Chefs Without Restaurants

Ryan Peters on Leaving Restaurants to Focus on Content Creation and Pasta Making

August 16, 2021 Chris Spear Season 2 Episode 105
Chefs Without Restaurants
Ryan Peters on Leaving Restaurants to Focus on Content Creation and Pasta Making
Show Notes Transcript

This week my guest is Ryan Peters. Ryan has been cooking professionally for a number of years now, working in kitchens in Florida and Pittsburgh. Most recently he was working at Iron Born Pizza, focusing on their pasta program. You might know Ryan from his social media accounts where he goes by Peters Pasta. As of today, he has more than 43,000 followers on Instagram, and 2.2 million followers on TikTok. Ryan was able to recently leave his job to focus full time on his social media content, as well as a line of pasta he hopes to launch. 

We discuss his career path, going viral on TikTok, and pasta-making tips. Hear about his challenges, new opportunities, and his take on the haters. I ask Ryan about his favorite tools, where he finds inspiration, and what his favorite pasta shape is. Any guesses?

Looking to hire employees for your restaurant? This week's sponsor is Savory Jobs, a job site only for restaurants. For just $50, get unlimited job postings for an entire year. Use discount code SAVORY10 to save 10%.

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Welcome to the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. I'm your host Chris Spear. On the show. I have conversations with culinary entrepreneurs and people in the food and beverage industry who took a different route. They're caterers, research chefs, personal chefs, cookbook authors, food truckers, farmers, cottage bakers and all sorts of culinary renegades. I myself fall into the personal chef category as I started my own personal chef business perfect little bites 11 years ago. And while I started working in kitchens in the early 90s, I've literally never worked in a restaurant. This week. My guest is Ryan Peters. Ryan's been cooking professionally for a number of years now working in kitchens in both Florida and Pittsburgh. Most recently, he was working at Iron Born Pizza focusing on their pasta program. You might know Ryan from his social media accounts where he goes by the name PetersPasta. As of today, he has more than 43,000 followers on Instagram and 2.2 million followers on Tiktok. Ryan was able to recently leave his job to focus full time on his social media content as well as a line of pasta he hopes to launch in the future. We discussed his career path going viral on tiktok and pasta making tips. Tune in to hear about his challenges, new opportunities and his take on the haters. I asked Ryan about his favorite tools where he finds inspiration and what his favorite pasta shape is. And he guesses I thought this was a really interesting episode. I've known about Ryan for quite a while, you know, I know him as a quote unquote, real chef. In this day and age, I think a lot of people who create food content on the internet are not always considered real chefs. But I don't think that's the case. You know, we talk about why do we need to differentiate between restaurant chefs and internet chefs. And I think you know, there's a lot of great points. And, you know, to see someone like Ryan, who's gone to college or school, worked in restaurants, knows what he's doing in the kitchen. You know, he just wanted to do something different. And the internet is been a great tool for so many people to be able to take the cooking out of a restaurant and doing a totally different thing. Ryan's been doing these series of making pasta everywhere. So he's going to a lot of sports stadiums. Just the other day I saw that he was with the Chicago Bulls making pasta out there. I mean, that's crazy. And I think it's kind of awesome. So for anyone who's maybe thinking about even doing this on the side, or transitioning to doing this potentially full time, listen to the episode. And you know, Ryan, someone who interacts with his audience a lot. I'm sure if you had questions for him, he loved to handle that. So I hope you liked this episode. Leave a comment on our social media. If you have any comments, questions, feedback, I'd love to hear it. And as always, I hope you enjoy the show. And now a word from our sponsor Savory Jobs. Are you shocked at what it costs to post a job ad? instead, imagine a job site for restaurants only, where you could post as many jobs as you wanted. And it only costs 50 bucks. Not for each job you post, but for all the jobs you post for an entire year. Well, my sponsor Savory Jobs has made that a reality. They've launched a revolutionary, easy to use job site just for restaurants. And it only costs $50 for unlimited job posts for an entire year. Plus, for our loyal listeners, use the code SAVORY10 and get 10% off. So go to Savoryjobs.com and discover the job site that's shaking up the restaurant industry. Forget the big corporate sites like Indeed and Monster. Join the revolution at savoryjobs.com and remember to use code savory10 for 10% off. And now, on with the show. Thanks so much, and have a great week. Hey, Ryan, how's it going? Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Ryan Peters:

I'm good, man. Thank you so much for having me. Happy to be here.

Chris Spear:

I'm excited to talk to you about this. We've talked a little bit the past couple months. You've you're in clubhouse pretty hard when it started. And we've had a good few pasta conversations and and other conversations, I think.

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, for sure. But I think we'll be able to dive deeper into some things and having a conversation, I think,

Chris Spear:

yeah, well, I'd love to have you share a little bit about your culinary backstory. How did you get involved in food? Like, were you always a food lover? Did you? Was it your passion when you were a kid?

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, it's one of those things that I've told people before. Like, I don't have that memory of like, sitting on the counter with my grandmother's stirring sauce. I don't have that like crazy moment. But there's always been this spark inside of me to want to be a chef and wanted to be cooking. My mom likes to like, she still has the photos of me drawing chefs in like second grade. That's like all I've ever wanted to do. So not really sure where it came from. But it's all I've ever really wanted. And kind of you know, very early on started like dishwashing and restaurants and just getting into it and being around it and really was just passionate about it from a young age and, you know, never really had a plan B. So I was hoping that something in the food world would work out. And yeah, it just kind of happened.

Chris Spear:

Well, in you know, these days, there's so many more options of what you can do in food. You know, I've talked about that a lot. You know, when I went to culinary school was like, your plan was go out and then you know, work in a restaurant, maybe like a hotel or a club. But you know, that's changed so much, especially this past decade.

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, I mean, that's for me, that's exactly you know, I after high school, I went to culinary school, I went to iu p Academy of culinary arts here in Pennsylvania, they have a small like one year certificate program, which is what I wanted from culinary school, I want to just kind of get the basics and then get out into the industry and start learning. So I went there and you know, after graduating from there, the plan was like I had this like very determined plan that like I want to be a three Michelin star chef, like I want this like super, super fine dining, like, trajectory. And I was on that for a little while. But you know, then just as you grow as a young cook, and everything you realize, like, you know what different priorities are and like, you know, not that, you know, something's everybody's has like a different path take in this field. And I think that's the beauty of it is there is so many opportunities and so many different ways that you can, you know, still express your passion through cooking, but just maybe not in that traditional restaurant sense.

Chris Spear:

What have you been doing these past couple years? Like Where have you been working? And what's your position, man?

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, so I mean, start I mean, I out of college, at school, I went to the ocean reef club in Key Largo, Florida, worked as an extra in there for a season. Really enjoyed it. But my wife, a girlfriend at the time was living in Pittsburgh. So after my externship ended there I you know, moved up here to Pittsburgh for the first time, just to be close to her and everything. And I wasn't familiar with Pittsburgh at all, I, you know, never heard never been here and looked up at the time, you know, hottest restaurants in the city, best restaurants in the city. And I found this restaurant called salt of the earth, from Kevin Susa. And it was like the number one restaurant the city at the time. So I applied there got a job, there's like the low man on the totem pole and worked my way up there for about a year and a half, to like the lead line cook position and learned a ton. But it was, you know, during that entire time there it was crazy. Like I had built really, really solid relationships, even as an ex turn down in Florida that, you know, it felt like every single week, they were calling me trying to get me back, which was a great feeling. But eventually, you know, that call came after about a year and a half at Salton I decided, hey, like my wife and I, we were like, man, we need a change of scenery. So we pack things up and move back there. And I took a like a lead banquet cook position down at Ocean reef. But when I was there, this time, I was very determined that, you know, I want it to be a sous chef, like for whatever reason at that time in my career, that was my goal, like I want that was the next step for me was to get that management position and start learning that type of fundamentals. So you know, when we arrived down there, I called for a meeting with their executive, Chef committee or team or whatever, and said, Hey, this is kind of, this is what I want, what do I have to do to get there? What do you guys have to do to help me get there and we kind of set a plan in place and within like, three months of being back down there, I was promoted to a sous chef of like, you know, 40 $50 million operation kitchen with now like 3040 cooks underneath me. And so it really allowed me the opportunity to See one really large quantity production, but at a very, very high level. And at a very, very young age, like I had no idea what I was doing. But I was surrounded by like much smarter people with people with tons of experience. So it really gave me the opportunity to grow really fast into that management position.

Chris Spear:

I think one of the important things there that you mentioned is that, like, you knew what you wanted, and you asked for a plan, because I don't think a lot of people do that. I think they just kind of, you know, you go and you put your head down, and you do a good job, and then people are gonna come to you, and they're gonna notice, and they'll, you know, promote you or whatever. But it sounds like you really grabbed the reins and said, this is where I want to be what I need to do. And I think that takes, you know, a certain something.

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, I've always kind of been like that. And I pride myself in that type of drive and just desire to like, go after things that I want something I've like, tried to pass on to like younger cooks and everything, like these positions, they're always there, they're, they're going to come they're going to go and like, just because you're working as a cook in a restaurant doesn't mean when a sous chef position comes available, you're out for, like, make it known, like do the little things, right? And make it known that like, you want more than what you're doing every day, like still, you know, do a fantastic job as being a saute, cook. But if they don't know that what you want, like, there's no way they can help you get there, you know, it has to be a 5050 like, relationship of, you know, you putting in the work within. And I think that a good employer should be able to put in the work to help you achieve those goals.

Chris Spear:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, but the number of times that I had someone who was aligned cook working for me that I had no idea they had any desire to move up. It happened all the time. And then they'd say, Can I be the sous chef, it's like, you haven't done any training to be the sous chef, like, I had no idea. You want it to be the sous chef, like, we will put you on a plan, you know. So there's a little give and take there. I mean, and that's why I think, you know, I worked at places where you did review. So we every six months, you were having a review, and you talked about like, growth plan. But I know that's not common in a traditional restaurant setting.

Ryan Peters:

Right, right. But I think they're very important. And I think they should be more common because sometimes, I mean, every cook and person in this industry is different. Some people don't have that type of, like just willingness to go after things, but they still may have that deep inside them. So they need to like almost be approached about it. You know, which I think that's why those types of like reviews and stuff are fantastic. Because it can just create this dialogue between, you know, chefs and cooks that is usually isn't there. So what happened from there. So

Chris Spear:

you're working there, then what?

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, so when I was working there. So like I said, I was there for about three and a half, four years. And while I was there, I was like, deep into like, I was very, very This is when I was like starting to get really, really passionate about cooking. And like I already was, but like I was really like just doing as much as I could on my off days going and stashing it, you know, really fantastic restaurants. And I became involved with the mentor BKB, which is the you know, foundation for Team USA for the Boku store. And, you know, through them, I competed in the young chef competition in 2015. I competed again, in 2019, I got a grant to go to the French Laundry for a month to start there. And so it was just really trying to take advantage take advantage of but just, I guess take advantage of all the opportunities that are available, like I was doing everything I could to, like, I want to compete, I want to start I want to learn, I want to like just soak up everything I can to really just gain as much knowledge and build as many relationships as I can. Because if there's anything I've learned through, I mean, I'm still young, but through my short career so far is that like, relationships are everything and who you know, and these connections. So I was doing everything I could at that point to, to build those relationships and just learn as much as I could. And it was fantastic. It was, you know, some of the best years of my life just being able to, you know, cook and meet for these incredible like world renowned chefs who I like, you know, looked up to as like gods in the industry, right. And here I am now like cooking for them and you know, hanging out with them. And it was just, it was surreal. But it was fantastic. And it was just really, really incredible experiences I was able to have

Chris Spear:

down there. When When did you end up back in Pittsburgh?

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, so it was I guess it would have been probably 2017 or 2018, probably end of 2017 maybe ish. So I was kind of, you know, I was kind of hitting my, my peak, if you will. So obviously there's always room to like keep drawing within, you know, within private clubs, there's, you know, there's pros and cons just like any type of establishment but I was kind of seeing the the plateau of my growth in the position that I was in obviously, I could move up to you know, Chef de Cuisine, executive chef, all these things are possible. But I knew that I didn't want to be in that club environment long term. It was just, you know, another stepping stone in my career. So when I recognize that my wife and I started looking at Alright, where are we going to go next? What do we want to do? We, you know, had fell in love with Chicago. We fell in love with all these different cities. And I thought I was gonna still be on this like Michelin Star Trek. Like I thought like this is it. And then a friend of mine reached out to me and told me about this food Hall in Pittsburgh. That was basically You know, marketed as a restaurant incubator, they basically every 12 months rotate out for new restaurants for new, you know, owners to basically step in, open up like a business do all the right things as you wouldn't a business but there's really no startup fees, there's no build out everything's there. It's you have a shell of a kitchen 200 seat dining room, and it's just kind of like come and test your concept, see if it works. So I was super intrigued by this. So I looked into it decided to apply, got selected to do a tasting. So I flew up to the tasting for the panel, and was selected to open up a restaurant inside the food Hall. So we decided to do that. And so we packed up from Florida and moved up to Pittsburgh and opened up a restaurant. And it was, it was a crazy year, it was a lot of learning. Again, this is a very young age, and I'm now running a restaurant owning a restaurant. And I'm like, not valuing the worth of $1. But like, It's now my money, right? So it's like, why are we going through two cases of paper towels this week, we went through one case last week, and it's like, I was able to really see things because like when I was at Ocean reef, I was in charge of a lot of ordering. And I'm just mindlessly like on a keyboard, right, like pressing things and not even have to thinking about any budgets or anything. And at this point, now, it's my money. So it's like, totally different perspective. And I just I learned a lot, it was a really, really challenging year, I literally worked 364 days out of 365. I mean, it was, it was bad. It was you know, good and bad. Lots of great things to come out of it. But just a really, really tough learning year of one, obviously to like testing out my concept that my concept was like fine dining beats fast, casual, just, you know, that was the style I was trying to go after. So I was learning like, does this work? What am I doing with this, trying out new things, but then also on the bigger level, learning how to run a business, how to properly manage people, just all these little nuances of things that I had no idea how to do. I didn't

Chris Spear:

realize that was your trajectory. You know, I think I became aware of you probably when you're working with Kevin like way back when I feel like you've been on my radar for ages. I did come through Pittsburgh when you were open there. But it was like a day you were either close or you weren't there. So I'm so sad. I never got to check it out. Because I do remember when you're doing that, and I thought it was so cool. I love Pittsburgh, and it's one of my favorite places to kind of go for like a long weekend. You know, I'm about four hours away. And I think it's such a great food city.

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, it really is. And it's still I mean, I feel like for the past five years, everyone's still writing about it. That's like one of those like, up and coming foods that he's in it. And it's it's still almost is it's just like there's so many incredibly talented people here doing vastly different things. And it's Scott that like, small town feel in a big city, like we all everybody knows everybody, it's like, you don't feel like you're in a big metropolitan area. It's just it feels just down home, like you're in a small town. So it's kind of you kind of the best of both worlds. Just it's a fantastic food city.

Chris Spear:

So you left your job that you were at a couple months ago, right to kind of start doing your own thing. Yeah, yeah.

Ryan Peters:

So I guess to say, after I finished the food Hall, this is kind of when things started to take a turn towards pasta. That's when I kind of decided, Okay, you know, Michelin level stuff. That's not really the path I want to go down. And I got a job as a sous chef at a new restaurant that was opening here in town. And it was around that time that you know, I I was just ended up making a batch of pasta at home for my wife and I and for whatever reason, that batch of pasta that night turned out fantastic. It was just really good. And so I made it the next night. And then the next night and I ended up going 64 days in a row. I've got little journals just full of notes and stuff. And I would basically I was working like 12 hours a day into restaurants, I would work a 12 hour shift, come home, make a pound of pasta, wake up, roll it out, go to work. And it was just this vicious cycle of learning the craft of pasta and trying to understand it. And I became really passionate about it. So it was at that moment that I kind of like, I felt like I found like my path, right? I feel like as young cooks, it's hard because you don't know like, there's so many different things that not that you need to have like a specific genre, if you will, but I know a lot of young cooks that look for that they want to find their their lane in this industry. And it was then I found like, like, this is it. This is what I was meant to do in in cooking. So I became really passionate about it. And yeah, to kind of fast forward a little bit, I guess I ended up was at that restaurant for a while and then I moved to a buddy of mine. He has a pizza shop here in Pittsburgh iron worn pizza, and he was getting ready to open up his first full service restaurant and wanted to add a pasta program and he knew I was crazy about pasta. So we joined up and I built a pasta program for him there. And to be honest, when we teamed up, you know, he was under the understanding just as I was that it wasn't a long term thing. Like he knew I had plans on my own. Obviously they've changed a lot but we knew that I wasn't going to be there long term. But I didn't think he was going to happen so fast. I know as you A lot of people probably know. So basically, about a year and a half ago, two years ago, I learned about this crazy thing called Tick Tock.

Chris Spear:

You have 2.1 million followers. You are. So by stats alone, you're like the most famous person I've had on the show. I've had some well known people. And I'm like, 47,000 followers on Instagram. That's Yeah, insane. So how did that start? Like, you just got on tik tok and start making positive videos. Is that how it happened? Yeah,

Ryan Peters:

it. It was crazy. I, my little brother and his girlfriend were out here visiting us two years ago. And this is when tic Tock was really starting to explode. So this is all they were talking about. And so I ended up downloading the app, but that night, didn't really post anything. And then a couple weeks later, I put my first post out, and I got like, half a million views overnight. And it was just like me on like, on your first toast first post? Yeah.

Chris Spear:

How did that? I mean, was it like, was there hashtag magic? Was

Ryan Peters:

it just like the best post? Because that is in No, it's just, it's just the magic of Tick Tock. That's like, that's why I love the platform so much. Because everybody whether you have zero followers, or 30 million, everybody has the same shot. So I posted that, and I was like, Man, that's cool. But I also thought, like, I don't know why I thought this, but I was like, Oh, that's a fluke. Like I just got lucky. Like I didn't like you know, I I wasn't used to that type of exposure or anything. So I didn't really look much into it and then wasn't really posted much. And then a couple of weeks later, I started posting some more. And I saw like a string of like four videos each hit like well over a million views. And I was like, Man, this is, this is amazing. Like, I had never seen anything like this on social media before. So that's when I decided like, okay, maybe I need to give this thing like a hard look. And so basically from December of 2019 to December of 2020, I basically went really crazy on tik tok, I was posting, you know, multiple times a day, just this point, now creating content specifically for the platform, and putting a lot of energy into it, while at the same time working a 50 hour a week job as a chef in a restaurant. But I was able to build this like crazy, crazy brand. And following if you will, that Yeah, as like you mentioned is allowed me about three, four months ago to leave my job as a chef in a restaurant to be a content creator, whatever, you want to call it full time, which is just, it's crazy to me, but it's like it's the best thing in the world.

Chris Spear:

So how exhausting is that? The creating content. I mean, it's it's very exhausting. I'm sure when you're working a job, but just still the creativity of now that's your focus any surprises or challenges in the content creation space.

Ryan Peters:

I mean, it's tough. I mean, I, I was one of those people that before this was my job. I didn't think that being a content creator anything was like an actual job. Like I was like, Man, that's so easy. They've got the life like they're just, they haven't made, they just post things on Instagram or whatever. And it's just like they're living. Now that I'm doing it, like I see like, it is tough. Like, there's so many more things that people don't realize, like, I'm just trying to be creative try, like there's, it's so it is a full time job. And that's why I knew I had to leave the restaurant because it was literally I was juggling two full time jobs, and it wasn't sustainable. Like it was really, really toxic for a couple months there. Like, I was killing myself, like it was nuts, it was really hard. And so I knew that, like I had to leave the restaurant to be able to give my all to this, which is what I wanted to do. But even now, like now that I'm doing this just solely full time, it's still it's it's anything I'm working more, you know, it's like, because it doesn't turn off. It's like it's seven days a week, 24 hours a day, like I mean, I just you never know when something's gonna happen or when an opportunity is going to come up. And so it's just like, it's a lot of work. It's just a different type of stress and a different type of busy than, you know, and I'm working for myself now too. So it's, it makes it that much more, you know, fulfilling.

Chris Spear:

So there was no real transition. I mean, so many people are side hustling, and doing content for years on the side. And seems like you didn't have as much of a transition period there.

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, no, it was fast. It was really, really fast. You know, I'm thankful for like, I get it, like it's, but it's also like to like when I created the TIC Tock account, and even when I started blowing up and I you know, garnered like a couple 100,000 followers, which is still insanely big. I didn't have expectations, like I did not think this was going to turn into this I had, like, I was just focused on you know, working every day in the restaurant, like maybe opening up a pasta restaurant one day, like, I was like, Oh, this is a cool little side thing. And then it like blew up to like millions and it's like, Alright, this needs to be like I have something here that like I'd be stupid to just throw it away, you know? So it was kind of a no brainer.

Chris Spear:

Well now I see these like making pasta anywhere kind of videos, things that you're doing, which are kinda fun and funny how

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, I'm from. Yeah, so that was an idea that I had about six months ago that I thought would be cool. And to be honest, it was. So I kicked off that series like a month or two ago and at its core i The idea was almost kind of selfish. Because you know, I've been you know, we've all been stuck in our homes for the past year or so. I was like, man, I want to travel, I want to see things. And I thought in the beginning, it would be cool. Like, alright, I'll hit a few spots here in Pittsburgh. Maybe I'll go to like Philadelphia or something somewhere close DC, you know, do something. But yeah, it's basically just, it's like spiraling out of control into this like crazy thing. But again, it's awesome. It's like incredible opportunities, like, you know, going into all these different cities and states and stadiums. And just like, being able to now like, see the country and travel, ball play, it

Chris Spear:

also got, like, dropping in there helping it. Yeah,

Ryan Peters:

yeah, it's crazy. I mean, I'll give, I don't know when this is going to drop. So I don't know when people will see it. But I'm actually heading to Chicago on Monday, and I'm filming with basically every single sports team in Chicago and doing like, all kinds of crazy stuff. And so it's just really like, opportunities that I would never have working in a restaurant, that I'm just, you know, trying to capitalize on these opportunities while I have them, you know,

Chris Spear:

that's amazing. I mean, yeah, it but it is a lot of work. And I think, you know, there's probably a lot of misconceptions. I mean, what do people who don't know you say like, you know, about being quote unquote, an influencer or internet famous, you know, because myself even, you know, I sometimes go on tik tok, and you see these people like cooking and because I don't know who they are you like, who's like Josh Weitzman, or whatever? Like is a chef, like he's full of it. And then you're like, oh, he actually knows what he's doing. So I'm sure there's you know, but I knew you so I'm like, this guy's the real deal. But I'm sure you know, there's, there's got to be haters out there along with the lovers.

Ryan Peters:

There's a time there. I mean, there's a lot of people that I'll see it both from like, there's obviously like, just like the normal like internet trolls that are just like, literally like what these kids are little bullies on tik tok sometimes, and like those or whatever, like, you just have to, like, keep on going, because it's not even worth your time. But then there are I see, like, industry people like cooks and chefs that like, kind of look at me with this, like, bad view. Like, you're not a chef, like you just make videos for the internet. Like, it's like, cool, like, at this point now, like, I've just accepted, like, if that's how you think, cool, like, enjoy your job. Like, if that's what makes you happy, awesome. This is what makes me happy now, like, this is how I make my living. And like not that I need the the validation that like I was cooking in restaurants, but like I was, so it's like, I don't I don't understand why there needs to be this divide between like, restaurant chefs and internet chefs. You know what I mean? It's just, it's, it's stupid. And I think at the end of the day, more people cooking in a restaurant or cooking in general is the goal. Right? So I think there's, there shouldn't be this divide. But of course, there always will be.

Chris Spear:

Yeah, I think it'll be interesting to see in a couple years, like, does this influence people maybe wanting to be in food? Who wouldn't? I mean, when I was growing up, there wasn't even any food TV. I mean, like the Food Network, it just kind of started but you weren't seeing anything. And now all these, you know, really young kids are seeing people like you making food on the internet, that's gotta, you know, influence someone.

Ryan Peters:

Oh, I think 100% I mean, social media is so powerful. And you've got all these kids on there, like I'll see on Tick Tock like 1012 year old kids that like in the kitchen, like just cooking and like, they're doing a fantastic job. And it's I mean, they are it's directly influenced through these, these food creators on the social platform. So it's incredible to see,

Chris Spear:

oh, who do you really want to work with? Like, who are your dream collabs either people or businesses.

Ryan Peters:

Oh, man, that's, that's tough, because I've already hit a lot of them, like working with the NFL incredible, like, was crazy. Like, especially like, when I first started out as a content creator, I knew that if I was gonna do this full time, I obviously had to make money doing it. So I would have to do brand deals, and all these kinds of things that come along with it. And so I was like, in the beginning, I was like, okay, who do I work with? I'm a chef. I'm going to work with apron companies. I'm going to work with pot and pan knife. Like that's what made sense. And then I remember when the NFL first reached out, I was like, that was like this, like, Whoa, lightbulb moment. Like maybe I don't have to work with just these traditional food companies. Maybe I can work with anybody, like what why should I be you know, put down this lane of only working with certain brands like I, I I'm a creative, right? I'm a creator. This is what I do. I'm gonna find a way to wear a Steelers jersey while I'm making pasta and boom, there you go. That was like a very organic thing. So it's like, it's things like that, that like I don't even know because it's hard to say like what the dream collab is because like, nothing is off limits at this point. It's like it's, I've now like seeing that like things are so potential and again, kind of going back to earlier when I said about like relationships and connections like I'm like strategic everyday of like just trying to get to know people and getting to meet people because like, people I know at the NFL probably know people in the NBA and there's just like this Like this, like spider web of connections and it's crazy how like connected everybody is so it's taking every opportunity and running with it. Now that's,

Chris Spear:

that's awesome. I mean, it's always come down to networking. And of course, you know, I think you sometimes have to be like a certain type of person like some people aren't necessarily coming Trouble networking, and marketing themselves. I think that's where you have some of those challenges. But, you know, I think that comes with practice, too. I don't think I was great at it. And I definitely didn't love it when I was starting out. But I realized like, this is really going to be important. Like if I want to move my career along.

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, I mean, I still struggle with it every not struggle with it. But it's like, it's awkward, like, because I'll just like even now with this series I'm doing I'm like cold calling people like hotels, cities, tourism boards, like all this stuff. And like, sometimes they just like scoff at me. Like, I'm an idiot. Like, why would we want you like, it's like, but I'm like, Alright, cool next. And it's like, you have to be uncomfortable, like you're comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because it's like, it's sometimes weird, but like, you call five places. If one of them says, Okay, then like, Alright, cool. There's other four that said, No, that's fine. They were worth it. So it's just yeah, it's awkward. But it's part of like, the process, it gets to be a numbers game. You know, I

Chris Spear:

go through that with sponsorships. You know, like, right now I'm right, where I'm pushing for who wants to be a sponsor, and whether that's monetary paying for ads or doing a collab, and it's the same thing, it's just a numbers game, you there's going to be a certain percentage of yeses versus noes, and you're going to get more yeses if you ask more people.

Ryan Peters:

Exactly, exactly. And at this point, too, with both podcasts, with content with all these media platforms, like, I think we're seeing this big shift into where these advertising dollars and stuff are being prioritized. Like it's not television, it's not a newspaper ad. It's not like any of this. It's not a magazine ad, it's so people are on their phones. 24 seven, so it's like there's big money to come. So like if you're, if you're a hustler, if you're like going out there and getting stuff like you're gonna find these opportunities.

Chris Spear:

Yeah. Well, I'd love to talk, inspiration and pasta. So, you know, creativity? You know, I'm sure you are always trying new things. Where are you finding? Where are you finding inspiration, as far as, like, it

Ryan Peters:

comes to pasta. A lot of it is, you know, through social, right, like following people that I look up to and people that I you know, admire their work, right, other policymakers. Honestly, that's like the majority of it. And just honestly, like, just being in the kitchen and playing around with things, it's as simple as that, you know, it's, it's hard, though, sometimes to because like, as a content creator. Now, sometimes I don't have as much time, like, as I get in the beginning, it was so much easier to just like, you know, be making pasta everyday trying new shapes. Now, it's a little bit different, right? Because I'm so much busier and like, I'm pulled in different directions. And I'm not able as much to do it. If that makes like, it's, it's just different. It's like, for me right now, it's putting the actual creativity of the craft on the back burner for a little bit to focus on the bigger opportunities right now. So that when I go back to that it's leveraged even more like, it's just raised on a higher level, if that makes sense.

Chris Spear:

Yeah. And I guess if you're doing content, not that you don't want your food to taste good, but there is some leeway there, right? It's not like you're making hundreds of portions of pasta, and you're trying to tweak it and use a different artisinal flour, because of the taste like you're probably doing more creativity type stuff, where you're like getting spirulina and putting it into the dose, you got a colorful pasta, as opposed to kind of tweaking the spices for flavor. Am I right? Exactly? No, exactly. I mean, at the end of the day, I'm creating visual content. So like that. I mean, that's just the that's how it is like, that's the the fact of it. So you're exactly right. Well, I've done some photo shoots this, you know, the past couple of months, I started blogging like 10 years ago, but finding that to take a good food photo, you don't necessarily cook it the way you would cook it for service.

Ryan Peters:

Right, exactly. I mean, I like finding myself now, like when I'm doing shoots and stuff like that, like, I'm not thinking about it as a chef anymore. I'm thinking about it as a creator. And like, as someone who's going to photograph and video this stuff. So it's like, it's a different mindset of, of how things should look. without, you know, obviously, hurting the integrity of the actual dish or product, you know, as much as you can, but it's just a different mindset.

Chris Spear:

When one of the questions I always like to ask her, what are your favorite resources, and that could be culinary, like a cookbook, or a website, it could be some app that you're using for creating content, it could be a piece of gear, what are some things that you really love,

Ryan Peters:

I'm going to cheat and you're not going to like misanthropy, but it's literally my phone. Whether that be the internet browser, the social platforms, my contact list, like I would just say cold call, but I'll just like call my friends or peers or just someone whose contact info I have and just like, chat with them to like bounce ideas off them. Like it's so powerful. I don't think people understand the value of just like having those connections and utilizing them. Like, it's so so powerful, like what we all have access to now. I mean, that's, that's, I mean, that's got to be it

Chris Spear:

well, and one of my recent hacks is like I'm doing all this voice to text things, you know, and just like First speed of response, like, if you want to start making a lot of contacts, like, I'll just open up the email and then hit the, you know, mic thing and talk into my phone. And I can write the equivalent of like a five paragraph email in like 30 seconds, right, you know, volume there. The same for writing, whether it be the show notes from my podcasts or writing an article for a magazine, like, I'm just doing all voice text right now. And then I cleaned it up afterwards. And it's just increased the volume of what I can put out. And when I tell people that people are still amazed, I'm like, yeah, you should totally be doing that. Because you can talk a lot faster than you can type it. Right.

Ryan Peters:

Right. And I think that kind of just is a testament, if you will, to, like, we're all just so busy. And I think time is so so valuable. So like, being able to save five minutes of not writing out show notes is like a super, super valuable time that you can allocate somewhere else. So like, it's finding those little hacks and those things that just save us time to better leverage it.

Chris Spear:

So because things are moving so fast, do you have goals? I mean, I'm sure you have goals, but do you find that they're changing much faster than you can keep up with them?

Ryan Peters:

Um, maybe they are. I mean, the biggest thing for me is to basically get my pasta available to buy retail. I think that, you know, as a food content creator now, not every day is guaranteed, like, I mean, I'm like working every day trying to like make sure you know, I'm making a living and all of these things, but I think is extremely valuable for content creators to think about, okay, what if tomorrow, tick tock, Instagram, YouTube, it's all gone. Now what? So that's why I think that like having like a tangible product that can be associated with your brand, but can also live totally by itself, offline is so so powerful. So that's what I'm working really hard on is basically just making my pasta available to the masses that it can be, you know, shake up the pasta aisle a little bit in all your grocery stores and just have this new face in there. That is a product that yes, is mine. But it's also like, offline, it's its own entity, and I can kind of just sustain long term.

Chris Spear:

So what's your favorite pasta shape?

Ryan Peters:

We've definitely had these conversations. I just made a judgment. Yeah. Yeah. It's definitely far, far away. It was one of the first shapes I learned how to make. And it's just always been a special one. I think it's, it's fantastic. It's fun to make, too. Yeah, it's just it's got to be the best.

Chris Spear:

Do you have to make that one by hand? Or is there an extruder?

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, no, no, that one, that one's by hand, which makes it fun, because like, the different pinch points and everything, it's like, it's a great one to learn. But it's also it's relatively easy to learn. It's not too tricky. So it's just a really good starter, I think,

Chris Spear:

did you learn making pasta from someone? Or were you kind of self taught?

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, it was pretty much self taught. You know, obviously, like, I learned the basics and culinary school, like everybody does, but a lot of it was just self taught, you know, watching a ton of YouTube videos, learning from people, like through just asking questions, like understanding, like, why you did this, you know, just sending a random Instagram dm to like a chef I look up to and say, Hey, do you mind sharing, like the process for how you got this to happen or, or whatever. And a lot of trial and error is really trying to understand it, because like, pasta is this thing where it's, you know, at its core, it's so simple, you know, it can just be flour and water. It's craziest, simplest thing, but it's also so like complicated and complex and still requires a lot of finesse and technique to be done properly. So it's been just a big learning curve.

Chris Spear:

What do you have any good tips for people looking to maybe start making pasta at home?

Ryan Peters:

Yeah. I always just say just like, stop talking about and just do it. Because everyone's always saying like, I want to try making pasta like Okay, cool. You probably have everything in your house right now. So go do it. I always tell people everybody like give it more time than you think it needs it. It really you need to need adult like nobody like a lot of home coasts when they try to make pasta for the first time. They need it for five minutes. And they're like, Man, this isn't working out like no, you got to be patient, trust the process. Give it some time. And it I mean, it's a workout like you should feel it in your forearms like that's when you know you're done

Chris Spear:

now can you do that by machine? like can you use dough hook and a Kitchen Aid or do you have to do it by hand? I know some of ya routers have like the built in kneaders but can you do it in the mixer?

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, no people definitely you can use a Kitchen Aid and all these even bigger ones when you're doing really high volume it's not quite the same even when I'm doing like that if I have to use a mixture of I'm doing a ton of pasta, although we still finish it on the bench like by hand but even in general I like doing it by hand anyway I just I like you know being in there with my hands and just feeling it sometimes I regret it because it's definitely a lot more work than just flipping a switch but it's the right way it's the the classical way.

Chris Spear:

Do you have any other things in the food world you're passionate about?

Ryan Peters:

Not really. I mean this is I mean I still love like fine dining. Like I love that style of cooking and everything and I think I always will like I cook like you Really like more higher end food at home just for like my wife and I all the time like it's I still love it and there's a lot of like passions I love about like cooking like I love just like I love making omelets like it's one of my favorite things to cook is like a classic French omelet. But it's like pasta is still the number one and I just feel like that's like it always will be but that's what I like it like people a lot of times like especially like these younger kids on Tick Tock think like all I know how to make as pasta all I eat is pasta and it's like now like one I hardly pasta as much as you think. And to like I can cook all kinds of stuff. It's just this is what I tend to focus on. But like sometimes I get bored with pasta To be quite honest. I'll take a couple days off for making it I'll just I won't even think about pasta because you get like, I'm doing it every day like yeah, it's your it's no doubt you're gonna get bored with it.

Chris Spear:

What are you doing with all the pasta you make?

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, give it away to friends, family, neighbors? Anybody? it because it's a time, you know, especially like when I'm like, you know, I'll go through ups and downs of life when I'm really like testing things and everything for like actual production for like whenever I started selling, so I'll be making like, you know, sometimes tons, like 2030 pounds a day. So yeah, I'll just like drop off like a half hotelplanner dried pasta to my neighbor call somebody just bring it to whoever so it doesn't go to waste, man.

Chris Spear:

I bet people love being your neighbor. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Whenever like new neighbors find out like that. I'm the pasta guy, right? Like they just like they warm up to us real quick and want to be our friends. Well, if you could Stosh for anyone just for a day, who would you want to go work with?

Ryan Peters:

Ooh, man, that's tough. You know, I don't know. So I've said this before to other people. And I don't have a specific person. But it would be to just go to I've never been to Italy, and I just really want to go to Italy and just like spend a day are obviously much more than one day, but spend time just like learning from someone like, you know, everyone has that stereotypical, like 80 year old woman in Italy who just is making pasta every single day and she's been doing it for 60 years, right? And I just want to go spend time with you know, someone like that, that, you know, doesn't speak English, right? We just communicate through pasta and you know, understand the real like culture and the history behind it. That's like, that's bucket list for me. Hopefully, it'll happen soon.

Chris Spear:

Yeah, I've never been to Italy before. So I think even just eating there would be inspirational but I can't imagine would be like hanging out in one of those kitchens with just one of those. Yeah, ladies just getting on the bench. They're rolling it all right.

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, that would it's I mean, I can't I've seen you know, obviously people I know that I've done that and everything and it's just it looks unreal. And obviously the landscape of Italy and everything is beautiful as we all know so it would just it would be incredible and you just need to find the right sponsors who want to send you over there right

Chris Spear:

in start making your pasta you know in front of you know, going going in front of like Massimo butters place and being the pasta like right out there on the street in front of his place. Yeah, yeah, that would be it'd be a dream. What do you have anything you want to share with our listeners before we get out of here today?

Ryan Peters:

I don't think so. I mean, I think the biggest thing I would say especially like to anyone who is especially like in food like in the industry in some capacity, and you have any desire to be on social media all this stuff is try Tick Tock like I push Tick Tock on a lot of people just because obviously I've seen the success out of it. But I've seen tons of people as success, not even food creators, but just random people that I know that, you know, it changes their lives, changes their business, creates new opportunities. So I think it's just important to whether it be on Tick Tock or any platform, just always document everything you do. And obviously through journals and notes and all that stuff is great, but use your phone, use your camera, take pictures, take videos and put it out there and see like, you never know what's gonna happen if, if you put something out there and see what comes back. I mean it literally tik tok changed my life. So like, who knows what's possible?

Chris Spear:

Yeah, I think video is hard. Like, I'm even intimidated by video, like photography, I've got down but the whole thing of like, putting yourself out there talking and then the editing and splicing like that's a whole different thing.

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, it's Yeah, it is. It is very, very different. And a lot of people have had that exact same sentiment to me that it's just like, it's a big change from just taking a photo of something where it is a little bit easier. But I think that it's worth to learn, you know, it's video content is it's the thing right now. And it's the future of social media, especially short form content, like that's King right now, every single platform. If they don't have it, they're transitioning to it.

Chris Spear:

So two paths coming soon. Don't they have the right now? Gone? Like I got an email two days ago, saying, you know, have you tried? Is it shorts? I think it is.

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, so I heard about shorts a couple months ago through you know, other creators and stuff. And one month ago, I had 100 subscribers on YouTube, which I'm like, just start now putting, like taking some of my tic tocs put them on there. So one month ago, I posted I had like four videos out I posted my fifth video. I think it was There's a six second video of me with cloud eggs like on tik tok. I think it's at 9.9 million views. And I had 100 subscribers. So like, it's crazy. It's insane. So like short form content is king right now.

Chris Spear:

Wow. And are you having to make separate content for tik tok versus like reels because I know the whole thing is, reels didn't want you taking the watermark Tick Tock videos and putting them on there. They want you to create an app. So are you doing that like creating two separate things for both platforms?

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, so I'll just like shoot all my content raw, like I won't use it, like shoot on the actual apps and then I'll just be able to put it onto every single platform so I don't have to worry about the watermarks or the back, you know, back channel stuff of everything. I can just have all the raw footage and and put it on to YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, tik tok twitter. triller. Ever like everything.

Chris Spear:

I'm exhausted just listening to that.

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, yeah, it's it is it's a lot to manage. Like, again, like, people think like, Oh, this is easy. You got a maid, you're just like, people see me traveling. It's like, oh, man, he must be living a life. But it's like, there's a lot of work. Like, you don't just post and walk away. Like I have to engage with my community and do all these kinds of things. And it's like, it's a full time job if you're gonna do it, right.

Chris Spear:

Oh, yeah. The same with podcasting. People say how do you get your numbers up, it's like, you have to engage with your audience all the time. Like you have to be talking to people, you have to be on Instagram and Twitter and responding and commenting and liking and like tagging and dming. And it's a lot. It's more than I think people realize, and you have to be down for that. And I think if you don't like it, then like, don't do it. Because you have to kind of enjoy it. Because it's a lot of work, you're going to spend so much time doing it that I think it should be something you enjoy doing?

Ryan Peters:

Well, I think to to that point. It's also just like with podcasts, I assume the same with content creation, you got to you have to give it time. Like if you put out five podcast episodes, and I put out five tic Tock videos and they all are flops. You can't just like you have to invest into it. Like it's nothing is like it takes time to grow organically. Like you have to put in the work. Be patient.

Chris Spear:

I got my first paid ad sponsor at Episode 90 something of the past that was like 90 something episodes of doing this for free. every single week, I took one week off since I started and you know, it's a lot of work and to not make a single cent on it until like Episode 90 something, you know, but now you get one and then other people like oh, maybe that is worth like running an ad. So anyone listening to this, who wants to sponsor the show? There's still spots for pre roll and hit me up. Okay. Yeah, that's it. Thanks so much for coming on the show. I'm so glad you took the time. And I love sharing people's stories. So I think this is going to be inspirational for some people. And I think everyone should get out there and just kind of put their content out in the world. Yeah, no, thank you for having me. And it's been a blast, for sure. Well, hopefully, I'll come and be able to meet up with you in Pittsburgh sometime.

Ryan Peters:

Yeah, please. I'd love to anybody that comes to Pittsburgh, please. I'll always have pasta for you. And I love to show you around the city. I know you love you already love Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh, but we can we can have some fun.

Chris Spear:

Yeah, sounds great. Well, to all of our listeners, this has been Chris with the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. As always, you can find us at Chefs Without Restaurants, calm and.org and on all social media platforms. Thanks so much, and have a great day. Thanks for listening to the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. And if you're interested in being a guest on the show, or sponsoring the show, please let us know. We can be reached at Chefs Without restaurants@gmail.com Thanks so much.