Kansas City, Missouri, chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts start each week with a nourishing mix of family, friends and food.
Making a festive Sunday dinner for family and friends—whether popping a roast in the oven to tuck into after church, hand-rolling fresh pasta for trays of lasagna, or tending to the barbecue in between football games—is a tradition that seems to have faded across the country. But that’s not the case at the home of Megan and Colby Garrelts, the couple behind the acclaimed Kansas City restaurants Bluestem and Rye. Both chefs grew up in the Midwest (he’s from Missouri, she’s from Illinois), an experience that not only shapes their food but also their family life.
“Sunday meals are one of the reasons I started cooking,” says Colby, a 2005 F&W Best New Chef. “We’d always gather with friends and relatives—including aunts, cousins, grandparents—which I really loved. It was the best day of the week—and still is. Though we don’t get together as much as my father would like, we do a family dinner most Sundays.”
The Sunday suppers of Colby’s youth usually meant barbecue outdoors during the warmer months, and braises, stews and chili in fall and winter. And that holds true today, though there’s a bit more variety in the meals, like when Megan experiments with Indian or Middle Eastern flavors. “Our kids [ages 7 and 10] are more adventurous now and both want to cook, so we look for ways to get them more involved. We made fondue together on a recent Sunday,” Megan says.
As in lots of American homes, table talk tends toward school, travel, politics. Unless, that is, both sets of parents are present, in which case the last topic is off-limits. “Truth is, we don’t need a lot of topics,” Megan says. “My father can fill whole conversations all by himself.”
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