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LIFE

OF A CHEF

At 38 years of age, Chef Ryan Clark has accomplished much in his career.

A Tucson native true to his roots and committed to using local and sustainable

ingredients, Chef Clark’s dishes reflect the freshness and unique flavors that

only result from this kind of culinary sensibility.

 

From the minute he went to work as a Sous Chef at Fuego Restaurant in

Tucson in 1999, Clark knew he wanted to be a chef. After graduating at the

top of his class and making the Dean’s List at the Culinary Institute of America

in Hyde Park, New York, he received his first accolade at 23 when he was named one of the Top Sixteen Junior Chefs in the US by the American Culinary Federation.

 

After working for a few years in NY, Clark came home to Arizona, working at Elements Restaurant at the Sanctuary Resort in Paradise Valley under acclaimed Chef Beau MacMillan before making his way back to Tucson where he honed his craft at the world renowned Canyon Ranch Resort & Spa and at The Dish Bistro. He earned and held his first Executive Chef position at the Lodge on the Desert until October of 2013 when he had the opportunity to partner in his own restaurant, Agustin Kitchen, at Mercado San Agustin.

 

In 2017 Chef Ryan Clark was hired as Executive Chef for the AAA 4 Diamond and Forbes 4 Star Hotel Casino Del Sol. He oversees and manages a culinary/food and beverage staff of over 450 Associates in 11 different culinary operations: PY Steakhouse(Fine-Dining Steakhouse, and a 2016/17 Forbes 4 Star Restaurant), Ume Asian Kitchen(Asian Cuisine + Sushi), Festa Buffet(International food buffet), Bellissimo Ristorante Italiano (Italian Cuisine), 3 Fast Casual Counter operations, Moby’s(24 Hour Diner), 65,000 square foot Indoor and outdoor meeting space, 5,000 seat AVA Amphitheater, Hotel In-room Dining and Casino of the Sun.

 

Chef Ryan Clark joined the ACF in 2005 while advised by his mentors Alan Zeman and Elizabeth Mikesell.  The ACF has assisted in shaping him into the Chef he is today through professionalism, work ethic and networking.  In 2012, at 26 years old, Clark received a silver medal and certification as a Certified Executive Chef.  Most recently at the 2022 National Conference he was awarded a silver medal and the winner of the Western Region Chef of the Year.

 

Chef Clark holds the rare distinction of being Tucson’s Iron Chef for three consecutive years.

He has been featured at Taste of the Championship, Taste of the NFL, The Today Show and Nirvana Food and Wine Festival.

 

Chef Clark lives his philosophy not just in his work but also in his daily life. He shares his talents with many, including Jr. Culinary Students in the AZ C-CAP and JTED programs, as member of the Southern AZ Slow Food Program and in his monthly collaborative "Dinners with Chefs", where he invites other chefs to create a special meal together for their guests. He currently serves as a Chef Ambassador Mentor for the Tucson City of Gastronomy and as an Industry Mentor for JTED-Culinary Arts-Bridges-DEl.  He has cooked for such celebrity personalities as Wayne Gretzky, Will Smith, Britney Spears, Rob Thomas and Gene Simmons.

 

Clark’s first cookbook “Modern Southwest Cooking” released in October 2013, showcases innovative recipes that combine his passion for regional cooking and local ingredients.