Executive chef, pastry chef extraordinaire, travel enthusiast and refrigerator magnet collector
Since graduating from Johnson County Community College, Kelly Conwell has put together a resumé with stints at such top-tier Kansas City restaurants as The Raphael Hotel, Bluestem, Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, Stock Hill and YaYa Euro Bistro.
“I learned a lot of great things at every job,” says Kelly, who joined the 715 team in Fall 2021.
Kelly’s first order of business was to focus on desserts — hardly a surprise since she trained with James Beard-nominated pastry chef Megan Garrelts of Bluestem (now closed) and Rye.
And dessert was something co-owner Matt Hyde says the restaurant neglected over the years.
“It’s nice getting back into dessert world. We were not known for it,” he says. “There was a lack of interest among leadership, but dessert is something so important to the dining experience.”
As the restaurant’s fourth chef in 12 years, she has been careful not to alienate her loyal customer base, many whom dine at the restaurant multiple times a week.
“It’s about addition, not subtraction,” she says.
When she’s not in the kitchen, Kelly loves to travel. She lived and worked in Germany \ during college.
Her favorite trip to date: South Africa.
Her next bucket-list trip: Greece.
Kelly maintains a friendly rivalry with her dad to see who will travel to all six continents first. (They both need one more!) Her favorite souvenir is a collection of over 100 refrigerator magnets.
“Who needs another shot glass or a t-shirt?” she says.
Despite her wanderlust, Kelly, a born and bred Kansan, is happy to have landed in Lawrence.
“I really love working here. It’s like a unicorn restaurant,” Kelly says. “I’ve never worked in a restaurant where owners worry about you like family and encourage you to take paid time off. They care a lot about our staff and the guest experience, and they just care a lot about people. You can really feel that family vibe.”