Executive Chef Ryan Shields brings a humble yet ambitious culinary perspective as head of the kitchen at restaurateur Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s newest restaurant venture, Bullfight. A native of Bucks County, Penn., Shields is no stranger to the hospitality industry, his family having been in the business for half a century. Throughout his career, Shields has 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, from Massachusetts all the way to Florida, gaining a wealth of experience in every kitchen position, from line cook to saucier to sous chef, even helping to open John’s Island Club, a platinum-rated private restaurant club in Vero Beach, Fla.
Working in the kitchens at a variety of restaurants has provided Shields with a knowledge of cooking in several different culinary styles, including French, Italian and Spanish, and he’s even mastered the art of handcrafting small plates and tapas, a skill perfectly suited to his position at Bullfight.
Upon moving to Austin in 2012, Shields applied for a position at Chef Cirkiel’s Olive & June, where he worked his way from line cook to sous chef, working closely with Executive Chef Justin Rupp. Now, as the executive chef of Bullfight, Chef Cirkiel’s new tapas-style restaurant, Shields is collaborating 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 Chef Cirkiel’s cuisine is known for.