A Sweet Addition to the City’s Food Scene
The Omni’s new chef is raising the culinary bar for Nashville’s most popular events, hotel restaurants……. and even room service.
When thinking about preparing a meal for a group of more than 12 people, even the most confident cooks can get a little stressed. Trying to make sure everything comes out right and on time isn’t the easiest thing to balance when we are creating meals for friends and family over the holidays. Imagine if you were executing the same meal for say, 250 people? I can’t even imagine the concentration and planning that type of service requires. It takes a bit more than just skill. One person who knows how to bring it whether he’s cooking for his family at home or a huge wedding celebration for a few hundred is the Omni Nashville’s new chef, Ryker Brown.
Just arriving in Music City in time to prepare a full-scale Hawaiian Luau themed spread for the hotel’s annual Christmas party (including a whole spit-roasted pig, poke bar and shaved ice stations), Ryker is happy to share a bit about his approach and what keeps things moving in the kitchen. Hailing from an impressive role leading the team at the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, he’s quite a coupe for our Omni outpost and is ready to raise the bar on all things food for this downtown favorite. For starters, he is working on menus at both Kitchen Notes and Barlines as well as all of the room service within the hotel. That alone is quite a bit of action. He seems to take it in stride and admits that it’s all about the rhythm of his culinary team. The heartbeat of any food and beverage operation is the talent onboard, and he has big plans to cultivate those under his watch in Nashville. “My approach to food and the people working with me is to push boundaries, to empower people for more creativity and to grow their expertise, developing skills to a whole other level,” Ryker says. He loves the fact that the Omni group truly supports their culinary program, having just returned from the hotel groups 3-day culinary conference in Austin.
With the hotel hosting some of the most upscale and elite social and charity events in the area, he is looking forward to bringing fresh ideas and inventive menus to keep these events fresh. He feels just as enthusiastic about what his team creates for every individual hotel guest, as he demonstrated to us in the presidential suite with an amazing dessert spread. Why dessert? Well, one of the best indulgences when staying at the hotel is ordering late night sweet treats when returning from a night out downtown. Desserts are also a highlight at many gatherings, the ‘something to look forward to’ at the end of a meal as Ryker explains. From cheese and fruit plates to hand-crafted pastries, truffles and bon-bon style chocolates each of his offerings was as beautiful as it was delicious, which is the approach to every dish created in his kitchen.
So, what does Ryker eat when he’s not on the job? At home it revolves around his small children, with favorites like hamburgers and Mexican food. They also enjoy making hand-rolled fresh pasta together. One Ryker household signature and his daughter’s favorite is a unique creation they’ve termed ‘pickle bird’. It’s a fried chicken sandwich, where the poultry has actually been brined in pickle juice. That’s one recipe we hope to see on one of the Omni restaurant menus in the near future. It might just give Nashville Hot Chicken a little competition with Ryker’s creative take involved.