Burns himself would tell you that his evolutionary journey actually began at sixteen, when he sought the mental and physical discipline in Muay Thai kickboxing, running seven miles a day, at dawn, before school. A sport he still undertakes in his free time to learn more about his capabilities.
His first encounter with flavor combinations, textural expressions, wine pairing, and culinary integrity came during an apprenticeship at the Rattlesnake Club in his native Detroit.
He then moved to Vermont and joined the team at Hen of the Wood, a rustic eatery whose produce is delivered directly by local farmers and foragers, sometimes within hours of procurement.
It was Alinea that drew Burns back to the metropolitan Midwest. He became part of Grant Achatz’s renowned ensemble, under
whose tuition his managerial perspective was developed and risk-taking encouraged.
In April of 2015, Burns was invited to help open the Blanchard. His stewardship as Chef de Cuisine led to a “Best New Restaurant” nomination from Chicago Magazine and a four-star review from Phil Vettel, among other accolades. In January 2017, he was named Executive Chef.
Chef de Cuisine
Kevin McMullen has joined executive chef Ryan Burns’ team at the Blanchard in the role of chef de cuisine.
McMullen – a rising culinary talent well-known in acclaimed kitchens throughout Chicago – was a member of Zagat’s 2014 Chicago “30 Under 30 class” at the age of 27, and among Eater’s 2012 Young Guns Final 50 when he was just 25 years old. Before joining Burns at The Blanchard, McMullen served as the executive chef of The Brixton in Andersonville and was chef de cuisine on the opening team at Band of Bohemia (), now the city and country’s first-ever Michelin-starred brewpub.
McMullen is also a vet of Longman & Eagle (), and served as executive sous chef at chef Phillip Foss’ celebrated EL Ideas () in Douglas Park.
Assistant General Manager
Cassy grew up in southern Indiana on a farm. After high school, and a short time in nursing school, she decided to follow her true passion in restaurants. In 2007, Cassy moved to Chicago working for several fast-casual concepts opening new locations and training coordinator. She would eventually move into the world of full service and nightlife with Rockit Bar & Grill on Hubbard Street for 3 years. Cassy was presented with the opportunity to open a new concept as general manager called Black Iron Tavern in River West with CPG group.
Now with almost 20 years of experience, Cassy is ready to take on the fine dining world. “I have a passion for service and connecting with the guests. Every person that sits in my venue should feel familiar with the staff, comfortable enough to trust our instincts in leading their dining experience and enjoy the moment.”
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