John Ricks

Development Chef

After studying and Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, Oregon John packed his car and drove across country to New Orleans for what was supposed to be a three month internship at one of the “big house” Brennan restaurants, Place Café. Eight years, an Executive Sous Chef position, and one big storm later, he had officially cut his teeth on the NOLA restaurant scene.

Upon returning to his native California, John joined Google. He found being a chef in the corporate world allowed for an immense amount of creative expression through the opportunity to produce daily menus and a personal challenge to refrain from repetition.

Thanks to an amazing culinary network, he found himself Chef de Cuisine at Pixar Animation Studios, helping to build a food program that mirrored the creativity of the company’s artistic community.

John credits that same network with leading him to The Culinary Edge. As Development Chef, he brings the work of the creative team to life, creating the final food we present to clients.

Q & A

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?

My mother, as a treat, would occasionally go through the production of making fried chicken. She would get out the deep sided electric skillet, fill it with oil and crank the dial—confidently conveying a little bit of danger. She put well seasoned flour and skin-on chicken pieces in a brown paper bag, and we would shake and shake and shake. We’d open the bag knowing a cloud of flour was going to make a mess of the counter and floor. She would carefully submerge the chicken into the skillet (which I still have) and when done, drain it onto the newspaper-covered counter. In my memory, the chicken is delicious, but the process is priceless.

What would you request as a last meal?

The Veal Saltimbocca from the Acorn in Menlo Park. The restaurant is gone and so is the dish but that was the one that allowed me to build my “eating memory”. Because of the Acorns’ Saltimbocca, there is a part of my brain that allows me to recreate every part of memorable dish. Flavor, texture, smell, mouth feel, plate ware. I’m sure that was that dish because I can still taste it in my mind. I’d just like to have it one more time…

What’s the best food city??

I enjoyed eating in Prague. However, I was seriously craving a vegetable after that trip.