Executive Chef Ryan Shields brings a humble yet ambitious culinary perspective as Executive Chef at Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s newest restaurant venture, Bullfight. A native of Bucks County, Penn., Shields is no stranger to the hospitality industry; his family has been in the business for half a century. Throughout his career, Shields spent time and effort developing an understanding of how food and drink provide a sense of camaraderie and community among diners.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America with an associate degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in professional studies of culinary arts management, Shields worked his way through restaurants along the Eastern Seaboard gaining a wealth of experience in every kitchen position he held, from line cook to saucier to sous chef, and even helped to re-open John’s Island Club, a platinum-rated country club in Vero Beach, Fla.
Working at a variety of restaurants provided Shields with a knowledge of cooking several different cuisines, including French, Italian and Spanish. His diverse experience also enabled him to master the art of handcrafting small plates and tapas – a skill perfectly suited to his position at Bullfight.
Upon moving to Austin in 2012, Shields joined the team at Chef Cirkiel’s Olive & June, where he worked his way from line cook to sous chef, and worked closely with Executive Chef Justin Rupp. Now, as the Executive Chef at Bullfight, Chef Cirkiel’s new tapas restaurant, Shields collaborates with Chef Cirkiel on all recipes, ensuring that every dish from each section on the menu—from snacks and cheeses to embutidos, seafood and meats—is prepared with the finesse and attention to detail that has become a landmark of all Chef Cirkiel’s restaurants.