Born and raised in Northern California, Chef Ryan Pollnow attended the School of Culinary Arts at SRJC in Sonoma County. He went on to further his education in Errenteria, Spain at restaurant Mugariz, recognized internationally with two Michelin stars and as one of Pellegrino’s ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants’. At Mugariz, he learned an appreciation for cuisine driven by vegetables, both cultivated and wild.
Ryan moved to San Francisco in 2006, where he worked as sous chef under Chef Randy Lewis at Mecca, which earned a three-star review from the Chronicle’s Michael Bauer. A move to Jackson Family Winery in Sonoma County allowed Ryan to again discover his love of agriculture, this time at home in the Bay Area. Here, working as sous chef, he was able to deepen his knowledge of the relationship between food and wine, while having a four-acre organic farm at his fingertips.
In 2010, Ryan returned to San Francisco to join Lauren Kiino and the growing Il Cane Rosso group as sous chef. In October of 2011, he embarked on a food tour of Northern Italy, a trip which inspired his current strong commitment to local foods, seasonality and simplicity in his cooking.
Chef Pollnow joined Ne Timeas Restaurant Group as chef de cuisine of Flour + Water in March of 2012. In 2013, he was promoted and named Chef at the company’s Central Kitchen, where he now focuses his talents on refined dishes highlighting the bounty of products Northern California has to offer.
When he’s not perfecting his craft, Ryan can be found enjoying the California outdoors, be it harvesting vegetables from Central Kitchen’s rooftop garden, mountain biking through the woods or enjoying winter on his snowboard.
KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
I am thrilled to be hosting a LIVE demo with Chef Ryan for CUESA and EAT DRINK SF. Please join us Saturday July 5th at 11am at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Market at the Ferry building.
And please lend your ears to the podcast for the story behind this young, brilliant chef at the helm at “Central Kitchen” in San Francisco.
Chef Pollnow’s Melon & Avocado Salad with Marinated Squid, Chili & Lime (credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)
Melon & Avocado Salad with Marinated Squid, Chili & Lime
4 cups mixed variety melons, medium diced
2 each ripe avocado
1/2 pound poached squid, see below
1/4 cup pickled melon rind, see below
8 large mint leaves
1/4 cup agromato lemon oil
Dress squid in chili-lime vinaigrette and allow to marinate for 30-45 minutes. Divide the melon and arrange on 4 chilled salad plates. Cut avocado into large wedge pieces and plate around melon. Drain any excess vinaigrette from squid and arrange around the melon. Garnish with pickled melon rind and torn mint leaves. Drizzle with agromato lemon oil.
For the pickled watermelon rind:
2 cups watermelon rind
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 cups water
2 cups rice wine vinegar
2 cups sugar
Peel the outer green layer of the watermelon rind and all red/pink flesh, leaving only the white rind.
In a medium bowl, mix the salt and water until the salt dissolves. Add the watermelon rind and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The following day: In a medium sauce pan, heat the vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the watermelon and add to the boiling vinegar. Lower the heat and cook for 35 to 40 minutes until translucent. Once cooked, chill the whole mixture together. Dice and reserve.
For the poached squid:
1/2 pound fresh monterey squid, cleaned and cut into 1/4 inch rings
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups riesling
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 red onion, diced large
1 slice fresh ginger
1 lemon, cut in half
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
In a medium sauce pan, bring the water, wine, garlic, onion, ginger, lemon and salt to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn down the heat and allow the broth to simmer for 10 minutes. Bring the mixture back to a boil. Submerge the squid and maintain a constant boil for 4 seconds. Remove squid to a tray and cool immediately under refrigeration.
For the chili-lime vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped mint
1 tsp. chili paste
Whisk all ingredients and reserve.
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