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Class Notes


alumni


Ryan Leinonen


Chef Savors Success by Jeff Samoray


his childhood interest into a successful career. Today, he’s chef and owner of Trillium, a Denver restaurant earning rave reviews for its Scandinavian and Nordic cuisine.


W


hile other youngsters his age tuned in to “Sesame Street,” Ryan Leinonen (BA01) played with his Fisher-Price plastic cooking set and watched Julia Child. So it’s no surprise that Leinonen, 38, turned


“All my passion goes out on a plate to our guests every day,” says


Leinonen, who grew up in Brighton. “I love to see people having a great time at my restaurant while I’m working my dream job.”


Cooking Up a Career At age 16, Leinonen got a job as a dishwasher at a local


restaurant, but he always ended up helping the cooks. He earned his culinary arts degree at Schoolcraft College while working as a chef at several restaurants in the Northville-Ann Arbor area. Then he enrolled in Eastern’s hospitality management program. “I wanted a formal education in restaurant management,” he


says. “I continued pushing my culinary envelope as sous chef at The Common Grill in Chelsea while taking 16 to 21 credits a semester. I learned a lot at Eastern, and not just in the classroom. I matured and became more self-motivated. I also met my wife [Taffy] there.”


34 Eastern | SPRING 2015


All photos in this story courtesy ofRyan Leinonen


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