Kim Ryan, graduate of the Culinary Institute of Michigan, worked her way through the many and varied competitions to win Hell’s Kitchen Season 16 on Feb. 2, 2017. Among the perks of her win was a stint as head chef at Ramsay’s Yardbird Southern Table & Bar restaurant at The Venetian in Las Vegas. But, the pull of home could not be resisted for this talented single mom, and we are all the luckier for it.
Ryan, fresh from a year of growing and defining her own catering company, Lucky Cook Catering LLC, has been brain storming with Mimi Heberlein, owner of the Willowbrook event space in Northport to organize special dinners featuring her and four of her fellow Hell’s Kitchen alumnae. The first four-course dinner with optional wine/beverage pairing will be held at the Willowbrook this summer on Aug. 27 and 28.
The participating chefs are: Chef and culinary instructor Heidi Parent (Season 16) who will fly in from Augusta, Maine; Chef Heather Williams, (Season 16 runner-up and All-Stars Season 18) a private chef currently running her catering business RusticCreations in Pennsylvania; Chef Torrece “T” Gregoire, (Season 14 runner-up and All-Stars Season 18) from her new position as Chef consultant for The Black Hen & Bar Blue and two Bull and Bones Brewhaus restaurant locations in Blacksburg, Virginia, and author of the bestselling cookbook, Paradigm: A Macro Manifesto to Food; and, the pastry ‘queen’ to Chef Kim’s winning team, Chef Wendy Mendez, who, due to the pandemic, has left the New York City restaurant where she ran the pastry program to compile and test her personal recipes for a future cookbook.
The five women chefs will decide among themselves which course they will spearhead: appetizer, soup or salad, fish course, meat course and dessert. All the ingredients will be sourced locally from local farms and protein producers, which is one of the reasons all the chefs are so excited to participate in this event with Ryan.
“When I was on the show, some of my colleagues joked that I came from a small town in farm country. I decided to invite them to special Hell’s Kitchen events soon after my win, to show them what a great place I live in, and the abundance of possibilities up here.” Ryan’s earlier events took place at The Cooks’ House in Traverse City, where Chefs Jenn Blakeslee and Eric Patterson have a long tradition of hosting one-off events with out-of-town chefs and local young chefs.