20 Questions with Ryan Poli

Every Wednesday, we’ll be learning a bit more about one Chef/Restaurant Owner/Sommelier through my favorite game, 20 questions! This first week features Chef Ryan Poli. He’s been working on his latest project Tavernita and definitely one of the more colorful personalities in the Chicago culinary scene.

Chef Ryan Poli                                            

ryan poli.jpg

Restaurant                   Tavernita
Married                        No 
Kids                            None that he knows about.
Age                             34
From                           Chicago 
Culinary School            Didn’t attend any.
Knife – Left or Right      Right 
Twitter Handle             @Chefryanpoli

1. What did you have for dinner last night?
Treasure Island salad because I’m a big fan of their salad bar. Some left over Shrimp and Chipotle tacos from Mercadito. Dessert was Swedish Fish!

2. Place you eat most often on days off?
Hugo’s Frog Bar

3. Favorite ingredient to work with?
Anything fresh and seasonal nothing really specific

4. If I gave you $1,000, how would you spend it?
New clothes especially Nike Gym Shoes

5. First word that comes to mind when I say Michelin?
Don’t know if there is one word, just remember the fun time we all had.

6. Favorite Charity Event that you do?
Chef’s in the City

7. Last weekend on earth – what city are you eating in?
New York

8. If you weren’t cooking, what would you do for a living?
I’d probably be a struggling musician on the side, mechanic, maybe putting computers together or possibly stealing car radios. Any one of those.

9. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Always knew I wanted to be a chef. I played around at the BBQ when I was a freshman in high school.

10. Most exotic vacation destination?
I’m not sure if it’s exotic – Brazil, E’tu, Netal Pipas. (I assured Ryan this was exotic.)

11. If you left Chicago to cook somewhere else, where would you go?

12. Person you would most like to cook for?
My chef friends – we could hang out and have a fun dinner telling stories and talking trash.

13. What are you most excited about right now?
The small bar in Tavernita – Barxito

14. Do you have any pet peeves?
People who apply for a job at your restaurant and have no #$%^ clue about what they’re applying for or what we do.

15. Bite on the new menu you’re most excited about?
Our Oyster Bar – the South American Oyster, came out so beautiful.

16. Biggest surprise on your Spain trip?
Albert Adria inviting us for dinner at Tickets

17. Who has better hair you or Patricio?
Me, Patricio’s hair wishes his hair was mine.

18. What is your Karaoke Song?
Starts sing Journey – “She took the midnight train” I don’t know what the name of that song is…more singing “LONELY WORLD!”

19. When you and Kelli Zink finally marry will your new twitter handle be – KeYan or RyLli?
(Laughter) She actually came up with one once but it was Zoli or Polzink, I don’t know.

20. How hard was it not to call the new restaurant Tavernita Poli?
(More laughter) That’s so funny, I told Alfredo we should think about it. Very difficult, we didn’t want people to refer to the restaurant as TP.

Next week, Francis Brennan of L2O is on the hot seat!

Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at chicagofoodsnob@hotmail.com. Joe is retained as a compensated blogger by Pei Wei Asian Diner.


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