02/22/2012 10:30 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Child Wonder and Pierogies: A Recipe for Creating A Great Chef (Like Ryan Artim)

Chefs are some of the most passionate people I know. Think of what the great newspaper columnist, Harriet Van Horne once said, "cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."

Just ask Ryan Artim about one of his fondest childhood memories. The talented executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach remembers standing beside his father, a home economics teacher, watching and learning how to make pierogies. Says Artim, "It's how I fell in love with cooking."

Artim honed his skills at the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts and worked closely with Master Chef Lawrence McFadden. He won a gold medal when he participated in the American Culinary Federation's Culinary Super Challenge.

Now he shares his joy, overseeing various Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach ocean view restaurants including Temple Orange and Breeze. His newest baby is Angle, the hotel's sleek candlelit supper restaurant, which offers locally grown and indigenous fare including line-caught fish, and dry-aged prime beef. The mirrors, chocolate velvet walls, and onyx and amber chef's table add to the dreamy allure. (Plus, the fact that they're one of the few restaurants to serve pours of vintage 2000 Dom Perignon by the glass is awfully nice too.)

Artim is a self-described "food whisperer." Because, as he explains, "I talk to guests through food. And I'm always thinking of how to take it the next level." That means coming up with creative dishes like a terrine of sliced beets with goat cheese fritters. The butternut squash cappuccino soup is served in a giant café au lait cup because it's best sipped slowly to inhale textured layers of flavors. And there's Artim's duck confit pot pie with sweet potato and Winter Park blue cheese and foie gras.

In fact, this past December, Artim put his fierce devotion to fresh locally grown ingredients into full force when he and his staff created a killer 9-course (plus 4 dessert) feast at Swank Specialty Produce. The hydroponic farm works closely with the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach restaurants providing fresh greens, cress, produce and herbs galore. "I really love sourcing the best and freshest ingredients and staying true to what food is about," says Artim. "Plus making a guest smile is the icing on the cake."

And to think that it all started out with a boy with a passion for watching his dad make pierogies.