Working in the kitchen has been an adventure for Ryan Kaston. The 32-year-old chef, whose resume includes stints at LockKeepers, Moxie the Restaurant and Red, the Steakhouse, was ready for more excitement: ownership. So while working at Bistro 185 for chef and owner Ruth Levine, he learned she was looking to retire. In October, Levine and her husband sold the popular 10-year-old Collinwood spot, which focuses on locally sourced ingredients, to Kaston. He chats with us about his inspiration and what we can expect with him at the helm.
Q: What’s your philosophy toward food and dining?
A: I’m aware of what’s around — in season. There’s different things out there, there’s different berries, fruits, bark, even pieces of trees — things that just walking through the woods when you were a kid could be used. Even in the Collinwood area, in our backyard, there’s a ton of pear and cherry trees, apple trees. It benefits me and benefits the menu.
Q: What kind of changes do you plan to make?
A: We haven’t made too many changes. The menu is going to continue to change and change seasonally. It may be more of a determined seasonal menu, rather than a change every week or so like we were doing. I’m going to start setting out new menus for the wintertime, and then we’ll continue to do some for spring and summer.
Q: What’s your favorite dish on the menu?
A: The cornflake and pistachio veal Bolognese. It’s a pounded-out veal chop, extremely thin and it’s pan-fried. It’s fun to me. It was a spontaneous use of cornflakes and pistachios.
Q: What was the best advice Ruth gave you?
A: Ruth’s a funny person. I don’t know if I can say some of those! Just to keep on pushing. To understand why you’re in the business and to keep going forward. Don’t let the business swallow you up. That was probably the best advice that she gave me.