The Winter's Tale from Chef Ryan McCaskey at Acadia
Chef Ryan McCaskey
The Winter's Tale

The Winter's Tale from Chef Ryan McCaskeyThe Winter's Tale : The Cuisine
The complex psychology of The Winter’s Tale has inspired Chef Ryan McCaskey to combine contrasting flavors that come together for a harmonious dish. In the Hiramasa McCaskey combines smoked mayonnaise, cream beans, along with nice acid from some lemon zest counter balance with fatty lardo and creamy fish. The rich flavors are complemented with a finish of crisp English pea, with flowers and pea tendrils. The dish as a whole is presented in a theatrical manner fit for the Bard himself.

Chef Ryan McCaskeyChef Ryan McCaskey
A native of Saigon, Vietnam and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Ryan McCaskey discovered his passion for cooking at an early age. As a youngster, he would watch his grandmother recreate handed-down recipes, helping her out as he could, and his interest was piqued. He began experimenting and by age 14, McCaskey was the family cook. Lucky to have traveled extensively throughout his childhood, McCaskey was exposed to many different cultures and flavors, and to this day employs a multi-cultural approach in the kitchen.
Realizing at a young age he wanted to work professionally as a cook, as a high school junior he was one of nine pilot students to attend the Harper College Culinary Arts program. He next attended the School of the Culinary Arts at Kendall College (Evanston, IL), and while at school, worked at the three-star Greenery (Barrington, IL) and subsequently, at the acclaimed Tuttaposto under Tony Mantuano, working various stations in the kitchen. McCaskey had the foresight to learn all stations, both savory and sweet, as he knew these skills would serve him one day when he ran his own kitchen. He then accepted a position as sous chef and pastry chef – at age 20 – at Goose Cove Lodge in Maine, lauded by The New York Times as one of the best restaurants in the state. Still a student, he spent his summers cooking seasonal, regional cuisine and finished his schooling in the off-season. After graduating in 1996, McCaskey moved to Wisconsin, accepting a position as Chef de Cuisine and Pastry Chef at the Black Locust (Fish Creek). While at the helm, the restaurant was named one of the top three restaurants in the state by the Milwaukee Journal. Ryan then opted to return to Chicago, working as Chef de Cuisine at Vivere and then at the acclaimed Rushmore, where he returned to his contemporary American roots. When Rushmore closed unexpectedly (due to a fire), McCaskey took some time off, then broadened his kitchen skills staging at the four-star Trio under Grant Achatz and TRU under Rick Tramonto, as well as working at Les Deux Gras, Rhapsody and Allen’s. He next worked as Executive Chef at the Moroccan Tizi Melloul, where he garnered national media exposure. When Rushmore reopened, McCaskey returned—this time as Executive Chef—where he continued to hone his craft. In 2007, McCaskey was offered the position as Executive Chef at the four-star Courtright’s (Willow Springs, IL). In 2010, McCaskey began plans for Acadia, fulfilling a lifelong dream of opening his own restaurant. Acadia opened in late 2011 and has since garnered accolades from both local and national sources. The most noteworthy accolades in the 4 years since opening have been a Michelin Star after 9 months (retained 2013, 2014, 2015), a second Michelin Star for 2016 and a 2014, 2015, 2016 5-Star rating from AAA. Other awards have been Best New Restaurant- Jean Banchet Awards 2012 and 2 Semi-finalist nominations for Best Chef Great Lakes by James Beard Foundation.
Seeing a guest have a great experience, providing them a culinary memory, is what drives McCaskey to strive to provide the best he possibly can. McCaskey describes his style as “Simultaneously contemporary and classic. The first half of my career was rooted in classical cuisine, technique-driven, the fundamentals. Recently, my focus shifted to subtlety, layering flavors and using contemporary techniques. But one doesn’t overshadow the other—they work in harmony, balancing out one another.” McCaskey lives in the South Loop neighborhood, just up the street from Acadia.

About Acadia
Acadia was the name given to lands in a portion of the French colonial empire of New France, in northeastern North America that included parts of eastern Quebec, the Maritime provinces and modern day Maine. The word Acadia comes from the word "Arcadia", derived from the Arcadia district in Greece, which since classical antiquity had the extended meanings of "refuge" or "idyllic place."
An open kitchen and wine room reinforce the fact that Acadia is first and foremost dedicated to quality food and wine with attention to detail paid to both. A la carte and tasting menus are available, featuring McCaskey’s contemporary take on Classic American cuisine. Attentive service, contemporary classic cocktails, and a global wine list round out the offerings.
The sophisticated, elegant space of Acadia provides a perfect house for the simultaneously contemporary and classic cuisine from Chef Ryan McCaskey. Divided into a lounge space, dining room and private dining room, Acadia is comfortable and inviting, with natural elements throughout. Soaring ceilings and colors of warm neutrals, cool grays, chocolate and sage are peppered throughout the minimal space.