Ryan Prewitt ′98

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Major at Rhodes: English Literature

Current Residence: New Orleans, LA

 

Thinking back to your time as a prospective student, what drew you into the Rhodes College community?

My father attended Rhodes, and I was drawn to the quality of the education I knew I would receive there.

 

You are the award-winning chef of a nationally renowned restaurant. How did your studies in the liberal arts prepare you for a career in the culinary arts?

I clearly do not do anything directly related to English Literature, but I can say that there are no typos in any of my menus! What my liberal arts degree really taught me was how to think and how to learn. These skills have proven extremely valuable over the years.

 

What inspired you to pursue a career as a chef? Fond memories of the Refectory?

Sad to say, the Rhodes cafeteria did not inspire me to pursue the culinary arts. I spent a few years working in advertising, but it never really stuck. Eventually, I realized that I was not on a career path that really inspired me, so I quit my job and made a switch to something that I really enjoyed. I had a lot to learn, and was more than a bit naïve, but I was determined, and it ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made.

 

If you were to create a dish in honor of the college and your time there, what would it be?

That is hard to say. The farthest I got with cooking in college involved grilled food and pizza.

 

Your career sounds fun and exciting, and…very different from conventional post-Rhodes professions. What advice do you have for students with similarly unconventional post-grad aspirations?

You devote a lot of time to your career, so you have to do something that is fulfilling. When you enjoy going to work, it isn′t work anymore – it′s just your life. It is very important that you follow a path to something you deeply enjoy, whatever that might be.

 

Interview by Isabelle Campbell, Rhodes College ′15