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October 19, 2015

Warrenton native Ryan Ross wins on ‘Chopped’

Contributed Photos
After gigs in New York and Nicaragua, Ryan Ross works as a private chef in the Pacific Northwest and does consulting.
I am inspired by my surroundings and am influenced by my fellow chefs out there cooking real food, from their local farms and purveyors, close to the earth.
— Ryan Ross
Wednesday morning update: In case you missed it, Ms. Ross won Tuesday night’s competition and its $10,000 prize. She plans to invest the money in her Supper Corps dining club.

We hope to talk with her and to provide more details about the victory over three other chefs on the Food Network reality show Chopped.

• • • •

A Warrenton native will compete on a Food Network reality show Tuesday night.

Ryan Ross, 30, and three other chefs will vie for $10,000 on Chopped at 10 p.m. Oct. 20.

The show unfolds in three rounds: Appetizer, Entrée and Dessert, with each chef getting a basket of ingredients — frequently things one normally wouldn’t put together in one dish — and access to a pantry. After each round, the three judges select one chef to be “chopped” — eliminated.

That leaves two competitors for the final round.

As a child, Ms. Ross hung around The Natural Marketplace, her mother Shelly’s food shop in Old Town Warrenton.

“I never taught her to cook, because I was a busy single mom, running a business,” Mrs. Ross said with a laugh Monday. “But, she amazes me. She doesn’t look up recipes. They just come out of her head and heart, really.”

After graduating from Highland School in Warrenton in 2003, Ms. Ross earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from Hollins College (2007) and moved to New York. In the city, she performed with The Dance Cartel and other companies but grew more interested in food.

She studied at Annemarie Colbin’s Natural Gourmet Institute.

In New York, Ms. Ross served three years as the chef of the Penington Friends House, a multigenerational, multicultural community in Union Square. There she prepared regular dinners for 30-something housemates from all walks of life, in a family-style setting.

She then went to Nicaragua’s Little Corn Island, where she served as chef and consultant for the opening of the Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa. She designed menus catering to specialty diets, cleanses and spa services, and hired and trained local chefs in plant-based cooking. Ms. Ross worked with a permaculturist to create a sustainable garden that supplied the hotel with its food.

Then she and her finance Casey Rigney moved to Washington state. Ms. Ryan serves as a private chef for clients from Seattle to Vancouver, often creating big parties. She frequently hosts Supper Corps, a recurring community dining experience she created to celebrate cooking creatively, support local business, and foster community. The dinners, which seat up to 40 people, often take place in unlikely places, such as a barn or a butcher shop, with a rotating staff of food lovers, artists and talented locals.

“I love to cook bright and festive dishes for a food-loving crowd,” Ms. Ross said. “I am inspired by my surroundings and am influenced by my fellow chefs out there cooking real food, from their local farms and purveyors, close to the earth.

“Food is meant to be beautiful, healing, delicious and shared.”

Ms. Ross competes on a Chopped episode titled, “Light Makes Right.”

The Food Network provided this description of the previously recorded show, about which Ms. Ross cannot speak until it airs:

“In this special competition, the baskets are packed with healthy ingredients, from which the chefs will be creating delicious dishes that also happen to be nutritious and moderate in calories.

“In the first round, the judges are impressed by the fish dishes that the lean, mean competitors prepare. Then in the entree round, some heat in the basket helps the chefs add flavor without adding fat.

“Will the finalists be able to make yummy desserts that include green smoothies and rice crackers?

“Judges: Rocco DiSpirito, Amanda Freitag, Marc Murphy.”

Warrenton attorney Tom Ross is the chef’s father; local Realtor Tyler Ross is her brother.

The show will appear on:

• DirecTV channel 231.

• DishTV channel 110.

• Comcast channel 56.

Additional links:

> Chef Ryan Ross on Facebook.

> On KitchenSurfing.

> On Allgood Provisions.

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Janet Gardner White · October 20, 2015 at 11:02 pm
She won!
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