!! A dream afternoon would be me, a BBQ suckling pig, glass of whiskey and watching the Rolling Stones play in my back yard.
Any advise for novice chefs?
Yeah don’t cut yourself, hahaha.
Peppered fried Local chicken livers with truffled ale mustard, fennel celery seed slaw with cayenne, cilantro puree and fennel fronds
3 each bulbs fennel, reserve the tops for garnish
2 each red pepper
1 each English cucumber
1/2 head green cabbage all julienne
1 bunch cilantro, rough chop
2 each lemon, juiced and zest
2 T celery seed
1 cup mayo
1T cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup whole grain mustard
1 cup Dijon mustard
2 T truffle oil
1 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Chicken liver dredge
Bread flour and lots of cracked black pepper
Soak the livers in buttermilk, heat fryer oil to 350 degrees, fry for 3 minutes and until golden brown.
Thank you Ryan!
You can catch more of Ryan on his IG, @ryanzale
If you are a tattooed chef or foodie tattooer and want to show off your skills, contact us- we would love to feature you!
firstname.lastname@example.org or @knivesandneedles
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