Meet Chef William Ryan of Hawks Cay

Hawks Cay Resort and Marina recently launched their new waterfront Bar and Restaurant the “Anger and Ale”. With a coastal Florida Keys inspired design, The Angler and Ale offers a menu with all the Florida Keys classics with a twist inspired by Chef Executive Chef William Ryan. They offer some delicious cocktails and have an impressive list of craft brews, to include their own Angler’s Ale Brew.

Hawks Cay Angler 1

Waterfront Dining

Chef Ryan1Islamorada Times recently sat down with Chef William Ryan to get to meet him up close and personal.

Islamorada Times–Where did you grow up and did your upbringing have any influences on you becoming a chef?

Chef William Ryan–I grew up everywhere. I was born in Ohio and grew up in Michigan. I’ve lived in New Jersey, upstate New York, Vermont, St. Lucia and more, and now I’m in Florida.

IT–At what age did you know you wanted to become a chef?

CWR–At 15 I worked in a Greek restaurant, and at 16 I started cooking.

IT–Tell us about any schooling, on the job training, and the different positions you have had in your career?

CWR–When I was in New Jersey, I worked in a restaurant, and I was excited about the action and running around, and it’s the only thing I’ve ever done because I love it. I’ve done it all following culinary school, working in a large hotel, being a pastry chef, a banquet chef and more. I’ve worked all positions in the kitchen.

IT–What are the things that influence your style of cooking?

CWR–Having worked in the Caribbean for six years, I have some Caribbean influences. I was really inspired by the use of local products, local fish, local fruits and vegetables. I honed this especially in St. Lucia since importing products is very expensive.

Hawks Cay Angler 3 Tuna nachos

Tuna Nachos

IT–What are some of your top ingredients, those that are must haves in your kitchen at all times??

CWR–Scallops. I love scallops. Especially dry scallops and diver scallops, which you dive to pick and hand harvest. There’s nothing like scallops with a good wine.

IT–Do you have a signature dish or dishes you would like to highlight, if so, where did the inspiration come from?

CWR–My award-winning Cranberry Ginger Scallops:  seared scallops with candied ginger and cranberry sauce. The inspiration came from loving the cranberry season in Nantucket.

IT–When you choose to dine out yourself, what type of cuisine do you enjoy?

CWR–I really enjoy fine dining when eating out. I like eating at restaurants by chefs like Charlie Trotter, Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse, as most people don’t cook that kind of food. High-end French cuisine is generally what I enjoy. I went to New York recently and we ate at Benoit, and there were 28 different kinds of water, and then the cheese course came out, and there were 100 different cheeses from all over the world. And before the dinner, we all sat in a room and enjoyed Champagne while we looked at photos of Alain Ducasse over the years. It’s an amazing experience.

IT–What can we expect to see you cooking at home? Any specialties that we won’t see at your restaurant?

CWR–At home, I like to make burritos of braised pork with rice and beans. I put them in the refrigerator so after a day at work; I can just pop them in and heat them up.

IT–What do you consider to be comfort food?

CWR–My favorite comfort food is chicken pot pie.

IT–What is your wine preference? Any favorites you would like to recommend?

CWR–My favorite wine is a Chardonnay from Far Niente Winery in Napa Valley.

IT–What do you like to do in your free time?

CWR–I like to go out on my boat and fish, go for a ride on my motorcycle, and go scuba diving and snorkeling. I also like to golf.

IT–Any final thoughts?

CWR–Our signature dish at Angler & Ale – the whole roasted snapper. We bring in two pounds of snapper and serve it with this sweet chili sauce, and people just love it. You have to try it if you come in.

Hawks Cay Resort

Hawks Cay Resort and Marina