The Good Food Gang

As we prepare to head into a new year, we get the word on the local culinary scene from Kansas City's best chefs.

Celina Tio, Ryan Brazeal, Michael Corvino, Howard Hanna and Megan and Colby Garrelts

all photos shot at Roth Living on the Plaza

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   The editorial team at 435 Magazine is pretty good at spotting talent, if you don’t mind us saying so. Our loyal readers trust us, month after month, to spotlight the most delicious and worthy new restaurants, creative dishes and aspiring chefs. 2016 has proven a hallmark year: We’ve celebrated some highly anticipated newcomers (hello, Brown & Loe, Shio Ramen Shop and The Antler Room) and bid adieu to some old favorites (The American Restaurant transitions from a restaurant to an event space at the end of this month). As we took stock of Kansas City’s evolving culinary scene, we found ourselves recalling the best dining experiences we’ve had in it — and therein we found the subjects for our cover.

   The faces of our December issue represent the best of our city’s greatest success stories: James Beard Award-winning chef Celina Tio, owner of Julian, the Belfry, and Collection; James Beard Award-winning duo Colby and Megan Garrelts, co-owners of Bluestem and Rye; Howard Hanna, James Beard Award-nominated chef and co-owner of The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange and Ça Va; Ryan Brazeal of the lauded 3-year-old restaurant, Novel; and Michael Corvino, the Kansas City transplant who left The American Restaurant in August to begin preparations for his own place, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room.

   In the spirit of the holidays, we asked each chef to bring a dish to the table — something they would prepare for their own family or gathering — and we captured them working. This was the only quiet time for these professionals; any spare moments during our cover shoot were spent sipping yard beers, talking shop and laughing with one another.

   During our interviews with these chefs, a theme emerged. Words like “community,” “camaraderie” and “support” were echoed by everyone. The kinship that was apparent in this group, we realized, was demonstrative of the Kansas City food scene as a whole: This is not a community that pits talent against talent, but rather celebrates the achievements of its fellows.

   We took our cues from this team, whose collective achievements are astounding. Each of these individuals are poised to have an explosive 2017. We are proud to highlight the best of the best — a core group of chefs who are helping to make Kansas City a premiere culinary destination.