Burning Q: Ryan Fox, Nomad.PDX

Follow along this month as we tackle the question of creative identity, one chef at a time.

June 13, 2016 ● 1 min read

Q: How do you know when you've found your creative identity?

A: This is a tough question that requires a tough answer. As a young cook, I was brought up under a strict brigade system. This means that creativity, and personal identity are two things that are never encouraged. I spent the first 15 years of my career dedicated to mastering basic/advanced techniques while producing the dishes of my mentors.

This is key. One cannot truly execute creative cuisine successfully without first mastering the basic and sometimes more advanced techniques of cookery. To successfully invent a creative dish you must have creative imagination and flawless execution. One cannot exist without the other, and be considered successful. With that being said, I feel like a creative idea does not need to be executed successfully in order to be creative. Which is why this is difficult.

The menu and experience at Nomad.PDX has been my first true brainchild. A direct response to my personality, memories, local terroir, inspiration, past, present, and future. On each of the menus at my restaurant there is a quote from Lewis Carroll: "I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then." I feel that my identity, creatively and otherwise, is ever evolving making the "when" impossible to answer because while I've always had a creative mind, the identity of that creativity is never the same one day to the next.

Perhaps that evolution is my creative identity.

—Ryan Fox, Nomad.PDX

Photos by Sarah Noble for Nomad.PDX