Chef-Owner Ryan McCaskey
Chef-Owner Ryan McCaskey
A native of Saigon, Vietnam and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, 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. 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.
He 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 at the acclaimed Tuttaposto under Spiaggia’s Tony Mantuano. He then accepted a position as sous chef and pastry chef, at age 20, at Goose Cove Lodge in Deer Isle, Maine. After graduating, McCaskey moved to Wisconsin, accepting a position as Chef de Cuisine and Pastry Chef at the Black Locust in 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, to broaden 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. In 2007, McCaskey was the Executive Chef at the four-star Courtright’s (Willow Springs, IL).
Acadia in Chicago opened in late 2011 and has since garnered accolades from both local and national sources. The most noteworthy accolades in the 7+ years since opening have been a Michelin star after nine months of being open. Acadia received its second Michelin star in 2016. Acadia also has held a 5- Star rating from AAA since 2013. Other awards have been “Best New Restaurant” Jean Banchet Awards 2012, and six Semi-finalist nominations for Best Chef Great Lakes by James Beard Foundation. In 2019 Forbes Travel Guide has given Acadia four stars.
Chef McCaskey and his team from Acadia are excited to open Acadia House Provisions in Stonington, Maine. Stonington has been a long time “second home” for McCaskey and his family. The casual concept will be a nice juxtaposition to the high end restaurant in Chicago.
Consulting Sommelier Scott Tyree
Scott Tyree is a Maine-based Master Sommelier and wine consultant.
A 25-year veteran of the wine industry, Tyree started his career at Chicago’s bustling Shaw’s Crab House before being offered the position of Wine Director at Tru, alongside James Beard Award winning chefs Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand. During his eight-year tenure at Tru, he received many accolades including being twice chosen as Best Sommelier by the Jean Banchet Awards (a peer-given award by Chicago restaurant industry members); a James Beard Semi-Finalist for Outstanding Wine Service in 2004; Wine Spectator’s Grand Award 2004; and Best New Wine List from Food and Wine in 2001.
In 2007, Tyree joined Hart Davis Hart, an internationally recognized fine wine auction house, as a wine buyer and marketing specialist.
In 2009, after a return to the restaurant floor as the Wine Director of Michelin-starred Sepia Restaurant in Chicago, Tyree was once again chosen as Best Sommelier by the Jean Banchet Awards for an unprecedented third time.
As a sommelier and consultant, Tyree has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit and Wine Spectator. In April of 2019, he earned the Master Sommelier Diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers becoming only the 257th person in the world to achieve the designation. He resides in Freeport, Maine.
Bar Program Director Michael Simon
A beverage professional with a propensity for the culinary arts: Michael Simon brings together a diverse, formidable, and authentic skill-set to a very crowded field. In the “early days” (mid 2000’s), he cut his teeth captaining at some of Chicago’s premier fine-dining restaurant. Falling in love with business, feeling an innate bond to its high-energy and overall madness, he unoriginally esteemed to be a restaurateur… one day.
Developing a strong understanding / passion for all things culinary, Michael made a point to stage in every kitchen he captained at that they’d allow. Insatiable for knowledge, he began to study wine, eventually leading to formal training from the Court Of Master Sommeliers methodology. These two hobbies-turned-obsessions would eventually shape his career in the decade to come.
In 2009, he found his first true mentor in Chef Graham Elliott Bowles. Starting as a captain at Chef Graham Elliott’s eponymous restaurant, he worked tirelessly, promoted many times over from wine-steward, all the way to general manager & beverage director. The following year he lead the team to their first michelin star, galvanizing a dining room that would eventually earn two. It was here Michael had the chance to go beyond the traditional confines of sommelier work via experimental tasting menu pairings. Aside from wine, he would manipulate spirits / beer, anything using the “sommelier brain” insofar as the science of food-pairings goes. Finally, the confluence of culinary-meets-beverage began to truly manifest in his body of work. Now it was time to focus solely on beverage; in cocktails, Michael had found a niche where he could essentially “cook” in a way that allowed his sommelier talents to flourish in a much more satisfyingly creative manner.
He made the tough choice to leave Graham Elliott in 2011 to immerse himself creating bar programs. Later that year, he would meet his greatest collaborating partner in Chef Ryan McCaskey as he was about to open his groundbreaking fine- dining restaurant ACADIA. Michael signed on as opening bar director, helping ACADIA to one of the most critically-lauded and successful openings in recent Chicago history. Ultimately Chef McCaskey’s relentless pursuit of excellence truly provided the venue for Michael to reach new heights, redefining the breadth & scope of what a bar program can strive for.
Before returning to ACADIA (now a proud recipient of two Michelin stars) as beverage director in 2016, Michael took on many marquee projects between consulting and full-on residency to further advance his experience in beverage. Such venues include QUI in Austin (under former Top Chef & JBF winner Paul Qui), Carriage House (former Esquire Best New Restaurant), Celeste (Top-10 High Volume Cocktail Bars via Tales Of The Cocktail), the Wit Hotel, The Blanchard (2015 Chicago Magazine Restaurant of the Year). These days, Michael continues to collaborate with Chef McCaskey, opening Acadia House Provisions in Stonington, Maine in 2019. He resides in Chicago’s west loop with his lovely wife Renee, and beautiful baby Rhys Raiden.
Michael’s work has been featured in: The Chicago Tribune, Timeout Chicago, Chicago Magazine, CS, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, Bon Appetit, Mandarin Quarterly, VH1 Morning Buzz w/Carrie Keagan, PLATE Magazine, Texas Monthly, and much more!