Chef Ryan Hutmacher co-founded the original Centered Chef Food Studios in 2005. As Chicago’s first personal chef meal delivery company, Chef Ryan and long-time friend and fellow chef, Jill Houk, created a niche business supporting individuals with weight loss and chronic disease management through customized meal kits.
In 2010, Ryan pivoted and decided to take the company in a drastically different direction. He conceptualized an idyllic and modern culinary studio, focused on not only feeding clients his nourishing nosh, but “teaching them to fish” as well. From the tiny catering and personal chef storefront in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood to the construction of a hybrid event space and cooking school in the Chicago’s iconic West Loop, it would serve as the keystone to his culinary expression, Centered Chef Culinary Studio. It was there that the wholesome cooking philosophies joined seamlessly with onsite events encompassing everything from weddings to corporate retreats in the studio’s LOFT to team building cooking classes and workshops in the studio’s KITCHEN.
In 2015, Chef Ryan’s entrepreneurial tenacity eventually opened doors to new opportunities to evolve the Centered Chef brand while taking some time to assess his own personal wellness. Along with the momentum of winning a nationally televised cooking show and securing a partnership as a consulting chef and spokesperson for Weight Watchers, Chef Ryan made a very unexpected, yet deliberate, departure from his innovative culinary studio concept in Chicago.
Stepping away from the rigors of his typical food service operation with more than a decade of 80 hour plus workweeks, new life-lessons in personal wellness began to emerge. After ignoring the silent struggles of burnout, amidst all of the successes both locally and nationally, Chef Ryan could no longer suppress the effects of poor work-life balance and stress.
During this introspective time, Chef Ryan chose to take care of himself first, creating space to once again realign with his purpose to educate, entertain and inspire others. Along this intentional path he overcome the damaging effects that stress had on his physical and mental well-being and gained valuable insight, which further enhanced his food philosophies and fueled a new direction for his influence.
With cooking as his expression and art form, Chef Ryan sought out an opportunity to once again morph his brand into a business rooted specifically in wellness education. After his own experience with suppressing the consequences of poor work-life balance, it became apparent that America’s workforce needs more support around eating habits and stress management.
During this time, Chef Ryan successfully piloted his employee wellness programming with Weight Watchers Health Solutions over the last two years. Now, in 2017, he reemerges with the next iteration of his brand, using valuable lessons in self-care along with conscious cooking as his conduits for personal wellness.
Today, this unique educational consulting firm, simply named Centered Chef, continues the mission to educate, entertain, and inspire wellness. Through cooking and human connection, Centered Chef programs promote inclusion while supporting individual paths to personal wellness for the modern employee.