On the Line: Ritter of Ritter's Steam Kettle Cooking, Part Two
Something tells us he's thinking about pasta.
Photo by LP Hastings
Ritter hints at his musicality in the second part of our interview. While most probably prefer him cooking up a storm, I bet he can rock out with the best of them. Find out what else we learned, as we continue our dialogue.
Read the first part of our interview with Ritter back here. Then hurry along and finish up below. . .
Did you always know you wanted to be a chef? I didn't think of cooking for a living 'til I was in my thirties. I wanted to play music for a living in an original band. Well, that didn't work out. I never went to school to be a chef. I learned to cook from my mother, who (as I have stated previously) was an awesome cook. It was always a love of mine, but I didn't want to work in a kitchen inside a casino. That is, until the Oyster Bar opened.
When you're not in the restaurant, what are you doing? I like to read. I love to play my piano or guitar. I love movies and sports (watching, that is).
Last song playing on your radio: Golden Lady by Stevie Wonder, from the album Innervisions.
Where did you grow up? I grew up on the Southside of Chicago, mostly. But I moved around a lot.
Last thing you looked up online: The history of the Chicago Blackhawks.
What made you transfer from Las Vegas to Orange County? My investors! I had no real desire to live in California. Who knew I could be so wrong?! I love Southern California.
Quick story. While living and working in Las Vegas at the Oyster Bar, I always had a lot of SoCal folks eating at the restaurant. They were always nice, but I thought that they were a little whiny. They would say, "It stinks in here (the casino) from cigarettes, and these people are negative." When I moved to SoCal, it was a year before I went home to Vegas. When I walked into the place where I used to work, within five minutes I said to myself, "This place stinks and these people are negative." I never realized while I was living here that it was that bad.
Last book read; how was it? America the Beautiful by Dr. Ben Carson. It was great; his life story is a true American dream come true.
Do you have any skills that have nothing to do with food? I love to play piano, guitar and sing and write songs and stories. But some would say calling that a skill would be a stretch.
What's your favorite childhood memory? That is too hard of a question. I was fortunate as a child. We were lower middle class to poor, and a broken family, but there was so much love in our house that none of that mattered. All the neighborhood children would hang out at our house. They could feel it, too. It was like a magnetic field, so we had many good memories.
What would you be doing if you weren't in this business? I really like to work with the public. I love talking, as those who know me would attest to. I could see me maybe working on a political campaign.
Is there anything you'd like readers to know that we haven't asked? I am a person who is very blessed. I get to do what I love for a living. I wish that for everyone, and I don't take it for granted. I am thankful every day to my business partners, patrons and workers at our restaurant who make this possible. Thank you.
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