Tools They Use: Chef Ryan Clark

September 13, 2016
a man wearing a hat
By Jackie Tran
By Jackie Tran

Tools They Use is a new series that takes a peek at local food artisans, such as chefs, bakers, brewers, and more, with a simple photo displaying signature items and favorite tools.

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Chef Ryan Clark's tools (Credit: Jackie Tran)
Chef Ryan Clark’s tools (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Immersion Blender

The Waring 7″ Immersion Blender can be used directly in large pots and is easier to clean than a standard blender. Clark uses the Vitamix blender instead when a smoother result is needed.

Butcher’s Twine

The butcher’s twine helps shape large cuts of meat for a uniform shape and even cooking. It also ties together herbs for easy removal from soups, sauces, and stocks.


“I won it from a pork festival,” said Clark. While you most likely won’t find one at exactly like this easily, here’s an affordable and highly reviewed version: 7 Inch Stainless Steel Chopper-Cleaver-Butcher Knife

High-End Vinegars

Clark keeps a variety of vinegars on his home kitchen countertop, such as Noble Tonic 04: Pharaoh’s Heirloom Lemon Matured White Wine Vinegar and Vinaigre de Vin Affiné en Fût de Chêne 7°.

Food Rings

Precise circles create elegant presentations, but Clark also uses other shaped molds such as rectangle and square. Check out this set of four forming rings.

Waiter’s Corkscrew

A double-hinged fulcrum provides extra leverage, which helps remove longer corks. Too many to choose from here.

“We go through about four or five bottles of wine in the kitchen per day for sauces and braises.”

Mortar & Pestle

Look for high walls to keep ingredients from spilling. This particular mortar and pestle was crucial for Clark’s victory at a world culinary competition in Thailand. It’s now used for various menu items including anchovy pesto, mostarda of strawberries, chimichurri, moles, curries, and salsas.

“The flavors released from crushing the ingredients between the mortar and pestle are amazing. It aggravates the oils in a way that a food processor blade will not. Also, the texture you can get from using this is not comparable and you are able to easily control the viscosity of the recipe.”

Here’s one Mortal & Pestle option.

Pickle Lighter

“This is left from when I quit smoking. I use it for the pilot lights. Plus when I saw it was a pickle lighter, I had to get it.”

Tasting Spoons

Clark uses these copper spoons at home, but eco-friendly disposable spoons in the restaurant.

“The most important tool in the kitchen is a tasting spoon. You should always be tasting and re-seasoning throughout the cooking process.”

Check out this two-in-one tasting spoon and fork.

Wusthof Ikon Knives with Blackwood Handles

“These are the four knives I use the most.”

Here’s a link to the Wusthof Ikon 7-Piece Knife Set with Blackwood Handles

And here’s the Santoku (not in kit).

Wooden Spoon

“It’s a nice French one and is great at scraping the corners of pots. All my other ones were burned or caught on fire because of my cooks. This is the one that made it.”

Check out this olive wood spoon.

Artist’s Tape and Sharpie

The tape peels off easily without leaving residue, making it ideal for labeling reusable food containers with dates.

Kangol Hat

And if you want to rock Clark’s look, here’s a link to his signature Kangol hat.

Chef de Cuisine Ryan Clark at PY Steakhouse (Credit: Jackie Tran)
Chef Ryan Clark at PY Steakhouse (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Chimichurri Verde Recipe

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 2 ounces mixed baby greens
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, Queen Creek Olive Mill
  • 3/4 cup late harvest vinegar, Minus 8 vinegar ( 200/dp/B0009YXVJ4), or high-quality Champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper, roasted and peeled, seeds removed
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, roasted and peeled, seeds removed
  • Salt and pepper, as needed
  1. Add garlic and a pinch of salt to the mortar and pestle. Crush the garlic into a smooth paste.
  2. Add the herbs and crush until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to mix until desired consistency.
  3. Re-season with salt and pepper.
  4. Let sit overnight under refrigeration to develop flavors.

For more of Clark’s recipes, check out Modern Southwest Cooking.

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Article By

Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran’s Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...

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