MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With Sir Tyrone Guthrie overlooking the front door, it’s almost a given that every dish at Sea Change would be a little theatrical.

Chef de cuisine Ryan Cook has worked in restaurants since he was a teenager — no fancy culinary school for him.

“It’s crazy. You know, I started as a cook as a dishwasher,” Cook said. “I never would have thought when I started at the Leaning Tower of Pizza being a dishwasher that I would end up running a big kitchen like this at the Guthrie.”

Cook has worked with some of the best in the country. James Beard Award-winning Chef Tim McKee started Sea Change. Jamie Malone was the last chef de cuisine and she earned national acclaim.

Cook hasn’t sought much attention.

“I’m a little humble. I mean, TV makes me nervous, you know, cameras,” Cook said.

He’s not nervous in the kitchen, where he’s really put his stamp on the small plates.

After spending eight summers in Kodiak, Alaska as a commercial fisherman, he knows seafood.

But he also is a master with bread – a self-taught master.

“I do love breads, yeah, it’s kind of my hobby baking bread. And it’s kind of like moved into something that we do here every day,” Cook said.

It’s the same deal with desserts. Right now, Cook is his own pastry chef.

“My pastry chef left and I just haven’t replaced anybody, so I just kind of went for it,” he said. “Something I’ve never done before.”

That life-long desire to experience new things, to keep learning fits right in at Sea Change – which fits right in at the Guthrie Theatre.

There’s theater on the stage and on the plate.

Sea Change is open for lunch weekdays and brunch weekends, plus dinner.

All of the entrees cost less than $30, and there’s a bar snack menu at night that’s very affordable if you want to be more casual.

Jason DeRusha

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