Jim Arkfeld: Los Banos High grad cooks up quite a storm

February 1, 2013 

Cream rises to the top of milk. Ryan Scott, originally from Los Banos and a former Modestan, is quickly rising to the top of his chosen profession as well. In a few short years, he has cooked up a storm on the San Francisco culinary scene.

Scott has become a national television cooking personality and a radio talk show host, as well as owner of two restaurants and a catering company.

As a child, Scott showed early signs of a passion for cooking. He asked for cooking utensils for Christmas, along with the more typical boy presents. His parents owned a restaurant in Los Banos and experiences there helped inspire and nurture his culinary skills.

During his teen years, he was inspired by a couple of teachers and local chiropractor Anthony Parolise, a good friend of his father who provided guidance and caring much like that of an uncle.

After graduating from high school, Scott attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After finishing, he worked under chefs in New York, Chicago, Reno and Honolulu. He spent a rough period without a job, a low point that strengthened his resolve to succeed.

After returning to San Francisco, Scott spent six months trying to get hired by the well-known chef Gary Danko. He eventually got the job and says he gained invaluable experience under his tutelage.

His next big break came when he appeared on the television program "Top Chef," where he finished second out of 15 contestants. This competitive experience in a pressure-packed arena provided a big boost to his career.

Soon, Scott had the opportunity to open his own restaurant in San Francisco. At the same time he operated two food trucks and also set up his own catering business. Seven months ago, he opened another restaurant.

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" fame, became Scott's professional manager. Scott began to get national exposure when he was contracted to host a series of cooking shows called "Food Rush" on the Live Well Network. In addition, he hosts a monthly cookware program on the Home Shopping Network. Recently, Scott signed contracts for another year of hosting both programs.

Scott also hosts a two-hour cooking program each Saturday on San Francisco's KGO radio. His engaging personality works well on television and radio. He particularly enjoys having guest chefs, cookbook authors, and wine experts share their knowledge.

Scott definitely has a lot on his plate. In addition to his restaurants and shows, Scott founded and heads a charity dinner called "Harvest of the Heart" that has fed thousands of San Francisco's hungry over the past three years.

He has returned to the valley for guest appearances at the Los Banos Tomato Festival and at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto.

All of his hard work is bearing fruit.

Arkfeld, of Los Banos, is a retired teacher. Send questions or comments to columns@modbee.com.

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