Washington State Chef's
Member Spotlight - January 2010
Tamas Ronyai has brought extensive international experience to Seattle. Starting in Budapest, Hungary he completed his international chef’s papers and apprenticed at the famous Hotel Gellert. Working with foreign embassies he became exposed to cuisines of all nations. The urge to travel was answered by the Hilton Hotel chain that sent him to Rome, London, Bangkok, Jakarta, Bali, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. This experience has created a truly international flair. The next stop on his travels was supposed to be one year working at The Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, Canada. Canada captured his heart with its variety and cultural diversity. While in Ottawa he managed to open Ottawa’s first hotel kosher kitchen to great reviews and worked for the Governor General (Queen Elizabeths representative) at Rideau Hall catering to Head’s of State from around the world. He also met wife, Fiona, while working at the Chateau Laurier and they married in Scotland in 1991.
Toronto was developing a creative dining scene so that was the next stop on his culinary journey. The Studio Café at The Four Seasons hotel was a great introduction to the city and he was soon lured away to open Twiggy Café – a trendy restaurant on Queen Street West across from CITY TV’s studios. Many entertainment stars became regulars. The private club sector was competing with the many great restaurants that were opening in the downtown core. The Ontario Club recognized this and convinced Tamas to join them to “kick their menu into the 21st Century”. The members loved it and supported his competitive nature by helping to send him to GAST EXPO ’98 in Luxembourg with Team Ontario where they gained international recognition and a Gold medal. He also competed in the Master Chef competition for Team Canada where they achieved a silver medal. He completed his sommelier certificate and became involved with the local wine scene providing members with great winemakers dinners.
In 1999 The Vancouver Club enticed him across the country to the west coast where he became expanded culinary offerings with great pastry delights for Vancouver’s social and business elite. During this time the trained in chocolate and pastry at the Valhrona Chocolate Academy and Laduree Pastry Shop in France. Tamas called Canada home for more than 18 years and was always active in the local chefs associations. He was first Vice President of The BC Chefs Association where he initiated Vancouver’s first Chocolate competition “Salon du Chocolat”. It is now a key event on the Vancouver culinary calendar.
In 2007 a new challenge presented itself and Tamas made the move to Seattle to takeover the kitchens at Safeco Field. It was a new experience and he enjoyed the challenge of providing high quality and healthy food options to the fans of The Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in the Diamond Club, the All Star Suite and other corporate suites focusing as much as possible on local products.
Teaching the new generation of culinarians is something he takes seriously. He has taught and developed courses at Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon, France, George Brown College in Toronto and The Arts Institute in Vancouver. He trained several apprentices at Safeco Field in Seattle. He also believes in giving back to the community. He worked with the Salvation Army to establish a culinary program for the disadvantaged. He has been a guest chef at Farestart and contributed to the Bainbridge Island Library fundraiser.
After 3 seasons at Safeco and much soul searching, he realized that the previous job that he enjoyed the most was working at private clubs. That led him to Wing Point Golf and Country Club on Bainbridge Island.
In 2022, an opportunity presented itself to open a chocolate boutique in Downtown Winslow. Our boutique, L’Atelier, offers chocolate treats from both L’Atelier and ChocMo, along with our Drinking Chocolate and house made pastries. Tamas’ passion has always been pastry and chocolate. He trained at Valrhona and Laduree in France, Belgium, Chicago, Montreal, and New York. While in Belgium working with world-renowned chocolatiers, Tamas and his business partner Tae Tran discovered the wonders of the Brussels and Liege style Belgian waffle. Customers have traveled from far and wide to try the waffles, celebrate special occasions with stunning cakes, and take home beautiful boxes of chocolate.
Tamas is a true people person with a vast knowledge of the industry and an ability to motivate people to do their best job. Tamas, his wife Fiona, daughter Julia and son Nicholas have lived on Bainbridge Island for 3 years and look forward to many more years to come.
View his favorite recipe below…
CHICKEN TAGINE AND BEET MANGO SALAD SLIDER
Safeco Field at TASTE Washington- The chefs of Safeco Field participated at TASTE Washington at Qwest Field to promote the culinary aspects of the ballpark experience. We served 4500 portions to an eager audience. Here is the recipe for you to enjoy.
Yield: 8 Servings
Beet Mango Salad Ingredients:
- 3 raw Beets – washed, peeled and coarsely grated
- 1 Mango – peeled and cube
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 10-12 Mint Leaves
- 1Tbs chopped cilantro
- 1/2 t Salt
- 2 T Lime Juice
- 2T Plain Yogurt
- Juice of 2 oranges
- 1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Place beets and mangos in a bowl and sprinkle with icing sugar.
- Pound garlic, mint and salt in a mortar and pestle until smooth – gradually add lime juice, yogurt, orange juice and oil.
- Pour half sauce over beets and mangos and toss. Add more as needed.
Chicken Tagine Ingredients:
- 1 small chicken cut into pieces
- 1 1/4 c Water
- 1 Slice Lemon
- Pinch of Saffron Threads
- 4 Crushed Garlic Cloves
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 t Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 t Ground ginger
- 1/2 t Paprika
- 1/4 t Ground Cumin
- 7 oz. Pitted green Olives, rinsed
- 2 T Lemon Juice
- Pan sear the chicken in a medium pan in the oil, add lemon, saffron, garlic, salt,5Tbs water and half of the ginger.
- Reduce heat and cover. Cover and bake it in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Add remaining ginger, paprika and cumin and stir gently.
- Remove chicken, cut in small pieces and take out bones. Return it to the sauce (there should be approx 3/4 cup).
- Add olives and lemon juice and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Let cool.
- Place some salad on slider bun and top with chicken. MMMM…