Meet the Chef: An Interview with Ryan Ratino of Bresca

At D’Artagnan we celebrate with our chefs when they receive accolades. Recently we were delighted to congratulate Ryan Ratino, the chef/owner of Bresca in Washington, D.C. on his first Michelin star.

Read on for more about this young chef and his imaginative menu, including a pressed duck dish. That’s right, Ariane’s antique duck press has been on loan to Bresca, where Chef Ryan has developed his own whimsical take on the French haute cuisine canard à la presse.  Don’s miss the stunning video of his process at the bottom of this post. 

The Rise of a Star

Chef Ryan began his culinary career with a degree from Le Cordon Bleu, and jobs at Bluezoo and Bull and Bear in Orlando, FL, before making his way to New York City where he worked at illustrious restaurants such as Caviar Russe, WD-50, and Dove Tail. His move to D.C. brought him into the kitchens of Masa 14 and Mini Bar by Jose Andres, and he also helmed Ripple, which closed after 7 years in June of 2017.

When Ryan opened Bresca – his first restaurant – in September of 2017 he described his cooking style as “bistronomy” (bistro + gastronomy) referring to a French culinary movement that takes a casual and experimental approach to classic European cooking techniques, creating approachable menus with a focus on sustainability and sourcing from small farms.

Bresca Interior with Living Wall
The colorful dining room at Bresca with a living moss wall. Photo: Rey Lopez

He immediately began winning awards; in 2017 he was named a Rising Culinary Star by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington and made the DC Refined 34 Under 34 list. And then the Michelin star was announced in September of 2018.

Ryan Ratino Michelin Star.jpg
Photo from the Bresca Instagram feed.

We asked Ryan a few questions to get to know him better.

What was the first kitchen job you held?

My first kitchen job was being a sandwich prep at Panera.

Has any crazy stuff happened during your time in the kitchen? What takes the gold medal?

I don’t have anything really crazy.  We used to have a chicken foot handing from our kitchen since the day we opened and it mysteriously disappeared.  But I guess that is not that crazy, isn’t it?

Ariane with Ryan Ratino at Bresca DC.jpg
Ariane recently had dinner at Bresca and visited Ryan and her duck press.

Favorite music to work to in the kitchen?

Classic rock or old-school hip hop.

What’s your favorite meal to cook at home?

I honestly don’t cook the same dish twice. I am always cooking with seasonal ingredients  – what I find at the fresh farm market.  If I am given the choice to pick my meal, I would go back to my Italian roots and choose a pasta …you can never go wrong with a good pasta … And you can be sure that if I spot foie gras somewhere on a menu, I’ll be sure to order that.

What is your favorite D’Artagnan product?

Rohan duck! 

Name one ingredient you can’t live without.

Foie gras.

Weirdest / most interesting ingredient you’ve ever cooked with?

One day I would like to experiment with camel – it is such a lean meat and interesting texture.

What is your fondest food memory?

Pasta. Any and all pasta. I love to experiment with pasta – the Sea Urchin Linguini has become a favorite at Bresca.

If you could share a meal with anyone, who would it be? What would you eat?

Thomas Keller.  I am not sure what would be the ideal meal for this occasion.  Would absolutely welcome the opportunity to cook this meal together with him.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

Professional baseball player.

Thank you, Ryan, for chatting with us. And warmest congratulations to the whole team at Bresca from all of us at D’Artagnan!

As promised, here’s the mesmerizing video from Bresca of the duck press in action.

Hungry for more? Head to the Bresca website and follow Bresca on Instagram and Facebook.  Chef Ryan can also be found on Instagram.

Since 1985, D’Artagnan has been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, producing superior tasting products by partnering with small ranches and farms. We are committed to free-range, natural production, sustainable and humane farming practices and no use of antibiotics or hormones. That’s why D’Artagnan products have been revered by America’s most renowned chefs for over 30 years. We offer the same high-quality products to home cooks at, along with recipes and guides to help you live the tasty life.

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