Chef Kenneth Ruud
Normanside Country Club & Grille One Six Five Restaurant
Twenty-five years of experience has without a doubt been the most valuable ingredient to Chef Ken’s grand recipe. Having been privileged to learn under a variety of talented mentor’s in a medley of different regions is one of the many elements that Chef Ken brings to the table.
Born and raised in upstate New York, Ken found a passion in cooking at a very young age. At the early age of 14, Chef Ken found a job harvesting for Lakeside Farm & Cider Mill. It was not long after that he began his first venture in the culinary field baking cider donuts for the farm. From that point on, Ken started his eclectic campaign to become a well-rounded Chef. After a series of cooking positions throughout late high school and into college, Ken secured his first role in kitchen management at Dadeo’s Restaurant & Catering, where he gained experience in fine dining with a Northern Italian influence under Rick Dadeo. He capitalized on this experience to get hired by the Marriott Corporation, where he was the Banquet Chef/Sous Chef for the Hotel in Albany that featured Ashleys, a AAA four diamond rated fine dining restaurant ran by John Marzilli.
Three years later, Ken was recruited by his former mentor to join the team at, The Van Dyke Restaurant & Brewery, where soon after his arrival he was promoted to be the Executive Chef. He held the position at The Van Dyke, for three years until he couldn’t resist the urge to pursue his passion for food and culture in the city of New Orleans. Ken was hired to be the Sous Chef at the, House of Blues, a popular chain well known for it’s savory southern Cajun flavor. The New Orleans restaurant was extremely diverse with a la carte operations that handled over 2,000 covers in a day on occasion and a music club that housed 1,500 people. He planned and executed events for numerous celebrities, mainly athletes like football great, Terry Bradshaw, who once held a party with over 3,000 in attendance. Ken worked there for 2 years taking in the scenery and culture, which undoubtedly contributed to his culinary development.
In 2002, Ken was recruited by Mary Jane’s Restaurant, in East Hampton, NY to take on a role as Executive Chef for the full service fine-dining restaurant. The restaurant rapidly made a name for itself by expanding off site catering programs, coordinating events for some of the wealthiest clientele in the area. Three years of seasonal ups and downs that are commonly associated with most vacation destinations, coupled with being recruited by a winery and resort in Texas resulted in relocation that would prove to add a new flavor and style to Chef Ken’s repertoire. At the Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Chef Ken gained experience in pairing his authentic style with different wine varietals. Knowing how to properly compliment a dish with the appropriate wine is an art form mixing balance and creativity that is used by anyone who wishes to master the culinary world.
When the economy began to suffer, the bed & breakfast Villa’s and winery resort felt the effects as well. Fearing the unknown, Ken sought out a new opportunity and landed in Portland, Oregon a “foodie-city” seemingly on the rise. It was a different role for him being a start up operation specializing in high end gourmet corporate catering. He built the program, from the ground up, but ultimately felt the need to move back to the capital region where his family and roots were located.
In 2011, Ken was hired to work at Normanside Country Club, becoming the Executive Chef of the banquet and a la carte operations. He was entrusted with the opportunity based on his qualifications and experience. Ken along with the team at Normanside, transformed the venue to become a dining destination within the capital region. Chef Ken’s commitment to his work is a proven formula for success and the community at, Normanside Country Club and Grille One Six Five, considers themselves fortunate to have such a talented individual and resource as part of the team.