Ryan Peters is chef/owner of brunoise restaurant inside of Smallman Galley. This Sunday (May 27th) will be his last day there, culminating a year-long run in the incubator space.
While Ryan has been interviewed multiple times on a variety of platforms, it seemed to me that no one was asking the questions the people really wanted. So, I've gone ahead and done that for you.
A few words about Ryan Peters:
1) I saw him in a green shirt the other day, which was a little bit trippy. It may very well have been the only time I've seen him not in a white brunoise shirt.
2) Did you know that a "brunoise" is a culinary term meaning 1/8 inch dice? Ryan showed me how to do it one time. I wouldn't call it an easy cut, but I would advise being completely sober for the first try. It's ok, my fingernail grew back.
3) Ryan Peters is a delightful human being.
Tell me about a weird phase you’ve been through
The Picky Eater Phase. I was an extremely extremely extremely picky eater. My mother was a vegetarian, which influenced that a lot. I grew up not realizing that most people put meat in their lasagna, she would make it with just cheese so she could eat it too. Graduating high school I wouldn’t eat anything — I wouldn’t really eat vegetables, wouldn’t really eat anything, so getting out of that phase was a good thing.
Tell me about the first time you cooked for Caroline
I don’t know if I remember the first time, but probably the most memorable, the one that comes to mind — I made her Pasta Bolognese — fresh pasta, fresh Bolognese sauce, pretty simple, but that’s what I enjoyed cooking at home, so it was the best thing. She enjoyed it. She stuck with me so…
What’s the most terrible thing you’ve made recently?
How serious does this need to be? I didn’t technically make it, but I kinda did, and it was horrible...
A Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sandwich. I heated it up in the oven. I bought it from Gordon Food Services. I bought a case. I’ll give you one, you can have the rest of the case if you want it, they’re horrible. That was my breakfast yesterday morning here, it was horrible.
Why did you buy a whole case?
It sounded really good. I was drinking when I put my order in, and that came up as a featured item, so I bought it.
List five of your childhood favorite foods
1. Reese’s Puffs.
2. There was this really really gross — in hindsight now it was really gross, but at the time I thought it was delicious — it was a box mix that you buy, dehydrated shredded potatoes, with some gross gravy mixture, you just buy ham to go with it, it was like a ham and potato casserole. It was disgusting, but I really enjoyed it.
Did your mom make those, or did you eat them out?
She made them! She’s a weird vegetarian, she won’t touch raw meat, so she’d put on these big yellow rubber gloves to mix the meat.
4. Scrambled eggs
5. Wawa sandwiches.
Five of your current favorite foods
1. Scrambled eggs
3. A good burger, emphasis on good.
5. Chocolate ice cream
If you had to choose a non-food-related career, what would it be?
A teacher. High school math. I’m not good at math, and I don’t really like math, but I was always intrigued — there was a short period where I wanted to be a math teacher, I think it’s because I had a crush on my math teacher.
What were you like in the 90’s?
I was a little child. I wasn’t that old, I was a little picky eater, I was blonde, born blonde, blonde for the first 8 years of my life. I was adorable.
What were you like in high school?
I was a very bad kid. I skipped school a lot. I skipped school for a month straight, then it finally caught up. I was the class clown, the jokester. I was not a good kid at all. I went to vo-tech, and that was the first half of the day, and when the bus would bring us back from vo-tech I would just leave.
If Americans could change one thing about their eating habits, what should it be?
Stop eating so much shit. I think in general Americans eat very unhealthily. People eat out too much, don’t cook enough. People should go to Farmers Markets, they should buy real food, they should cook real food. Or, if they are going to go out to eat, they should do some research and go to places that do the right thing.
It’s two weeks ago. Meghan Markle calls you in desperation. The caterer has died and taken the menu with her. You are their only hope. If you were to prepare a five course plated meal for the royal wedding, what would you serve?
First course is a raw fish course, sashimi or crudo. I think that’s a good start to any meal. Probably some caviar, because they’re royal and they deserve that.
Second course would be a pork terrine
Third course would be some sort of seared white fish, some nice vegetables with something else, maybe.
Fourth course would be Beef Wellington.
Fifth course would be our s’mores dessert.
Eric Moorer is easily my favorite person in the Pittsburgh restaurant industry. Here's a photo of us that I took last week on a camera that I really only know how to use when it is food, on the same background (always), in natural light. See my Instagram for proof. Also, here's his Instagram. If you follow him, you'll infrequently find photos of the bottom half of a bottle of wine on your feed.
I asked him 10 questions. Here they are.
How do you feel about orange wine? I don't like the term orange wine, but I'm a big fan of skin contact white wines. They add a different texture and complexity.
Top 5 places to drink wine in Pittsburgh?* Bar Marco, The Allegheny Wine Mixer, Poulet Bleu, Spoon, Dianoia's.
What has excited you the most about the Pittsburgh restaurant scene in the past year? Meeting people who are excited about working in this industry, people who are interested in making themselves better and pushing themselves forward in Pittsburgh.
Current food or wine trend you LOVE? Serving wine at the right temperature.
Current food or wine trend you HATE? People shitting on natural wine.
If three fictional characters could work in the same restaurant as you, who would they be and what positions would they work? Jay Gatsby would work as the general manager, for his ability to make people feel warm, welcome and cared about. George Costanza would work as the host because there would be all sorts of terrible things that would happen and it would be very entertaining. Lastly would be Patrick Bateman — he would be a server because he's extraordinarily vain and does just enough to get by.
Give me a few non-wine-related book recommendations. Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey — fictional history and stories based around the city of Los Angeles. Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon. Really great story that gave me a different perspective on the city I grew up in. Lastly, Invisible Monsters by Chuck Pahlaniuk, which is an interesting take on our own vanity and beauty standards.
You have one week to prepare a multi course meal for a group of people. What are you making and who are you inviting? Rose Gerber. Dom Fiore from Bar Marco. Geoff Rickley from Thursday. Arianna Occhipinti — she's a winemaker from Italy. Alice Feiring — a winewriter. I would serve them a bunch of things that my mom made for me growing up. A simple bruschetta, shrimp scampi, and banana pudding.
Five favorite people in the Pittsburgh restaurant industry. Dom from Bar Marco. Nicole from Dianoa's. Cat from Federal Galley. Cecil from the DeShantz group. Alex Dando from the Commoner.
*besides or, The Whale
Last weekend was Easter. I took the Greyhound Bus to visit my grandparents in Ohio.
Because I knew I would be away over the weekend, I did that thing where you eat what's in your fridge and don't buy more things (see prev. post). Then I woke up early this morning due to eczema reasons, so I went to Whole Foods at 8:04am for some light grocery shopping before work.
I used to only buy a select list of staples at Whole Foods —
collards, carrots, garlic, lemon juice, almond milk yogurt, sourdough bread, turmeric, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi.
When Mr. Jeff Bezos acquired the chain, everything changed. Cheaper than Trader Joe's? Cheaper than Market District? In so many ways.
Feeling lazy but justified, I decided to purchase all of my groceries at Whole Foods this morning.
Here's what I got.
2 bottles Ripple brand unsweetened pea milk. This is the first plant-based milk that I've ever actually... enjoyed.
garbanzo beans, bulk, 2.51 lb
large bottle of tart cherry juice
equally large bottle of lemon juice. a big step for me.
3 yellow potatoes (Golden? What do you call them?)
365 bag of cane sugar
large tub of hummus (because I'm a lazy bum who hasn't made it myself in weeks)
2 blocks extra firm tofu
5 pound bag of organic carrots for $3.99. I've kept at least a partial bag of this in my fridge for the past 3 years.
One red onion
6.71 lbs bananas
One bunch of spinach
Mediterra Bakehouse Sprouted Spelt Bread. I've been trying to remove grains from my diet in an attempt to get a handle on my eczema. I think a good first step would be to stop buying bread.
2 little mangoes
1 pack baby cucumbers
large container spring mix
One bunch radishes. I'm going to pickle them, along with previously mentioned red onion, with previously mentioned cane sugar.
2 bunches collard greens — a STAPLE, an absolute NECESSITY
One Honeycrisp apple. This is my go-to grocery-shopping treat that prevents me from purchasing baked goods, chocolate, etc etc
Bag of 6 mini avocados for $2.99. You can't get a better value. Who eats an entire large avocado in one sitting, anyway? You just sort of wrap half of it up and squirt some lemon juice on it and it still gets brown anyway and you scrape it off but not as much as you really should if you truly valued yourself. Just buy smaller avocados. Fresh every time.
Last weekend was Easter. I took the Greyhound Bus to visit my grandparents in Ohio.
Because I knew I would be away over the weekend, I did that thing where you eat what's in your fridge and don't buy more things. Here's what I was left with, to face on Monday when I arrived back home.
2 large roasted sweet potatoes
3 small scrubbed raw sweet potatoes
bag of small yellow onions ( I know you're not supposed to store these in the fridge, but I use them slowly so they start sprouting if I don't, ok).
Pyrex of leftover minestrone
sweet potato curry sauce. don't ask, I'll tell you sometime?
beets, peeled and sliced into wedges. I should roast those.
sauerkraut, homemade. This is the second time I've made homemade sauerkraut. I made it a month ago. I'm too scared to try it. Botulism? I threw out the first batch, untouched. Help me?
molé sauce. from Reyna's in the Strip. Also too scared to use.
Korean pickled cucumbers, homemade.
fire chai — tea blend from Corvallis, Oregon. It's herbal, with chiles. Spicy. Brewed in pea milk. Ripple. Too spicy.
tahini balsamic salad dressing
whole grain mustard
yellow curry paste (Lotus, in the Strip. Get it).
red bell peppers
almond butter turmeric salad dressing from Trader Joe's. it's not all it's cracked up to be. that's why I still have so much
ancho adobo sauce — my way of branching out from chipotle adobo sauce
dijon mustard (always)
turmeric ginger maple syrup. not as good as it sounds.
toasted sesame oil.