Ronspies mentions three chefs who were particularly influential to him as a young chef: Sean McDonald, Zach Bell and Dustin Ronspies.
Sean McDonald was Ronspies’ chef at Suite 160 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He credits McDonald with opening his eyes to the potential of food. Suite 160 was his first professional kitchen experience and he was impressed by McDonald's preparations and plating. It helped him to realize that he was in the right place.
Ronspies says that Chef Zach Bell taught him all about vegetables and how to cook them well. It was his experience with Bell that Ronspies credits for setting his menus apart. He points out, "I love my meats but cooking vegetables properly and uniquely is what I really enjoy doing.”
The third chef that Ronspies mentions is his brother Dustin Ronspies who is the chef/owner of Art of the Table in Seattle. He calls him his mentor, his brother and someone who would do anything for him. He says, "He’s taught me so much about cooking, eating, life and business.”
Ronspies is trying to have fun with his current approach to cooking. He wants people to be open-minded and unafraid of food. The chef likes to create dishes that play on childhood favourites like hot dogs or mac and cheese while elevating them. For example, he'd create hot dogs with seared house mortadella or interpret mac and cheese using ricotta cavatelli, a Dinah’s camembert cheese sauce and broccoli rabe with a pine nut or mustard vinaigrette and a jam.
He adds, “I like to put a lot of ingredients on the plate but its certainly not a mishmash. Every item has a purpose from sweet to salty to sour to crunchy to soft. We go for a great mixture of textures and flavors.”
Looking back at old trends also creates culinary inspiration for Ronspies. An example of this is his chicken slider with bayonnaise (Old Bay mayonnaise), fermented jalapeño and red cabbage slaw that he calls "totally killer."