St. Anthony Retreat and Conference Center
Executive Chef: Ryan Rusie
By Julia Fracker
“Food brings people together, no matter if you have differences or differing beliefs, food brings people together.” Mr. Ryan Rusie, Executive Chef, St. Anthony Retreat and Conference Center.
On May 1, 2021, St. Anthony Retreat and Conference Center welcomed Ryan Rusie, veteran chef from Three Rivers, California as the new Executive Chef and Food Service Manager. Ryan comes to St. Anthony with over a decade of experience as an Executive Chef in notable restaurants such as The Peaks Restaurant at Wuksachi Lodge in the Sequoia National Forest and at White Horse as well as the Ol’ Buckaroo in Three Rivers, CA.
Ryan began cooking professionally in 1996, at age 18, in Lancaster, CA; however, his passion for food began much earlier than that. As a young boy, Ryan remembers fond times of fishing and barbecuing with his father, making pasta sauce with his Italian Great Uncle which took three days to make properly, learning the art of Cajun cuisine from his uncle from Louisiana, and walking into his grandmother’s house filled with the aroma of freshly baked cookies. Throughout his entire childhood, food has had a central place in his family and in his heart. It was only natural for Ryan to follow his love for food into the culinary world as a professional chef.
“Food takes me back to the happiest moments of my childhood,” said Ryan, “it is gratifying to make people happy with food, very gratifying. My passion is from being around food my whole life.”
Ryan’s passion in the kitchen is palpable. A change in leadership naturally brings uncertainty among staff, however, the kitchen staff has been reinvigorated by his passion. In his first weeks, he led by example by conducting his own, thorough deep clean of the kitchen and the store rooms, reorganizing and establishing new systems—elevating the kitchen into something more.
His desire to bring new ideas to St. Anthony’s does not end at kitchen organization and standards, but he also hopes to elevate the dishes served by bringing in new flavors from around the country and more international cuisine as well. Of course, the all time favorites will remain but some dishes will be modernized and uplifted, introducing exciting, new flavors.
When asked why a chef of Ryan’s caliber, who was offered a position to work with a leading French Master Chef and has cooked for President George W. Bush, comes instead to lead the kitchen at St. Anthony, his answer was simple, “There is just something about this place, I felt it right away and it gave me goosebumps. I feel my passion being reignited, I feel the presence of God, it just feels right.”
Indeed, Ryan is a blessing to St. Anthony Retreat and Conference Center. Already, he has planned one new event, our first ever Community Barbeque, which will be held on Wednesday, June 23rd from 4-8pm. He looks forward to bringing people together with great food and fellowship.
Ryan is married with three boys from 6 years old to 12 years old. He shared that his middle child is following in his footsteps, learning from him as he learned from his father. Ryan’s father died 11 years ago and since then, there has been a struggle, being a husband and father without his father to turn to for advice. Ryan said, “I think that this place will be able to answer a lot of those questions and I believe that he would be proud too.”
Thank you Ryan Rusie, we are so excited to have you with us!
The Community Barbeque, the first of many, will be held at St. Anthony Retreat and Conference Center located at 43816 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers, CA 93271. The menu will consist of pork ribs, turkey, house made sausage, salt & pepper chuck roll, as well as vegetarian options. Sides include broccoli salad, street corn salad, salsa casera, baked beans, potato salad, and bread rolls. Adults are $20 and children are $10. Reservations are required. Please call (559) 561-4595 by June 19 to reserve your spot today.
Community BBQ Event Site