Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all” –Harriet Van Horne
Chef Ryan LaRoche’s cooking philosophy has been forged through years of work in the country's leading restaurants where he honed his craft creating flavorful, ingredient-focused dishes. He immersed himself in the art of impeccable, quality-driven food from his time at some of Chicago’s top restaurants including Tru, and his experience with legendary French chef Joël Robuchon when he was Executive Sous Chef at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas. These and other acclaimed kitchens have contributed to his philosophy of local, flawless ingredients and fresh, creative cooking.
As Chef de Cuisine of NoMI, LaRoche helped garner many distinctions including a Michelin star in 2010, recognizing NoMI as one of the best restaurants not only in Chicago and Illinois, but in the world. That same year, he was named Best New Chef by Chicago Social Magazine.
LaRoche will continue to maintain his passion and commitment to the quality, service and culinary vision he is known for. The NoMI menu
will remain rooted in high quality flavors and ingredient-driven dishes while highlighting the best products from farmers, cheese makers, ranchers, bakers and artisans from the surrounding region.
Most recently, a semifinalist in the Valrhona C3 competition this year.
Before getting her official start, the always-focused 2011 Chicago Rising Star Pastry Chef Meg Galus began her culinary career in her parents’ dining room. And we don’t just mean some innocent Easy-Bake-style tinkering. Galus started a bona fide restaurant for her parents, complete with daily menus, freshly prepared cuisine, and a strict policy against “dining and dashing.” Her mother, who passed away eight years ago, continues to inspire Meg’s pastry career. ”My mother was a very humble woman who regularly demonstrated simple and kind acts to make the others around her happy.” Influenced by mother’s generous spirit, Galus works to delight guests through her desserts. In her opinion, “pastry sustains the soul.” She wants her guests to feel an immediate connection with her food and experience a sense of familiarity, deliciousness, and excitement.
Galus is an Illinois native and graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts. She pursued her lifelong dream of becoming a chef and graduated from The French Pastry School in Chicago in 2005, and Galus remains a strong devotee of her alma mater. She was nominated for a Jean Banchet Best Rising Pastry Chef Award in 2009 and 2010, was a featured guest chef on Holland America Cruise Lines, and conceptualized and executed the desserts and mignardises for a James Beard House dinner featuring Tru chefs.
Galus served as the pastry chef at TRU, Chicago’s landmark fine-dining restaurant. She earned the restaurant notoriety and acclaim during her three-year tenure, including a feature on The Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” with her Chocolate Bar dessert. Chef Galus also earned her pastry stripes while working at Vanille Patisserie in Chicago.
Prior to joining Park Hyatt Chicago, where she can be found today, Galus worked at Sofitel Chicago Water Tower in June 2010 as Executive Pastry Chef of the hotel and of its modern French restaurant, Café des Architectes. Though the restaurant’s desserts are created using classic French technique, they exhibit a fresh twist in her local fruit-inspired desserts.
Aaron began his professional career as a classical musician, but quickly discovered his passion for all things beverage. He spent several years focused on coffee before discovering his love for wine. He brought his passion to the services of patrons in a boutique wine shop for over 5 years where he honed his palate tasting hundreds of wines every week. In 2007 he was invited to join the wine staff of the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago, where he served as Wine Steward in the award-winning Avenues Restaurant for two-and-a-half years.
Having been awarded his Diploma from the International Sommelier Guild (ISG) and the rank of Certified Sommelier for the Court of Master Sommeliers, Aaron was asked to be a faculty member for the ISG, where he conducts wine education classes in Chicago. He was a semi-finalist in the 2010 TopSomm competition where he competed among the top young sommeliers in the country. Aaron lives in Chicago with his wife, Jelena, a professional musician, and their dog, Bear.