Chef Ryan Rondeno Shares His Favorite Pork Chop Recipe

It’s sweet & savory.

  • Category
    Eat & Drink, People
  • Written by
    Kara Mickelson
  • Photographed by
    Shane O’Donnell

When he is in the kitchen, amid the soft sounds of R&B and jazz, professional chef Ryan Rondeno is the quiet behind the storm. He is totally focused on creating beautiful food with ease and precision. It’s the result of years of culinary experience, Southern charm and attention to detail.

“I’m inspired by traditional French, Italian, Southern, and Cajun-Creole flavors and techniques, but I like to craft each dish with my own signature style,” Ryan explains.

He likes to focus on “hyper-seasonality”—cooking with the freshest ingredients available. Staples always within his arm’s reach include: Poche’s Andouille sausage, crunchy garlic-chili sauce, high-end olive oils and a bountiful selection of vinegar and honey.

Working for celebrities including Ben Affleck, Common, and Will Smith, the New Orleans native brings a sunny disposition and Southern charm to his culinary endeavors. You might say he comes by it naturally. At the age of 9, he started cooking with his grandfather, also a chef and well known to locals for his gumbo and Southern soul food.

“I’m inspired by traditional French, Italian, Southern, and Cajun-Creole flavors and techniques, but I like to craft each dish with my own signature style.”

After graduating from Chef John Folse Culinary Institute in Thibodaux, Louisiana, he worked in New Orleans’ competitive food scene. Immersed in Haute Southern and Cajun-Creole cuisine, he learned large-scale food production (500 to 600 covers a night) at the renowned Commander’s Palace. Eventually, Ryan went on to work as a saucier, butcher and sous chef with Emeril Lagasse’s corporation in Atlanta. He then moved to LA to launch his own business.

Ryan hopes to broaden his reach by sharing his recipes with his new app, Food-Culture, as well as his line of spices, which are available at

Here he shares one of his favorite pork chop recipes. “The compote is tart and tangy as the vinegar and acid from the plums create a pickled quality to the dish.”

Pork Chops with Pickled Tomato Plum Compote

Prep and cook time: 25 minutes. Serves 4

Bone-in pork chops are perfectly paired with a tomato-plum compote adding a bold burst of flavor.

  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (dried and ground into granules rather than powder)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Pickled Tomato Plum Compote

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ripe, medium-firm red plums, pitted and sliced into wedges
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine smoked paprika, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Arrange pork chops on a sheet pan and coat each side evenly with the spice mixture. In an ovenproof or cast-iron skillet, add olive oil, and heat to high. When the olive oil starts to smoke, carefully add the pork chops to the hot pan. If the pan is smaller, cook two at a time. Cook chops for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip chops over and continue to cook another 4 minutes until evenly brown.

Put all chops in the skillet and place in the oven. Cook for 4 to 8 minutes or to an internal temp of 130°. Remove from the oven and allow to rest on a plate for 5 to 10 minutes. Reserve the pan drippings.

For the “pickled” tomato-plum compote: In the same pan, add olive oil and heat to medium-high. Add tomatoes and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until skins are blistered. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly add red wine vinegar and sugar to the pan to deglaze. Add plums. Continue cooking until the liquid is reduced by half and slightly thickened. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter to the compote and stir until fully incorporated. Season to taste. Spoon equal amounts of the compote onto each pork chop before serving. Enjoy!

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