Ron Eyester of Rosebud Wins 2010 GRACE Innovator Award
Ron Eyester, Executive Chef and Owner, Rosebud, was honored at the 2010 Georgia Restaurant Associationâ€™s Crystal of Excellence Awards (GRACE) with the Innovator Award.
Ron began his career, like most in the industry, by taking a restaurant job in his teen years. And, like most everyone else in the business, he was captivated by the energy of the restaurant and developed a passion for the industry. According to Ron, the restaurant business is like a sick addiction: once you get in; itâ€™s nearly impossible to get out.
Ron grew up in New York and spent his college years in Charleston attending The Citadel. It was while working on his Masterâ€™s degree back in New York that Ron experienced an epiphany of sorts and decided that he would pursue a career in the kitchen.
After college, he spent six or seven years following food, eventually settling in Atlanta as sous chef to the original Food 101. In 2009, he purchased the Morningside location of Food 101 and reopened it as Rosebud, a reference to Jerry Garciaâ€™s guitar.
Ronâ€™s mantra is to buy local, and he consistently challenges himself to resource the freshest available products. But for him itâ€™s not just about the food, but taking the time to develop relationships that ultimately enrich the restaurant.
And that feeling stretches to the restaurant employees as well. Ron says the people are just as important as the food served, and a sense of humor, grace under pressure, and an intense love of food are all requirements for the restaurantâ€™s staff and friends.
Heâ€™s also known around town for his themed dinners, such as The White Dinner (themed around the Beatleâ€™s White Album), the Jerry Garcia Tribute (each course paired with a live Grateful Dead song), and 80s Night, a six-course dinner centered around favorite dishes from the decade.
On Saturdays, Eyester also helps run the Morningside Farmers Market, which is located next to his restaurant.
Most challenging part of career: I took a very non-conventional, non-traditional pathway into business. This made â€œgetting my food in the doorâ€ very challenging. But the biggest reward has been Rosebud.
Major trends: Casual concepts will continue to grow, â€œfarm to tableâ€ will continue to gain momentum, and social media will emerge as a dominant marketing tool.
Industryâ€™s most pressing challenges: Economy, and working with local government agencies to facilitate the process of actually opening restaurant and regulating certain aspects of our industry.
Advice to those just starting out: Stay committed, learn from other restaurants, support local, and make a personal/professional agenda that you donâ€™t stray from.
Key to success: The work ethic that I learned from my father, support from my wife, almost an obsessive level of passion and a willingness to sacrifice almost anything at any given time.