“The Centered Chef” Ryan Hutmacher
Founding Partner & CEO
Chef Ryan co-founded Centered Chef in 2005. Although his chef jacket defines his line of work, he is also a passionate ambassador of wellness, creatively combining the culinary arts with nutrition. His “clean, simple and sexy” cooking style is rooted in functional, natural ingredients, harmonized with texture, convenience and nutrition.
Recently named “The New Face of Healthy Cooking”, Chef Ryan won the nationally televised cooking competition “The Search for the Weight Watchers Chef” on ABC’s The CHEW. After the six week competition, Chef Ryan became the First-Ever Consulting Chef for Weight Watchers. Aside from his work as the Centered Chef, he now uses his unique point of view as a culinary expert and consulting spokesperson for the world’s most successful weight loss company, connecting people to healthy food experiences.
Chef Ryan's own personal story began more than 10 years ago. After a lengthy personal struggle, he sought to re-invent his career as well as his lifestyle. In his words, "I was at my physical and mental worst. At age 24, I was 5'7" and weighed 235 pounds. My doctor wanted to prescribe anti-depressants, blood pressure & cholesterol medications. This was compounded with the fact I was deemed a pre-Type 2 diabetic, had asthma and smoked cigarettes. Something had to change!"
In an effort to rekindle his passions in life, Chef Ryan enrolled in culinary school at Chicago's Kendall College. Soon after, he moved to France where he apprenticed under Chef Jean-Jacques Galliffet at his restaurants La Cerisaie, Auberge de la Valloire, and Le Moulin. It was this experience of cooking natural, regional ingredients that began to mold Chef Ryan's understanding of pure food and its implications on his own health.
With his new knowledge, focus, and passion, Chef Ryan underwent a physical and mental transformation. He found a new balance in his life and eventually attained something that had seemed out of reach for many years – a healthful state. Chef Ryan continues to maintain his personal health by actively practicing yoga, participating in cross-training, marathons, triathlons, and even carries the title of Ironman. He wants to share his story and personal experiences with others, as he's lived on both ends of the health spectrum. He truly understands what it takes to change a lifestyle and to become happier and healthier.
Chef Ryan is actively involved in his community. He works alongside countless agencies, officials, and organizations that focus on prevention and maintenance of health epidemics like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Chef Ryan's expertise has been featured regularly on local and national networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, WCIU, CLTV and WGN, where he showcases functional ingredients that can be prepared both easily and healthfully. He's been recognized for his entrepreneurship with feature stories by Crain's Business Chicago, and was recognized as the winner of the "Viewer's Choice" award for "Crain's: A Day In in the Life of an Entrepreneur" contest. He was also recently named as a BizBash Magazine 2014 Innovator of The Year. Chef Ryan is a contributor to USA Triathlon's Fuel Station Column and has been featured in publications like Good Housekeeping, Men’s Health, Competitor, Triathlete, Chicago Athlete Magazine and Diabetes Forecast, for his expertise in food and nutrition.
Chef Ryan holds a B.S. in public relations from Illinois State University, with a minor in Sociology, and graduated at the top of his class with an A.S. from the culinary arts program at Kendall College.
For more on Chef Ryan's vision, be sure to watch his amazing Ironman documentary.
Sara Haas – Adjunct Staff
Chef Sara is a professionally-trained chef and registered and licensed dietitian with Centered Chef. Inspired by her excitement and passion for healthy eating, she stands firmly behind the company philosophy of eating well to live well.
Sara grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her love of food inspired her to attend Indiana University and earn a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. Upon graduation, Sara went on to complete a year-long internship at the University of Massachusetts. While there, she worked in the sports nutrition department and provided nutrition counseling for the men’s and women’s collegiate teams. She gained clinical experience at Bay State Memorial Hospital and community nutrition experience at Longview Public Middle School.
Upon completing her internship, Sara decided to move to Chicago to begin her career. She passed the certification exam to become a licensed and registered dietitian. She went on to work as a Specialist in Clinical Nutrition for the University of Illinois Medical Center, followed by several years working as a Consultant Dietitian for Roche Dietitians.
Realizing not all of her dreams had been fulfilled, Sara set her sights on culinary school. She attended The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Le Cordon Bleu Program and graduated at the top of her class. She began her career at Trotter’s To Go, a carry-out and catering operation of the world renowned Chicago chef Charlie Trotter. At Trotter’s, Sara learned the importance of quality product, professionalism and excellence working under Executive Chef John Vermigglio.
She has been a registered and licensed Dietitian since 2002 and has worked as a dietitian in both health care facilities and health clubs. Sara is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Food and Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group. She serves as the contributing editor of Food and Nutrition Magazine, is the acting voice of “Eating Right Minute” on WBBM radio, and has made numerous appearances on local and national news networks. With all her expertise, she facilitates classes and workshops with Centered Chef. While sharing helpful lifestyle tips through her Twitter handle @cookinRD is a passion, she’s also an active runner, patient mother and loving wife.
Lyndsay Riffe – Adjunct Staff
Certified Diabetes Educator (RD/LDN)
Lyndsay's passion to advocate wellness comes from her extensive understanding of disease state management. At the age of three, Lyndsay was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It's this first-hand experience and reliance on diet and exercise that served as a catalyst for her career in dietetics.
After earning a bachelor of science in dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Lyndsay completed her dietetic internship at Loyola University-Chicago, and went on to become Registered and Licensed Dietitian. After three more years of comprehensive training, she achieved certification as a Certified Diabetes Educator.
Lyndsay is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and specialty group SCAN (sports, cardiovascular and wellness nutrition.) She is also a member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators along with its local Chicago chapter, DECAADE. In addition she is on the advisory board and an active speaker for Chicago DESA (Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association) and has worked on staff for Diabetes Training Camp and TEAM WILD. Currently, Lyndsay currently works for Medtronic Diabetes where she trains patients and health professionals about technology innovations relating to diabetes management.
As diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, Lyndsay supports groups and individuals by relating her own personal experiences in living a fulfilled life. At Centered Chef, Lyndsay not only supports clients with diabetes, but athletes in the area of sports nutrition. Lyndsay's passion for sports nutrition is evident with her participation in endurance sports. As a member of Team WILD (Women Inspiring Life with Diabetes), she completed her first Ironman triathlon, a 140.6 mile race, in September of 2011. When she is not training, she enjoys traveling, any outdoor activity, and cooking.