Richard Ruskell was born in Wakeville, Nebraska and raised in Chatfield, Minnesota. As a child he wanted to go into theatre, but always worked in kitchens. His first job was a waiter and short order cook at Ella’s Diner in Chatfield, Minnesota. After graduating with a Masters in Fine Arts at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, his career as an actor in theatre wasn’t panning out in New York City. Concerned about wasting any more time, he was one of the first to enroll into the French Culinary Institute in 1987. He actually asked pastry instructor Chef Patrick if he thought he had what it took to be a pastry chef? He grabbed Chef Richard’s hands and said “you have cold hands, you’ll do fine”.
After graduating, some of his French chef friends assisted him to stage in their home town of Cannes, France at the Le Gray d’Albion under Great Chef Jacques Chibois. He went on as sous chef de partie at the Peninsula in New York City; pastry chef at Park Bistro in New York City; pastry chef at Quisisana Resort in Lovell, Maine and pastry chef at the New York Stanhope Hotel.
In 1992, he was appointed as chef pâtissier at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona under Great Chef James Boyce. In February of 2000, the television team of Great Chefs showed up to tape Chef Ruskell for their Great Chefs of America series for the Discovery Channel.
In 2003, Chef Richard was hired as executive pastry chef at The Montage in Beverly Hills, California. Nine years later he left to start his own shop, Richard Ruskell Pastries, which he still runs today in 2016. In 2014, he took on the additional responsibility as Executive Pastry Chef at UCLA.