Meet the Eat Well Chef: Ryan Slattery
We are Eat Well Nashville: a fresh, affordable, and convenient way to eat well and live better. That’s not just a catchy slogan. We make it easier to make healthier choices; instead of ordering greasy pizza, MSG-laden Chinese takeout, or hitting one of Nashville’s many drive-thrus, you can enjoy a delicious, balanced, and affordable meal in just minutes. Our food philosophy — meals should be wholesome, hearty, and easy — shapes who we are and all that we do, as does each member of our team. No one embodies our motto — eat well, live better — better than our executive chef, Ryan Slattery. Born in Connecticut, Ryan has been cooking professionally for 17 years — 10 of those right here in Music City. Drawn to Nashville by the “great food scene” and welcoming nature of its residents, he’s seen the city change quite a bit in the last decade, but despite all the changes, there still aren’t enough affordable, healthier dining options for the ever-increasing population. He joined Eat Well Nashville to make it easy for everyone to eat well and live better. A graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, Ryan has held kitchen leadership roles at Nashville’s Music City Center, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville Hilton Downtown, New Hampshire’s Balsams Grand Resort and Hotel, and North Carolina’s Pinehurst Resort. Today, he lives in East Nashville with his wife, Lauren, and when he’s not in the Eat Well kitchen, you’ll find him enjoying Music City’s food, entertainment, and Southern hospitality. At age 27, Ryan had just returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he’d served as a non-commissioned officer on a tank crew. He was fifty pounds overweight, a smoker, and knew that he needed to make a change. He reached out to schedule a check-up with his doctor, and while there, discovered just how urgently change was needed: without quitting smoking, having open-heart surgery, and cleaning up his diet, his doctor gave him just two months to live. “I knew change was necessary, but I had no clue where to start,” he said. “Obviously exercise is a big part of recovery from heart surgery, so I made time for that, but making better choices about what I put into my body while being constantly surrounded by all the decadent food in a working kitchen was hard.” To accommodate his non-traditional work hours, Ryan began to meal prep — or prepare, portion, and package meals ahead of time — taking a full day in order to make sure he and his wife had healthy, delicious meals available to them for lunch and dinner each day of the week. “Anyone who has meal-prepped knows how much of an undertaking it is — and I was only doing it for a family of two,” he said. “I shudder to think how I would have prepped enough meals in my tiny home kitchen to feed a family of four or more.” By cleaning up his diet and increasing his physical activity, Ryan was able to drop over fifty pounds, which he’s kept off for over two years. He also successfully quit smoking, and while you may occasionally find him enjoying decadent roasted beef marrow bones with sourdough crostini (his favorite recipe), most of his diet consists of “lean proteins, fresh vegetables, and starches like quinoa that are high in protein.” “Cooking healthy is easy,” he says, “the hard part is worrying about the prep, portion control, and cleaning up afterwards.” He hopes that sharing his experience with getting fit and making healthier food choices will help Nashvillians eat well and live better. * * * Want to sign up for Eat Well Nashville? Check out our menu! Simply pick your meals, delivery day, and pay, and we’ll take care of the rest.