Owners / Chef & Pastry Chef
Megan and Colby Garrelts are the chef-owners of rye (Leawood, KS), and Bluestem, a 2015 James Beard Semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant, in Kansas City. Chef Colby is a 2013 James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Midwest award winner, 2005 Food & Wine Top 10 Best New Chef and has had his cuisine showcased in the Wall Street Journal and on the August 2013 cover of Saveur Magazine. Chef Megan is a James Beard Semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef and her recipes have been featured in numerous national publications including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Wall Street Journal and Saveur.
Bluestem Restaurant opened in 2004 and showcases Colby’s Progressive American Cuisine and Megan’s New Varieties of American Desserts. In 2006 the Garrelts expanded Bluestem and opened their lounge next door to the dining room. A highlight of dining at Bluestem is savoring the five or ten-course tasting menus and the decadent dessert tasting menu. With Bluestem, the Garrelts offer a flavorful toast to fine-dining and a marriage of outstanding culinary skills. Their first cookbook, bluestem, the cookbook, which was released in fall 2011, showcases the cuisine featured at the restaurant.
In December of 2012, Colby and Megan opened rye restaurant which celebrates the Midwestern foods they grew up eating. These chefs are proud to be from the Midwest and rye gives them the opportunity to showcase dishes that they have enjoyed with several generations of their families. Their cuisine takes traditional dishes and gives them a chef’s point of view, while preserving the important heritage of the dish. In spring 2015, the chefs’ second cookbook, Made in America, debuted in bookstores.
Chef Colby Garrelts is a Kansas City native and attended culinary school there. He soon developed a taste for big city cuisine and moved to Chicago in 1999, where he became the senior sous chef at the five-star, five-diamond restaurant TRU. There Garrelts honed his technical skills, developed his culinary style and met his future wife/partner Megan Schultz.
Anxious for additional experience, Colby moved with Schultz to Las Vegas where he assisted chef Jean Joho in managing his Eiffel Tower property in the Paris Hotel and later joined Schultz at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Garrelts and Schultz moved to Los Angeles where chef Colby Garrelts secured the chef de cuisine position at Röckenwagner Restaurant in Santa Monica, California. After 2 years in Los Angeles, Garrelts and Schultz were eager to open their own restaurant. Now married, they returned to Kansas City in 2003 and the following year opened Bluestem.
Megan Schultz began her culinary education at age 15 in Naperville, outside Chicago. At an early age, Schultz met her first professional chef and soon after was learning the basics of restaurant and kitchen operations in several area restaurants. While working in restaurant pastry kitchens, she decided to focus her career on baking and pastry and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, in 1998. Schultz fulfilled her CIA externship at the Park Avenue Café in New York City under pastry chef Richard Leach, a recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Pastry Chef Award.
After graduating from the CIA in 2000, Schultz moved back to Chicago to work at TRU. This outstanding restaurant raised Megan’s level of professional standards and helped formulate her personal vision of fine pastries. The pastry staff was given the freedom to develop menu items and this let Schultz create pastries in her own style.
Chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts have combined their culinary talents and careers into two outstanding restaurants and diners in the Kansas City area have been the lucky recipients. The Garrelts now have a family that includes two young children, who are already showing early interest in the culinary field!