The Garrelts: Bluestem’s Culinary Powerhouse Couple
Since opening in March 2004, chefs Colby and Megan Garrelts’ dream of a restaurant, Bluestem, has been making waves in the Kansas City culinary landscape. Their dedication to using the highest quality ingredients available as well as their attention to detail and high level of hospitality has not just garnered them legions of fans, but critics have taken notice as well; the restaurant earned four stars from the Kansas City Star and KC Magazine, Colby was named one of America’s 10 best new chefs for 2005 by Food & Wine, and Colby just won the 2013 James Beard Award for Best Chef Midwest.
Executive chef Colby was named executive sous chef under Rick Tramonto at the legendary Chicago restaurant TRU in 1999, where he met Megan, who was pastry chef there at the time. They both then moved to Las Vegas, where they both worked under Charlie Palmer at Aureole. A desire to work in a more intimate setting then took them to Los Angeles, where Colby served as chef de cuisine at Röckenwagner in Santa Monica and Megan was executive pastry chef at the Getty Center Restaurant.
After two years in California, however, they got bit by the bug once again and decided to return to the Midwest to open their own fine dining restaurant. Two years after opening, additional space was needed so they built a new lounge next to the dining room, and the rest is history. If you go, make sure you try either the five- or 10-course tasting menu, and, if there’s still room left over, the dessert tasting menu.