Executive Chef: Randy Rucker
Spicer Mansion welcomes Randy Rucker as Executive Chef. Randy believes creativity in cooking is a result of having an intimate relationship with his food sources. He believes that respect for raw product is essential and without a high level of integrity, one will not succeed. It is important not only to know where your food comes from, but how it got there in the first place. He defines luxury as having the ability to share ingredients with people that are inherently ours: resources that belong to us as a culture. These items can be native or wild and can only be found during the correct season and in the proper environment. It has been said that food is the story of life and it is imperative that we uphold our traditions by constantly referring to the past in order to secure our future. He has great admiration for the men and women who operate the farms and ranches that provide us with naturally and humanely raised animals. He believes that without their hard work and dedication, that food as we know it would not exist. Rucker says “It is my belief that great dining can exist anywhere, but if I can make a connection with food to the area’s history and heritage it reaches new heights – it becomes magical”.
Rucker’s professional career began in Rhode Island where he attended Johnson & Wales University before migrating west to California. There he developed a passion for raw ingredients while working with products like artichokes, sea urchins and wild mushrooms, which were delivered to the back door of the restaurants by the farmer or the forager. He then returned to Houston and worked for many of Houston’s most respected chefs like John Sheely, Mark Cox, and Tim Keating. In 2005 Rucker opened laidback manor with his mother Bootsie. At laidback manor, Randy received numerous awards and accolades from national press; including Food Arts Magazine and The Wall Street Journal.
Never one to limit his projects, Rucker also operated an underground supper club called tenacity and that led to the head chef position at The Rainbow Lodge. Rucker drew inspiration from an onsite garden and citrus grove. There his efforts were rewarded with four stars from Modern Luxury—not to mention a very rare four-star review (first in almost nine years) from Alison Cook at The Houston Chronicle. Rucker then returned to his hometown of Tomball to open Bootsie’s, again with his mother & was named a rising star from Starchefs.com & nominated for two James Beard awards. He then went on to open Restaurant Bramble in the Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston where the restaurant focused on Third Coast cuisine. The restaurant’s ever-changing menu showcased local farms & ranches as well as wild & indigenous food Rucker & his staff forage for daily. In the fall of 2016 Rucker moved to Martha’s Vineyard where he was hired as executive chef for State Road Restaurant. In a few short months Rucker was promoted to oversee both State Road and Beach Road restaurants as the companies Culinary Director. It was during this time when Rucker developed a passion for New England’s natural resources. While developing relationships with local fisherman on the island he was exposed to various species of shellfish, fish, and seaweeds that continue to inspire and cultivate his cooking style today.
Through a simple twist of fate, Rucker is turning the page and moving on to a new chapter in his career and life. Rucker resides in Stonington, CT with his fiancé Amanda and their cat Rufus where they spend time enjoying the outdoors and exploring the area. Rucker is inspired by his surroundings, music, and everyday life. As executive chef of The Restaurant at Spicer Mansion he hopes to translate his culinary philosophy and the passions he has explored throughout his life and career.