A statewide name for several year’s, Chef Ryan Cunningham of Abbott’s Grill is competing at the national level in the Hometown Breakfast Battle hosted by Thomas’ English Muffin. competing online head-to-head against 134 other chefs across the nation, Cunnigham represents the state of Delaware with his Apple Scrapple English Muffin. Over the weekend, Ryan was chosen as one of the 16 national finalists and now will compete in the quarterfinals against 8 other chefs in hopes to advance to the semi-finals against 4 chefs on October 11.
Ryan Cunningham is a Lewes native who received his Culinary Arts Degree from Johnson & Whales University in 2000. After spending time at Fusion, Nage and Bonz Steakhouse in Delaware, Cunningham joined forces with owner Kevin Reading to open Abbott’s Grill in Milford, DE in 2009. After a brief hiatus as Director of Culinary Operations at Harrington Raceway & Casino, Cunningham rejoined forces with Reading to spearhead Reading’s newest venture, Abbott’s on Broad Creek in downtown Laurel, DE. As Executive Chef at Abbott’s on Broad Creek, Cunningham focuses on putting his own unique spin on New American dishes using fresh flavors and classic French technique. Ryan is passionate about using fresh local produce from area farms when creating his seasonal, market-based menus.
“Knowing that you provided a memorable experience for someone and did your best to bring them all you had in that moment is what excites me,” commented Cunnigham when asked why he loves culinary arts. “
inspired by as a child by his grandmother’s cooking, Ryan began his career in the restaurant industry at the age of 12 as he worked in his uncle’s restaurant, Anglers in Lewes, DE, helping to sweep floors and wash dishes. When one of the line cooks became unavailable on short notice, Cunnigham jumped in and fell in love with the profession. His trademark of using local, seasonal ingredients in all of his dishes, is reflected in the invention of the Apple Scrapple English Muffin. Scrapple was a natural choice as Delaware is known for the breakfast meat. Ryan chose to use the duck egg as waterfowl is a popular sight the Delmarva peninsula. This egg also has a “larger yolk that fills all the nooks and crannies.” The dish is topped with local apples, onions and cheese.
This round of competition includes 16 chefs that will receive votes from across the nation to make it to the next round of 8 chefs. Votes can be made online at http://thomasbreakfastbattle.com.
“It is amazing to see little old Delaware get so much attention,” said Cunnigham. “It would be an incredible feeling to see this tight-knit community take the nation by storm.”