Colby and Megan Garrelts
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.
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Jeremy Lamb is the general manager and sommelier for rye Restaurant in Leawood, Kansas. He began his food and beverage career a number of years ago on Kansas City’s Westport Road. Starting as a bartender at a local favorite bar, the Kansas City native later moved to Plaza area restaurants in the city where he began to formulate his philosophy of pairing wine with food. He gained additional knowledge when he spent several years honing his skills in well known New Orleans restaurants. But when he returned to Kansas City, it was at Lidia’s Restaurant where his culinary education moved to an advanced level. Not only did the restaurant provide an extensive food and wine training course, but Jeremy won awards for his aptitude for customer service and sales two years in a row, which allowed him to make two trips to Italy where he immersed himself in the study of food and wine. These inspiring experiences became the core foundation for his approach to combining wines with food. Jeremy joined bluestem in 2006 as the restaurant’s general manager and sommelier. In 2012 he won KC Magazine’s Best Sommelier award for Kansas City.
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John Brogan is the chef at rye restaurant. His career in the foodservice industry began at a seafood market in a town just outside of Chicago when he was just 15 years old. He learned to butcher fish at the store and became a line cook at an area restaurant, just a year later. But after high school, he wanted to get formal culinary training and attended Johnson and Wales in Charleston, S.C. There, he received an associate degree in the culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in food service management. He spent eight years working in Charleston, including such positions as sous chef at the Hominy Grill with James Beard award-winning chef Robert Stehling.
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Bar and Dining Room Manager
Van Zarr is the dining room manager and lead mixologist for Rye. He is a native of Missouri, growing up in Belton, and he began his career in the restaurant industry at the iconic Kansas City establishment, The Golden Ox. After spending six months as a server at the Golden Ox, he learned about a new restaurant opening just off the Kansas City Plaza, Grand St. Café. There Van was asked one evening to fill in on a Martini Monday shift behind the bar. He jumped at the opportunity to master the bar, quite eager to learn more. Van began by constructing simple cocktails and developing a palate for the variety of flavors and spirits behind the bar.
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Dining Room Manager
Vincent Corpuz is the dining room manager at rye restaurant in Leawood, Kansas. He is the first in his family to enter the hospitality field and began as a restaurant busboy at age 13 in New Jersey. Later his family moved to California and he was employed by Hillstone where he worked for seven years, earning his way from a server, to trainer and finally becoming a service manager. Although his degree from California State University is in marketing, it was the restaurant industry that piqued his career interests. In California, Corpuz held managerial positions with several influential restaurant groups including Patina Restaurant Group, Sprout LA, and Post and Beam Hospitality Group.
When you ask Corpuz what brought him to Kansas City, he will tell you enthusiastically, “Love!” He met his wife at one of the California restaurants he managed, and shortly after getting married they moved to the Midwest where Corpuz began work as a general manager for Bread and Butter Concepts. When chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts invited him to join rye in 2016, he enthusiastically took them up on their offer. As in all his previous managerial positions, Corpuz will ensure guests at rye enjoy the great service that is a hallmark of the restaurant, along with great food!
Wine Director & Dining Room Manager
Taylor Tantillo is a dining room manager at rye restaurant in Leawood, Kansas. He grew up in the Kansas City area and began his restaurant career at age 14. Taylor knew early on that the restaurant industry was his passion. He moved to Fort Collins to earn his degree in Hospitality Management from Colorado State. During his college years, Taylor gained experience and knowledge in craft cocktails, specialty beers and fine wine at two locally owned restaurants, Café Vino and RARE Italian.
After completing college Taylor returned to Kansas City to be closer to his family. While working as a wine distributor he completed the Level 1 Sommelier Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts welcomed him to the team at rye in 2016. Taylor enjoys creating a memorable experience and delivering a high level of service for all of our guests!
Dining Room Manager
Kelly Hunt is a dining room manager at rye restaurant in Leawood, Kansas. She studied French and Visual Arts at The University of Notre Dame. After college, Kelly developed an interest in food and cooking. She moved to New York to complete an apprenticeship in sustainable farming at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, which fueled her interest in the culinary arts and eventually led to a pastry internship at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. There Kelly developed a love for artisanal French bread making and traditional forms of food preservation. She also gained front of the house experience working private events at the acclaimed Blue Hill in New York City. From the farm to the kitchen and onto the dining room Blue Hill served as a solid base for Kelly to start her career in the hospitality and culinary arts.
Kelly eventually returned to her home state of Tennessee to join the pastry team at the James Beard award winning Blackberry Farm. While in Tennessee, she also expanded her knowledge of wine and outstanding guest service at Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar. In the spring of 2015 she moved to Kansas City for a brief stint in graphic design, but soon realized how much she missed the hospitality industry. Kelly joined the management team at rye in the fall of 2016. She was drawn to rye’s down-to-earth focus on seasonal, farm-grown food and she is a great asset to the restaurant. Kelly is also an accomplished musician and writes songs on her tenor banjo. When she is away from the restaurant you can find her performing at various KC venues for Americana music.
Susan Kane is the event coordinator for Rye. She was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa and is a graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. She went on to receive her Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School in 2007, followed by a Legal Masters from the same institution in 2008. Kane has been in the hospitality industry from a young age. Her roles have run the gamut from host to floor manager, including nearly every front of the house position. While finishing up law school, she accepted a position as an event coordinator.
It didn’t take Kane long to realize she preferred event planning to practicing law, however she does admit that she writes more contracts for this position than she ever would working with a law firm. She will tell you that the relationships she builds helping someone plan their event is preferable to what she encountered in her attorney days. Kane loves knowing she was able to help someone successfully celebrate a special occasion and says, “If you do it right, the smile on their face after a successful event is worth any amount of stress beforehand.”
Executive Sous Chef
Ryan Williams is the sous chef at Rye. He is a native of the Kansas City area, growing up in Overland Park, Kansas. He went to Shawnee Mission East High School where he also worked at the Broadmoor Bistro, a student-run skills application at Broadmoor Technical Center in the Shawnee Mission School District. After high school, he went to culinary school at Johnson County Community College. Williams will tell you that while culinary school taught him a lot, it’s within the restaurants he’s worked in since he was 14 that he’s received some of his most important culinary training. William’s start in hospitality began with bussing and washing dishes in a small, locally-owned Italian restaurant. He eventually started cooking and running the pizza oven when he was 16, and enrolled in culinary school at age 18. At this time Williams also began working under chef Gene Deming at the Mission Hills Country Club, learning more about scratch cooking and fine dining.
Six years later Williams left the country club to work as a line cook at Bluestem. There he worked every position on the line, including pastry, mastering his culinary skills until he was promoted to sous chef in 2011. A year later he became part of the culinary team for the soon-to-be opened Rye. One of William’s favorite things about working for chefs Colby and Megan Garrelts is how they make their restaurant team a tightly knit group, like family. “I know them and they know me,” he says, “sometimes you can’t beat that.”
John Kennedy is the sous chef at rye restaurant in Leawood, Kan. He is also a Kansas native, which is appropriate for his current position where he prepares Midwestern dishes with an innovative, creative approach. He began his training in the culinary arts program at the Broadmoor Technical Center. Next, Kennedy went the Culinary Institute of America to further his background in the field that he had now selected as a career. Although he had been a kitchen supervisor in a summer camp for three years, his biggest challenge came in his position as a sous chef for six years in a Greenwich, Conn. country club where annual food and beverage sales were almost $3 million dollars. The extremely high quality standards Kennedy set there are the same level of excellence he demonstrates at rye.
Miles Kim is a Sous Chef at Rye. He grew up in Olathe, Kansas and spent a lot of time on his grandparents’ farm. Miles was interested in cooking from a young age and he gained exposure to different cuisines due to his father’s Korean heritage. Miles attended the University of Kansas to study film, philosophy and art, earning his B.G.S. in Film. Miles knew he didn’t want to live in an area that would be conducive to a career in film. While in college, he worked at Free State Brewery in Lawrence, Kansas, gaining experience in several positions in both the front of the house and the kitchen. Miles realized his passion for restaurants and soon his career would be directed into the culinary arts. He returned to school, this time attending the Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, Oregon to earn his Culinary Degree.
After culinary school, Miles returned to Kansas City and helped open Julian with chef Celina Tio, a James Beard award winner. He then spent some time in Louisiana where he fell in love with farm-to-table concepts and was introduced to Cajun and Lowcountry styles of cooking. After cooking down south Miles headed north to Chicago and spent 4 years working under James Beard award winning chef Paul Kahan at The Publican. Eventually, his love of home and desire to be close to family led him back to the Kansas City area. He worked at the Local Pig in the Westport district of Kansas City. One evening Miles came to Rye to stage in the kitchen and after 10 months as a line cook he was promoted to Sous Chef. In his spare time, Miles collects records and reads about food.
Keara Masson is the pastry chef at rye restaurant. Her interest in the culinary field began at an early age, inspired by her grandparents who owned a small restaurant called The Bucket Shop in St. Joseph, Missouri. She grew up assisting her mother in the family’s kitchen, baking special cookies and cakes for holidays and special occasions. During high school, she sought a more formal culinary education and followed her passion to the Broadmoor Technical Center for Baking and Pastry. She went on to earn her associates degree in baking and pastry at The Art Institute International in Kansas City and gained experience working as a cake decorator at Dolce Bakery. Masson’s inherent talent for merging family tradition and innovation follows her to rye, where she enjoys baking pies, cakes and delectable desserts.