Now Ryan creates dishes that embody both his love for Creole classics and his passion for international flavor. City Pork has become known for Ryan’s innovative creations, like Rabbit and Dumplings with Pork Gyoza and Crispy Cabbage Slaw; Masa Oysters reminiscent of miniature Spanish tamales; and Wild Louisiana Boar Flautas, rolled up in flour tortillas and fried to golden perfection. “We have a lot of Spanish, Asian, and German-style dishes on our menu,” Ryan says. “They are our Southern dishes with a spin.”
Ryan may have a penchant for culinary innovation, but that doesn’t mean he needs fancy equipment to create his masterpieces. Like any true Southern cook, he has been known to break out the classic cast- iron skillet to add that undeniable flavor to his plates. Whether slow- cooking an alligator sauce piquant, perfectly searing a fillet of fish, or presenting a hearty helping of Rabbit and Dumplings to a customer, these durable pans live up to their workhorse reputation in his kitchens. “You can carry them on a low fire, but they’ll keep consistent heat,” Ryan says. “So you can cook in them all day without having to stand and stir the whole time. It’s great cookware.” The logo for the newest addition to the City Pork family, City Pork Kitchen & Pie, pays homage to this trusty Southern kitchen staple: a large black skillet emblazoned with the brand’s signature hog and chef’s knife hangs boldly in front of the new location. “The cast-iron skillet is a truly Southern thing, and that is definitely the style of food being served at the new location,” Ryan says. “We haven’t messed around with pies in cast iron yet, but we’ll definitely try out some recipes in the future.”
Many would expect a chef with his culinary success to take off to New York or Los Angeles, where he could join an already-bustling culinary scene, but Ryan has no such intentions. He sees big things happening in his city. “Baton Rouge has a lot of room to grow in the food scene, and I want to be a part of putting it on the map with great food,“ he says. The Bayou State is where he was born, raised, married, and where he intends to raise his family. “My roots will always be in Louisiana,” he says, as if leaving were never a question. “The people here are great. We treat everyone like family, and our passion for food shows through our social gatherings.” Ryan cherishes his home and his simple life outside the kitchen. Give him quality time with his family, Sunday mornings at church, and a chance to go hunting, and Ryan is a happy man who is grateful for how far he has come.
Moving forward, Ryan plans to keep honing his skills and making people happy with good food. A decade and a half down the road from that first restaurant gig—and tattoo—Chef Ryan Andre has earned his ink. “It’s actually on my knuckles now,” he says, chuckling because everyone asks about it. “I moved ‘chef’ to my hand, so everybody could see it.”
See the recipe below to try one of Chef Ryan Andre’s favorite spring dishes.