After seven nominations, Bluestem's Chef Colby Garrelts took home the prize this week as Best Chef of the Midwest at the James Beard awards in New York City.
Chef Colby Garrelts is the 2013 winner of the Best Chef Midwest award from the James Beard Foundation and was named by Food & Wine Magazine as one of the Top 10 Best New Chefs in 2005. A native of Kansas City, Garrelts cooked at the American Restaurant and the Stollen Grill while attending culinary school.
Garrelts moved to Chicago in 1999, where he became the senior sous chef at the five-star, five-diamond restaurant TRU, under nationally acclaimed chefs Rick Tramanto and Gale Gand. At TRU, Garrelts honed his technical skills, developed his culinary style and met his future wife/partner Megan Schultz. Garrelts 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. On a mission to hone their skills in a smaller kitchen, Garrelts and Schultz moved to Los Angeles where Chef Colby Garrelts secured the chef de cuisine position at Röckenwagner Restaurant in Santa Monica, California.
The pair moved to Kansas City in 2003 and opened bluestem on March 15th 2004. In 2006 they expanded bluestem and opened a lounge next door to the dining room. The restaurant was named 2007 Santé Magazine Restaurant of the Year, received a 4-star rating from Kansas City Magazine and got Wine Spectator’s prestigious Award of Excellence. They opened another restaurant, Rye, in December 2012.