We have a feeling that to future students of the career of Ryan Poli, David Tamarkin’s profile in this week’s Time Out Chicago will be known as “The Hair Piece”:
The first thing you see are the eyes: big and hazel, intense and bright. Ryan Poli’s sad and searching eyes.
Next, the hair.
And indeed, the hair is given an almost totemic role in this account of the rise and occasional stumbles of a chef. But in the end, we have to say we found the hair less captivating than the simple, almost Ben Franklinesque lessons of Poli’s saga, as well-detailed by Tamarkin.
We see a chef who remains admirably focused on his own bigger picture. As a kid who knew nothing about food, he glommed onto his first job and read cookbooks voraciously, learning as much as he could. Later on, when employers or partners misled him or deflected him from his own goals, he found other ways to pursue them. Getting burned by other people may have made him paranoid or unsure of himself at times, and certainly bummed when he couldn’t pay his rent, but those goals nevertheless seem to have stayed out there, even if he couldn’t always see them in the distance. Far from the emo chef the story seems to want him to be, he seems admirably Protestant work ethic in his outlook and in his relatively straightforward, if not without bumps, rise.
Read it and tell us what you think.
Ryan Poli’s Tavernita [Time Out Chicago]