Ryan Smith is the Executive Chef of Empire State South. Originally from State College, Pennsylvania, Smith has called Atlanta home for the last 10 years. Ryan took an interest in cooking while in school and working in the kitchens at Penn State University. He quickly decided that cooking would be his career and chose to attend The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Ryan received his degree in 2000 and was drawn to Atlanta by a fellow chef, who heralded the emerging national fascination with Southern cuisine.
Since his arrival in Atlanta, Ryan has worked in some of the city’s most prominent restaurants including: Bacchanalia under James-Beard Award Winner, Anne Quatrano, Canoe and most recently with Food & Wine’s Best New Chef & James Beard nominee Linton Hopkins as Chef de Cuisine in Hopkin’s Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch. While working with a handful of Atlanta’s best chefs, Ryan gained great experience and a sincere fondness for the history and traditions of the Southeast.
In 2010, the four-time James Beard nominee and Chef/Partner of Empire State South, Hugh Acheson named Ryan Smith the Executive Chef of Empire State South. “Ryan is natural chef with refreshing ideas and a great respect for this region and the Atlanta community,” says Hugh, ” I look forward to seeing his career grow at Empire State South.”