Since joining The Woodlands Resort’s culinary team as Executive Pastry Chef in fall of 2017, Ryan Witcher has focused on developing one-of-a-kind pastry experiences for guests of all ages.
Oct 09, 2018
In the early morning while the rest of The Woodlands sleeps, Executive Pastry Chef Ryan Witcher and his crew are busy at The Woodlands Resort Pastry Kitchen making fresh, scrumptious baked goods for the hotel guests and residents to enjoy. Giant mixers whirl butter into enough whipped cream to fill a small car, baking crew members walk multi-tiered racks of doughy deliciousness into a room-sized oven, and hundreds of tiny chocolate cooking chips begin to melt to satisfy the demands of the award-winning recipes Witcher needs for the day’s pastry protocol.
It has been a busy year for Witcher, having won Wine & Food Week’s Wine Rendevous Grand Tasting and Chef Showcase recently with Robard’s Steakhouse Area Executive Chef David Morris. Witcher’s Texas Two-Step Donut Sundae from the Steakhouse dessert menu (comprised of homemade brioche donuts served with basil-infused Texas peaches and Rebecca Creek Whiskey Sauce topped with buttered Texas pecans) earned him the coveted Waterford Crystal Just Desserts Trophy. Robard’s is located on The Woodlands Resort property.
Funny thing is Witcher never intended to become a chef. As a way to save for his first car, Witcher spent his teenage years working as a dishwasher at The Common Grill in Chelsea, Michigan. When he noticed how much fun the kitchen staff was having, he decided to work his way through the ranks to get in on the culinary side action.
Witcher explains his family has always been a source of inspiration for him — working hard for what they had and instilling those values in him.
“One of my favorite food memories was going to my grandparents’ house when I was a kid and having ice cream with sprinkles on top. They had a huge sprinkle collection (at least 30 different kinds), and I was allowed to pick 2,” smiles Witcher. “I think this has a lot of influence in my playful approach to dessert making — putting pop rocks on shortcakes, having donuts in an ice cream sundae and using colorful rainbow sprinkles whenever possible!”
Previously, Chef Witcher held the Executive Pastry Chef role in several renowned establishments including New York’s Tavern On The Green, Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, Ritz-Carlton’s Washington, D.C. hotels, and at The Four Seasons in Seattle. He also worked alongside notable chefs such as Wolfgang Puck and provided desserts for the VIP event held for the 2018 Academy Awards. Witcher has also participated in various celebrated culinary events, such as the Aspen Food & Wine Festival in 2007 and 2008 and also appeared in the National Geographic TV program, Mega Food (2013), co-starring in an hour-long segment representing Marina Bay Sands and the 24-hour pastry/bakery operation.
“Chef Tony Miller was a big mentor for me. I worked with him on the opening team at Mandarin Oriental in New York and have remained good friends since,” explains Witcher. “Tony had an amazing work ethic and a high level of patience for training. A lot of what I learned from him I still use today.”
Since joining The Woodlands Resort and Robard’s culinary team as Executive Pastry Chef in fall of 2017, Witcher has focused on developing one-of-a-kind pastry experiences for guests of all ages. He is passionate about creating unparalleled confectionary experiences, incorporating the endless flavors, textures, and techniques he has encountered through his time living, traveling, and working with masters from around the world.
His incredible menu of desserts that range from customized Texas-themed chocolate items to cakes and cookies to his signature pastry desserts are served at the Resort’s restaurants and Robard’s. Each creation is an incredible work of art! Each week, his dessert decadence reaches a fever pitch at Robard’s Sunday Market Brunch where the shelves of the lobby are filled with a minimum of 12 pastry offerings that change with the seasons!
Next, Witcher and his team will be offering a series of dessert workshops for the general public to enjoy! Keep an eye (and your sweet tooth) on The Woodlander for upcoming details!
Try one of these delicious desserts at Robard’s Steakhouse. CLICK HERE to book your dinner reservation.