Chef Ryan Von has a clear perspective on his Next Level Chef experience, interview

Chef Ryan Von, Next Level Chef Season 3
Chef Ryan Von, Next Level Chef Season 3 / FOX

As one of the last professional chefs left in the Next Level Chef Season 3 competition, Chef Ryan Von, (referred to as Von on the show), knows that there is more to the competition than just his final episode. While the experience had its highs and lows, this chapter is just one part of his ongoing culinary story.

A member of Team Arrington, Chef Von was a commanding presence in Next Level Chef Season 3. The first couple of challenges had everyone taking notice. From handling the pressure of the moment to finding a creative take on unlikely flavor pairings, his dishes impressed. Chef Von might have preferred more top ranked dishes, but his culinary talent was clear from the beginning.

While Chef Von saved his team members from elimination on various occasions, his final episode did not necessarily go as planned. When asked about his final two cooks of the season, Chef Von was candid.

He mentioned that the decision to fry the fish was partly due to the pressures of the competition. Unlike working in a real kitchen, the grind of a culinary competition can get overwhelming. Decisions that they would never make in their own kitchen seem like a viable idea in the moment.

Although fried halibut might not have been his best option, Chef Von stands by his chicken and waffles dish. When asked about the flavor combinations and choices, he believes that his dish was strong. As Chef Von said, “who wouldn’t want a champagne and berry compote versus just butter and syrup. A waffle with some berry compote and a fresh mint leaf is a dish that cannot go wrong.”

His chicken and waffles dish might not have been what the mentors were craving in that moment, Chef Von appreciates certain aspects of the Next Level Chef experience. When asked about being on Team Arrington, he spoke highly of his team mentor. He said, “she’s awesome and it was great to work with her.”

Looking back at the competition, Chef Von admitted that the lamb heart challenge was the hardest. He had not cooked with that ingredient before and has not cooked with it since.

With his time on Next Level Chef completed, Chef Von has a full plate of culinary businesses that are fueling his success. His restaurant Chef Von and Mom in Scranton, Pennsylvania is quite successful. Given his exposure on the FOX culinary competition, there are even more opportunities for him to explore.

Chef Von said that he would like to expand the Chef Von and Mom concept to other cities. Locations like New York, Miami, and Houston are on his radar. Given Houston’s culinary diversity, it seems to fit into his culinary point of view. As Chef Von commented, “I am very eclectic. I like fusions. Flavors and ingredients that are like a party in your mouth.”

Given that Chef Von has worked in celebrated restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, and earned accolades in Macau, he appreciates flavor is always the driver. He explained a butternut squash dumpling that he presented at Tao, which seems to exemplify his fusion concept. That blend of familiar and innovative is an idea that he is often willing to pursue.

As he continues to expand his businesses, he focuses on two keys to his success. Chef Von said, “it always goes back to good food and good service. Those aspects are all that matters.” Anyone who has enjoyed one of his meals appreciates that sentiment.

While building an restaurant empire is one goal, Chef Von has other ambitions, too. From expanding his food brand to potentially stepping into another culinary competition, the possibilities are many for this successful, talented chef. Everyone will have to wait and see where Chef Ryan Von make his mark next.

Chef Ryan Von is the chef/owner of Chef Von and Mom restaurant in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Next Level Chef Season 3 airs new episodes every Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX. Episodes can be streamed on Hulu.