Spindletop Restaurant

Chef LaRoche and Sommelier Aaron Sherman


Ryan LaRoche
Executive Chef

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.

Sean Pharr
Chef de Cuisine NoMI Kitchen

NoMI Kitchen and Park Hyatt Chicago are pleased to announce that Sean Pharr has joined the culinary team at NoMI Kitchen as Chef de Cuisine. Working closely with Executive Chef Ryan LaRoche and a talented team of cooks, Pharr's palpable enthusiasm for great food and energetic persona comes as a welcome addition to NoMI Kitchen.

Far from the expected, Pharr's journey to NoMI Kitchen began at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, where he studied music as a percussionist. An initial interest in food quickly developed into a passion, and he soon shifted his focus from music to cooking. Pharr changed his life plans and immediately enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in Minnesota. Upon graduation in 2002, Pharr apprenticed at Harvest, in Madison, Wisconsin, a modern French-American restaurant where locally sourced, seasonal ingredients are the focus of each dish. Striving for excellence, Pharr began to lay the groundwork for a career that involved constant opportunities to grow as a chef.

In 2005, Pharr relocated to Chicago, accepting a position at TRU -Rick Tramonto's hub of culinary talent- where he worked with Joel Dennis and Laurant Gras. It was also at TRU that Pharr first encountered Ryan LaRoche, the current Executive Chef at NoMI Kitchen, who would later reach out to Pharr for NoMI Kitchen. In 2006, Pharr was asked to help open a casual dining concept, but soon started to miss the fine dining experience). Wanting to pick up where he left off, Pharr moved to the Blue Water Grill in 2007 as Sous Chef, where his creative input was greatly valued. In 2009, Pharr was sought out to become a Sous Chef at LEYE's Osteria Via Stato, which he accepted, and eventually led to a tour of Italy where he expanded his knowledge of traditional Italian cuisine.

Returning state-side and inspired, Pharr was approached by LaRoche, who presented the opportunity to work at NoMI Kitchen. Pharr's enthusiasm for cooking, and his ever evolving innovative approach will undoubtedly add a dazzling facet to NoMI Kitchen.

Meg Galus
Pastry Chef

Meg Galus, the celebrated 2011 Chicago Rising Star, serves as the Pastry Chef at NoMI Kitchen. Working closely with Executive Chef Ryan LaRoche, Galus uses her classic techniques combined with the innovative palate selections to enchant the NoMI Kitchen dessert menu.

Starting her career in her parent's dining room, Galus created a "local" restaurant complete with daily menus, freshly prepared cuisine, and a strict policy against "dining and dashing." It is here that Galus' desire for her guests to feel an immediate connection and a sense of excitement about her food was born. Destined to become a pastry chef, Galus receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Arts before graduating from the French Pastry School in Chicago in 2005. While in school, Galus worked as an intern at Vanille Patisserie in Chicago.

During her time at TRU, Galus sharpened her skills, working through the ranks from cook to pastry chef in the span of two years. While there, she quickly gained notoriety most visibly with her Chocolate Bar dessert featured on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." She also met and worked with Ryan LaRoche, current executive chef at NoMI Kitchen. Taking her dessert experience to the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower as executive pastry chef in June 2010, Galus made the switch from fine dining to hotel, where she managed pastry for banquets, catering services, room service, as well as the hotel's modern French restaurant, Café des Architectes.

Galus was recognized as a Rising Star by Starchefs in 2011 and named one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs of 2012 by Tasting Table. Galus recently placed as a semi-finalist in Valrhona's C3 International Dessert for Restaurants competition. In 2012 Galus was selected as one of the 50 pastry chefs in the running for Food & Wine's Best New Pastry Chef issue.

Since 2009, Galus has been featured as a guest chef on Holland America Cruise lines, and was invited to conceptualize and execute the desserts and mignardises at two James Beard House dinners. Nominated for a Jean Banchet Best Rising Pastry Chef Award in both 2009 and 2010, as well as Pastry Chef of the year in 2011, she also placed third in the first Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition and is featured in the Emmy-award winning documentary about the event. Her desserts have also been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Today's Chicago Woman, Chef's Connection, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Home & Garden, Cocoaroma, Plate, and Dessert Professional.

Galus - an admitted perfectionist - is content whiling away the hours crafting pastries that combine a gentle twist of French technique with the comfort of familiarity. Her belief that "pastry sustains the soul" shines through her creations, eliciting the joy of surprise with her pastry. Undoubtedly, Galus' passion for French cuisine and her insatiable drive to provide a truly inspired experience adds another exciting dimension to NoMI Kitchen.