In the Kitchen with Chef Ryan O’Sullivan

From the Emerald Isle to Hell’s Kitchen, chef Ryan O’Sullivan shares his kitchen-to-television culinary journey

Chef Ryan O'Sullivan is the chef de cuisine at Solstice
Chef Ryan O’Sullivan is the chef de cuisine at Solstice.

Cooking is in Ryan O’Sullivan’s blood. His father and great-grandfather were chefs, and he grew up watching culinary competitions on television and idolizing chef Gordon Ramsay. His career came full circle when he not only appeared on season 22 of Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen but won the whole thing. Originally from Ireland, O’Sullivan now resides in Palm Beach Gardens and is the chef de cuisine at Solstice, a modern Italian restaurant inside The Country Club at Mirasol. PBI caught up with O’Sullivan to discuss his experience on the show and more. 

PBI: What are some of your earliest memories of cooking?

O’Sullivan: My earliest memories of cooking were probably at like 7 or 8. We used to do a lot of fishing and hunting because we lived in rural Cork city. We would catch fish, and my father would show me how to clean them and fillet them. It would be super simple—just garlic, butter, and some fish. By our house, we had rainbow trout. Just the insight of being able to catch something, take it home, clean it, and cook it—that’s what got me hooked on cooking. No pun intended. 

Lamb chop Scottadito
Lamb chop Scottadito

What was the most challenging aspect of cooking on Hell’s Kitchen?

Probably not being able to taste the final dish. I wish we had time to do that, but we didn’t get to taste the final product. I don’t think any dish that we made was something that we had done before. That was pretty tough, to have to put up a dish and not being able to taste if it was seasoned properly or the spices were correct. Now, you’ve tasted every single aspect of it, but not together as a whole. 

What lesson from the show do you feel you’ll use moving forward?

I learned a different way of how to treat people in the kitchen, be nicer, and be a better leader. Leadership is definitely something I took away from it. I ran a kitchen before I went in and I’m still running the same kitchen now, but I can tell everybody in there has come along leaps and bounds in the last two years because I have changed as a leader.

Whipped mortadella ravioli
Whipped mortadella ravioli

What was a signature dish that you were able to share on the show?

I think of the dish from episode one, which was the roasted veal tenderloin with heirloom carrot puree, rosemary demi-glace, and salsa verde–roasted Tokyo turnips. The theme was meat and two veg … [which is] what a lot of people around Ireland grew up eating. We always had some sort of protein, two vegetables, and a sauce. Veal tenderloin is a beautiful cut that I first had when I came to America, but it’s also a cheap cut because it’s not big enough to use in a restaurant setting; it’s usually something you have at home. I just wanted to highlight that and some of my favorite vegetables that were in season. I wanted to highlight what my childhood dinners were like. 

The Country Club at Mirasol
The Country Club at Mirasol

What are some staple ingredients that you always have at home? 

Kerrygold butter, No. 1. Butter plays a big part in a chef’s life, and Kerrygold is my go-to butter or fat content. Some good olive oil is always on hand; I like to use Colavita cold-pressed olive oil. [And] as much as I make pasta, we eat a lot of pasta here. 

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