By Linda Lee

The scene may be a Manhattan co-op, a North Fork farmhouse or a billionaire’s waterfront home in the Hamptons. It might even be a Caribbean Island because Chef Ryan Carroll has flown on a private jet for a dinner party for a media bigwig. The people who hire him for intimate two-person meals, for dinner parties for ten or twelve people, are devoted to him because of his skill, his discretion and his team of waiters and sous chefs.

One of Chef Ryan’s dinner parties

As with all talented chefs, Ryan Carroll has innate skill, polished by experience in exalted kitchens. He worked at one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants. He was taught by the star chef John Fraser, who glorifies the ways vegetables can be turned into fine dining. And perhaps most influential of all, Ryan Carroll worked for the humanitarian and quadruple-Michelin-star chef José Andrés. He also attended the Culinary Institute of America, on the Hudson.

And then there was his homelife in Sayville, LI. His mother insisted he try everything at least once, and he had two Italian grandmothers.

One was from Sicily. The other, from Trento, in the Italian Alps bordering Switzerland and Austria.

“My grandmother from the north cooked in butter,” he says. “She was almost German. Risotto. Gnocchi. Polenta. No tomato sauce.”

“My other grandmother was from Sicily, and so it was red sauce, chicken parm, meatballs. Sunday sauce. I had it both ways.”

Panna Cotta with lemon poppy crumble, strawberry halves



Chocolate gateau with straccilatella gelato

He loves being challenged by special requests: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, no shellfish. Such requests lead to inspiration.

Mini Wagu Wellington with burgundy truffles, on pommes puree

His menus, which often star imaginative pasta dishes, vegetables used in delightful and creative ways and lots of luxury signifiers (truffles, hollandaise, steak, lobster, caviar) can be customized for any occasion. His desserts are sometimes minimal, but can also be extravagant, depending on the client’s wishes.

These days Carroll is living on a mushroom farm in Mattituck, on the North Fork of Long Island. On a wintry Friday night he was in Manhattan preparing  for a glittering gathering on Sutton Place. He was fully booked through the winter and now is accepting calls for small dinner parties, ladies’ nights, intimate at-home dinners and more for March, April and beyond. In the summer, he expects to be heavily booked in the Hamptons.

Chef Ryan would always prefer using local produce, especially Mattituck Mushrooms, grown on the farm where he resides.


Besides these extravagant dinner parties, Chef Ryan has another mission. Partly inspired by the work of Chef Andrés, whose World Central Kitchen rushes to natural disasters, wars and areas of desperate need to serve food, free of charge. During Covid, the WCK set up kitchens outside hospitals to feed emergency workers. In Ukraine, they have fed refugees. After earthquakes WCK manages to get food to survivors. They have air-dropped 500 pallets of food into Gaza.

Carroll lost his last restaurant job during the Covid crisis, when restaurants and bars closed by the hundreds for lack of customers. He knew dozens of other talented food workers who similarly found themselves at loose ends. Thus he began organizing them to prepare food for hospital workers, veterans and the poor. He opened Carroll’s Kitchen in 2020, in Blue Point, LI, as a nonprofit to provide for people who could use a good meal. From that modest beginning, serving take-out meals for $14.95 with a meal for grandma free, all to support free food for the poor, to the massive operation the charity is today.

Last Thanksgiving Carroll’s Kitchen joined the Massapequa Fire Department in roasting 10,000 pounds of turkey to make 15,000 dinners for the elderly, veterans and those in need. At Christmas, Carroll’s Kitchen was put in charge of roasting the hams. One of his last projects was helping open a food pantry in Mastic. All of it  is supported by volunteers and donations.

“I have a talent for organizing,” Carroll says, modestly.  It is clear his passion is not just for food, but for feeding.

One of his more extravagant desserts