Confessions of Brendan Ryan

Brendan Ryan loves scallops, hates nouvelle cuisine and can't say no to champagne.
Brendan Ryan, director of food service for Framingham (Mass.) School District, loves Champagne, wants to visit the dinosaur age and wishes he weren’t “too fat to fly.”

Q. What is the best part of your job?

Seeing kids eat my food.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

Seeing kids throw my food away.

Q. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

We have a school farm that we serve kids from.

Q. What is the most unusual foodservice/catering request you have ever received?

When I worked at the Waldorf we did Burmese chicken feet.  

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’m too fat to fly. 

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

Sam Moloof. He’s a woodworker in California. He’s devoted his life to doing one thing and doing it well. 

Q. What is your favorite meal?

Scallops.  

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Any fine Champagne. I always say, “If you say no to Champagne, you say no to life.”

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

Duck fat. I have a fat theme going on. 

Q. What food fad do you wish had never started?

Nouvelle cuisine in the ’80s.

Q. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

Eye of yak in Yemen honey. 

Q. Are you a morning or evening person?

I’m on 24-7. There’s no off switch on me. 

Q. What are your words to live by?

You’re born, you live and you die and 99.9% of the world never knew you were here, so enjoy as much as you can.  

Q. If you had a time machine what historical event or era would you visit?

When there were dinosaurs. I’d look like a fat hors d’oeuvres to them.  

Q. What would be your dream vacation?

Any tropical island, with my fat butt on a beach. 

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

A Claddagh ring my parents gave me. 

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
health food medicine stethoscope

For the last two years, Chris Studtmann has jockeyed between Northwestern University’s residential dining halls and athletic training tables in his role of executive chef, trying to meet the health and food preferences of both sides. Now, his team is taking best practices developed for the sports teams to the 20,000-plus student population, working with dietitians from the school’s contract company to better sync healthy menu choices with lifestyle needs.

Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report shows younger consumers are especially tuned in to functional foods that...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Ideas and Innovation
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

FSD Resources