The past decade sparked the city of Austin to become the fastest growing food-city in America. These years also sculpted a young chef, as he stockpiled knowledge and experience from five cities across the United States. Ryan Francis smelled the opportunity coming from Austin, and found himself at Bryce Gilmore's well-loved restaurant Odd Duck in 2014. Over the next year and a half, he learned how Gilmore and his team approached farm-to-table cuisine utilizing various classic and modern techniques. Armed with invaluable knowledge, and wood-fired passion for the craft, he decided to venture from the Odd Duck.
Gather and Forge is now laying the groundwork for like-minded chefs to nourish hungry clients, showcase their talent, and strengthen the connection between local farmers and anyone who enjoys a good bite or more.
Ryan Francis // Owner
New Mexican Grown // Baked with Travel + Culture // Chasing Life with Zest // Burned his Cookbooks
Organic Burrito Stand — Telluride CO
Farm to Table — Scottsdale, AZ
South Edison Restaurant, Chef Roy Whalers — Montauk, NY
Austin Culinary Academy — Austin, TX
Odd Duck, Chef Bryce Gilmore — Austin, TX
Food has always been a big part of my life, I was told by my father that when I was a young child, I would beg for pizza every single day, the funny part about that story is that “Za” was the only word I knew at the ripe age of 2. My childhood was spent in Albuquerque, New Mexico where I grew to love New Mexican cuisine, something I am still in love with today! After high school, I moved to Telluride, Colorado which would end up being the first of 7 cities that I lived in until I landed in Austin, Texas. During my time in these 7 different cities, I worked in every position you can in the restaurant industry and I was hooked, this is what I was going to do.
All the restaurants I have been a part of support a farm to table concept and I want to remain true to that by supporting what these farmers do for us. I started out with a vision of trying to sell organic New Mexico breakfast burritos in Telluride, Colorado. This is where it all started and would later become the foundation to building my career. After working in numerous restaurants all around Colorado’s mountain resorts I had the opportunity to move to NY where I first started to hone in my skills in the kitchen. I worked under Chef Roy Whalers of South Edison Restaurant in Montauk, NY where he practiced sea to table dining as well as being true to farm to table. It was then that I decided to go to culinary school in Austin, Texas to pursue my vision of being a great cook. After school I immediately started working for Bryce Gilmore of Odd Duck Restaurant, which is where I fell in love with cooking from scratch.
Through my travels I have gained exponential knowledge in multiple different styles of cooking. Although restaurant cooking is a much different animal, the thing I still love most is cooking at home where I can take my time and truly enjoy what I am doing. Being a private chef in Austin is what I had always dreamed of, I just didn’t know it yet!