You could definitely call him a rising star. In the hustling culinary scene that makes up the relatively small mountain town of Banff, Alberta, few young chefs have risen as quickly as David Ryc, the Head Chef at Farm & Fire.
Ryc's roots in cooking go way back to his childhood. He started working in restaurants in his early teens, and as he matured through high school, he realized just how much he loved the culinary scene. Back then, though, he probably couldn't have imagined the journey this career would take him on over the next ten years.
Since moving to Alberta from Burlington, Ontario (where he graduated from the prestigious culinary school at Humber College in 2009 and worked at Black Tree restaurant for 3.5 years) to apprentice at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Ryc has moved from a second cook to sous chef to chef de cuisine and executive chef. Clearly showing signs of ambition, in 2016 he entered the Chain de Rostiseur cooking competition for young chefs and placed third in Canada.
Another prestigious highlight was a stage (or internship) at Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant often celebrated as the best restaurant in the world.
"That definitely taught me a lot," he remembers. "It brought things to a new level for me. It helped me understand the dedication you need to put into a restaurant. I saw from the best just how hard a chef can work to achieve their goals. It opened my eyes to how much more I can improve."
Even with the exposure to some of the most highly-respected chefs and some high-dining institutions, Ryc is dedicated to keeping his cooking style simple and his food approachable. The opportunity to run the bustling kitchen at Farm & Fire is a welcoming next big step for Ryc.
"It's a big challenge and involves a new level of leadership for me," he says. "I'm super eager."
The Farm & Fire menu suits Ryc's personal style well, and he says it also helps express how much he loves living and working here in the Canadian Rockies. From rotisserie chicken to flatbreads prepared in a wood-fired oven, the food here is flavourful and yet simple.
"For me, cooking over fire is the best way to cook," he says. "It just makes the flavour better."
"For me, cooking over fire is the best way to cook."
-Chef David Ryc