Ryan Pera, Executive Chef at Coltivare & Agricole Hospitality Owner Known for his thoughtful approach to cooking and strong dedication to sustainable practices, Ryan Pera prides himself on building businesses that allow him to source products from within, whether it’s vegetables grown in Coltivare’s 3,000-square-foot garden or charcuterie cured in-house at Revival Market. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate got his start in the culinary industry washing dishes in his college town. He immediately took to the business and began cooking in some of North Carolina’s finest restaurants, such as 411 West Italian Café, located in Chapel Hill. Ryan then moved to Manhattan to further his career, working under Chef Sottha Khun at the four-star Le Cirque and Chef Jonathan Waxman at Washington Park, where he was Sous Chef. In 2003, Ryan and his wife moved from New York to Houston for her medical residency; Ryan soon found work as Chef de Cuisine at the Four Seasons Hotel Houston. He landed his first Executive Chef position at 17 Restaurant in the Sam Houston Hotel, where he was revered for his modern American menu. In 2008, Ryan opened downtown Houston’s The Grove as Executive Chef. It was here that he would meet fellow restaurateur and future Agricole Hospitality business partner Morgan Weber. The duo would go on to open craft butcher shop and café Revival Market in 2011.
In 2014, Morgan and Ryan opened Coltivare, a cozy restaurant and garden inspired by Ryan’s Italian heritage and featuring the freshest Gulf Coast ingredients. As Executive Chef of the restaurant, Ryan curates an ever-changing menu of sustainably sourced dishes, many of which utilize ingredients from the restaurant’s beloved garden. Ryan was named Food & Wine magazine’s People’s Best New Chef for the Southwest region in 2015, as well as Chef of the Year at the Houston Culinary Awards that same year. Ryan was also named a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Southwest in 2018.
In 2015, the Agricole team turned to bourbon and tacos when they opened Eight Row Flint, a modern Texas icehouse. In late 2018, Ryan, Morgan, and their third business partner, Vincent Huynh, opened three brand-new concepts in East Downtown: Vinny’s for pizza by the slice or pie; Indianola, a modern Texas restaurant; and Miss Carousel cocktail lounge.
When Ryan’s not in the Coltivare kitchen, he enjoys traveling, hiking, biking, eating out at new restaurants around Houston, and cooking at home, with his wife, Lori. He also serves on the culinary board for No Kid Hungry, an organization aiming to end child hunger.