Ryan Swanson named Kai Restaurant’s new Chef de Cuisine
Kai Restaurant Promotes Internal Talent and Names Ryan Swanson new Chef De Cuisine
Rising star Ryan Swanson named Kai Restaurant’s new Chef de Cuisine
Phoenix, Ariz. – Kai, the signature fine-dining restaurant at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa has promoted Ryan Swanson to chef de cuisine from sous chef, taking over for Kai’s celebrated long-time chef de cuisine, Joshua Johnson.
Swanson is an expert culinary leader with more than 15 years of experience in the luxury hospitality and culinary industry. In his new role, Swanson will oversee the daily operations in Kai including all ordering, scheduling, staff training and nightly implementation. Most importantly, Swanson will oversee the creative process and drive all new menu development in Kai; from exclusive wine-dinners and private events to each frequent and inspired seasonal rotation.
Swanson’s breadth of experience includes many notable positions at the resort and esteemed restaurants in the southwest. Most recently, Swanson was sous chef in Kai, where he has been employed for the last six years. Prior to that, he was the chef de partie in the resort’s casual dining restaurant, Ko’sin. He was also specifically recruited to help open the Chef’s Club in Aspen, Colorado.
As the ambitious understudy to Chef Johnson, Swanson acquired a natural enthusiasm for incorporating fresh, seasonal and local ingredients into culturally relevant dishes that not only satisfy the most selective of appetites but also pique each diner’s curiosity for the connection between the history of the Pima and Maricopa People and the culinary experience offered in Kai. Swanson plans to introduce a new menu this fall.
Chef Joshua Johnson, who for eight years has been the consistent fixture that has carried Kai to the highest levels of culinary achievement, is leaving to take on a new challenge in the executive sous chef position at a sister Starwood property, the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.
“Kai is like a precious high-end automobile that I have been entrusted with protecting for eight years. When it came to handing over the keys with confidence, it was always going to take someone very special,” Johnson said. "Ryan has impressed not only me and the resort’s leadership but the entire Kai team with his dedication to the concept and passion for perfection.”
Swanson will continue to work closely with the resort’s Executive Chef, Conor Favre and collaborate to uphold Kai’s accolades, sophisticated cuisine and the level of elegant service that guests have come to cherish in Arizona’s most celebrated restaurant.
“Chef Swanson is an amazing talent in both the execution of dishes and as a creative collaborator. He was the obvious and only successor for Johnson,” said Resort Executive Chef, Conor Favre.
Swanson has played an instrumental role in helping Kai earn and maintain their AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star status. Swanson was also named the resort’s “Rising Star of the Year” in 2014. Swanson graduated from Scottsdale Community College Culinary Program with honors and ASU’s Nutrition program in 2006. He also apprenticed under Vincent Guerithault, one of the few James Beard award-winners in the Southwest. Swanson currently resides in Tempe. When he has time away from the kitchen, he enjoys hiking, golfing, hockey, listening to vinyl records and traveling.