Chef Ryan McKeown says this element is key to a successful kitchen, interview

BELOW DECK DOWN UNDER -- "Something’s Fishy" Episode 105 -- Pictured: Ryan McKeown -- (Photo by: Peacock)
BELOW DECK DOWN UNDER -- "Something’s Fishy" Episode 105 -- Pictured: Ryan McKeown -- (Photo by: Peacock) /

While Below Deck Down Under might have stunning views off the stern, Chef Ryan McKeown has a slightly different perspective from inside the galley. Although the Peacock reality television show is not afraid to stir the pot, this chef was ready to turn up the heat during the season. Luckily, his food impressed many guests; unfortunately, the crew might have different reviews on his kitchen demeanor.

During a recent conversation with FoodSided, Chef Ryan spoke candidly about his time on Below Deck Down Under. Similar to what was seen many episodes, the talented chef has a clear point of view and is unafraid to speak his mind. Even if that guest is paying for a special experience, he controls the food on the plate and does not want to compromise for anyone.

One aspect that Chef Ryan longed for on the ship was a supportive crew that worked with his vision for each meal. Specifically, he mentioned that he wanted a “team player.” While the tension between him and his chief stew was obvious, he had hoped that his fellow crew members would better set the table for the culinary experience that the guests would have.

Chef Ryan believes that a culinary leader’s arrogance or ego doesn’t necessarily become an issue unless the team is not in sync. Whether it is losing a player or lack of teamwork, those aspects can create frustration. From there, the team can choose to adapt or the divide can grow.

Although Chef Ryan was clear in his culinary vision, that free reign to cook isn’t without bounds. While other ships offered him more creativity and versatility, he stands behind his choices on Below Deck Down Under. The circumstances might not be ideal, but the food was commendable.

Given Chef Ryan’s culinary experience, he appreciates that food can and should reflect the locale. Although he feels that Americans might need to be more thoughtful in their food choices, the bounty of ingredients to create an impeccable meal are within reach.

Whether it is eating seasonally or supporting local, all of those aspects should influence the food on the plate. Chef Ryan draws inspiration from other chefs like Sean Brock who weaves a story into each recipe. When a chef can spark a conversation after a diner leaves the table, the food has done its job.

Even though Below Deck Down Under only gave a small glimpse into Chef Ryan’s world, the experience is one that afforded him opportunities. Granted, he understands that the “villain” label might be entertaining, his name is relevant. More importantly, Chef Ryan appreciates that he chooses where he will go from here. In the culinary world having options is a bounty that no chef would turn down.

Looking ahead for Chef Ryan McKeown, the culinary opportunities are many. He looks to open some restaurants in Miami with a strong culinary team that is willing to work together and ensure future success.

Below Deck Down Under streams on Peacock.