At this point, all you Top Chef fans probably know him as the guy who can't make Chicken Piccata. However you'd be wrong to dismiss him so quickly; Chef Ryan Scott is much more than that. We recently had a chance to talk to Ryan about his time on Top Chef, his departure from the popular Myth Cafe, and what life after Top Chef is like. To view our interview with Ryan, just read more.
YumSugar: You were almost a contestant last season, what made you come back for season four?
Ryan Scott: A telephone call. They actually asked me to try out for season four. You put a lot into trying out, it's a lot of work and takes a lot of time.
YS: So what did you do differently this year?
RS: Nothing, I think they just really wanted me. I pursued them as much as I did before, and I told them, "Hey, I want this really badly."
YS: Why did you want it so badly?
RS: It's an opportunity of a lifetime. Once you get into the game and you get close to getting on, you're so close, why wouldn't you do it? There are tens of thousands of people trying out, why wouldn't you go?
YS: So was it what you expected?
RS: The pressure is absolutely intense. Right off the bat you're going up against 15 other people. You're just blown away. The 100-k [prize money] is nothing after the first 10 minutes. You're there to compete because it's just an all-out war. It's an insane and intense atmosphere.
YS: OK, I have to ask, have you since perfected chicken piccata?
RS: [Laughs] You know, I can't stand the dish. Honestly though, it's the basics. I had the choice, but I went with piccata, and like Rocco [Dispirito] says, it's flour and egg. Top Chef is about applying your own version of things and it wasn't to their liking. You're feeding four palates who've eaten the best food all over the world, it's going to be difficult to please them.
YS: Are you worried about how you're going to be perceived?
RS: Wow. Good question. How'd Andrew answer that? [Laughs] I guess I don't care. I was myself. I'm trying not to read all the freaking blogs. People critiquing you who don't know you, or they know you and worked with you in the past. . . . I went in there and knew I was truly myself all the way through. Editing is a beautiful thing. One of the blogs said I was the bad guy. How in the hell did I come off as the bad guy?
YS: So what's next, we heard you're leaving Myth Cafe [Myth Cafe actually closed on Mar. 14] and will be opening up RyanScott 2Go.
RS: Right now I'm doing some consulting and speaking engagements. I'm visiting different high schools all next week.
I really love simple food and I have business partners here in [San Francisco]. We would love to do a little chain of Ryan Scott 2Go. Just quick easy meals, lunch type places.
YS: Would they be a bit like Myth Cafe?
RS: No. No seats, just a to-go window, out the door. Small places. We know what we want to do, it's just finding the right spot. Rent in the city is out of the world. It's all about numbers. The financial district is ideal, but we'll see what happens. We don't want to tie ourselves to a brand or location that we can't afford. We're still searching.
Top photo by Chris Andre
Bottom photo courtesy of Bravo