20 Questions with Chef Ryan Flaherty

Ryan Flaherty is the newly-appointed Executive Chef of the fine-dining restaurant on Level 3 of the Club Stand, The Byerley. Given the highly innovative fare that Chef Flaherty creates and serves with a team of culinary wizards by his side, we asked him about his history, his food philosophies, and where he draws his inspiration.

1. When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
I’d always had an unconscious connection with the kitchen but I left school at 15 and my mum said get a job go to school or live on the street , so I started as a kitchen hand in a Mexican restaurant as an apprentice and fell in love with it from there.

2. What do you miss most about living in Spain?
I miss speaking another language, it was something I feel very lucky to have learnt as I never thought I could or would, and I don’t get the opportunity much here.

3. What is the most important lesson cooking has taught you?

4. How would your friends describe you in three words?
Thoughtful, complicated, fun

5. What does your family mean to you?
It’s meaning more and more as I mature, I had a distant relationship with them through my early career and missed the connections very much and am now happy to have rebuilt them and cherish them.

6. Who is the one chef living or dead that you wish you could cook with?
Nico Ladenis, his book My Gastronomy is one of my favourites and his stubborn drive and perfectionism I admired mixed with a funny blunt way, though now retired and living in the south of France he would be amazing to spend an afternoon reflecting and storytelling with in the kitchen.

7. What’s the most treasured item in your kitchen?
Large chopping board I love the freedom I feel with it.

8. Where’s the most delicious place in the world?
For me San Sebastian, as I had the pleasure of living there and its culture, respect and enjoyment for food from the most simple dish was admirable.

9. What advice do you give to people who aren’t confident in the kitchen?
You learn through making mistakes, don’t be scared to mess up or fail just try to understand why to help your next endeavour.

10. What’s the most impressive dish you can throw together with 3 ingredients?
Steak, potato, rockette, it’s not much but done right with great quality ingredients it pure pleasure.

11. What’s the most unique and interesting ingredient in your arsenal?
Green ume syrup (syrup made from Japanese plums) I recommend everyone to find and own a bottle, aromatic sweet subtle.

12. What’s the best thing about being a chef?
The creative window, not sure of another job you get to provoke all 5 senses

13. What’s on your music playlist?
Lupe fiasco, Yelawolf, Temper trap, George Michael

14. What’s one thing you can’t live without?

15. What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Ask for help

16. What excites you most about working at The Byerley?
The support from a great team of chefs and the freedom around the menu.

17. What’s one thing you really want to achieve as Executive Chef?
Inspirational Continuity  

18. Which ingredient are you most looking forward to cooking with this Spring?
The Mayura station Wagyu beef, Sublime.

19. What can VRC members expect when dining at The Byerley?
Expect to make a day of it with a meal of refinement and fun with great produce in a beautiful exciting atmosphere.

20. Describe your vision for The Byerley in one word?
Fresh - in all meanings of the word.