• Centered Chef

Ryan Hutmacher was in sales management when he had what he calls “a quarter-life crisis”: “I was making lots of money for other people, but I wasn’t happy in corporate life.” So at 24 he quit and enrolled in Kendall College’s culinary program. After that he spent some time in France, where he came to appreciate that food could be both satisfying and healthy. “I weighed 50 pounds more at the time than I do know,” says Hutmacher, who has since gone in to compete in triathlons, a marathon, and an Iron Man competition. He worked as a caterer and personal chef for a time, then in 2008 he started Centered Chef, a West Loop culinary studio and cooking school with the motto “Educate, entertain, and inspire wellness.” There’s a waiting list for tonight’s class, Back to the Basics 101: Vegetables, but upcoming classes include Lighter Side of Pizza and Gluten-Free Baking. Centered Chef also offers combined yoga and cooking classes—for example, beginning yoga followed by knife skills. Hutmacher says the sessions usually run about $100 and are “an intensive but casual” two and a half hours long.