When John Brogan, 35, first moved to Kansas City in 2007, it was only supposed to be for a summer — and then, after working with Debbie Gold at 40 Sardines for a few months, he got a job with Bluestem. Almost nine years after coming to the city, he is now the executive chef at Rye, a restaurant in Leawood that’s owned by the same chefs who own Bluestem.
Brogan has been with Rye since 2012 when it first opened, a process in which he played a substantial role. Along with chef-owners Colby and Megan Garrelts, Brogan was in the space cleaning, organizing and figuring out what the restaurant should be like. He was the chef de cuisine when Rye opened.
What’s off your palate?
Deviled eggs. I can’t stand deviled eggs, egg salad. If I have eggs, they have to be hot. We sell a ton of them at Rye. It’s vile to me. I hate them. They’re the devil.
What’s your favorite cheap lunch?
Where’s the best place to get pho in Kansas City?
Vietnam Cafe in Columbus Park.
What’s the best thing you ate this week?
We made carne asada at home on Tuesday. It was awesome.
What’s your favorite splurge?
King crab legs.
What’s your go-to ingredient?
Burgers’ Smokehouse products like country ham, bacon, fatback.
What’s your go-to drink after a long day/night?
Miller High Life.
Is there a dream trip you’d like to take?
Somebody just asked me this the other week, too. I would have to say a road trip around the entire U.S. in a month. I’d travel the entire country on the coast, from the Northwest down to Cali all the way down in the Deep South and back up the East Coast.
Describe your culinary style in five words or less.
Sustainable, seasonal and Southern.
Which celebrity would you like to cook for?
John Bell from Widespread Panic. I would make gumbo and cornbread.
Is there anyone that’s served as a mentor or inspiration?
I do, and he’s deceased, but it would be Joseph Hewett, who kind of took me under his wing at Hominy Grill (in Charleston). I eventually took his chef job when he moved on.
What’s your kitchen pet peeve?
What’s your go-to kitchen gadget?
My 8-inch Misono chef’s knife.
What’s your favorite cookbook?
I go through a lot of them. Right now, I’d have to say The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen.
What’s something you love to make?
Fresh fish and vegetables on the grill is really my favorite thing to do, especially in the summer.
What’s your favorite condiment?
I’m not much for condiments, but Crum’s Heirlooms tomato ketchup is amazing.
What’s your favorite fast food meal?
I don’t eat fast food.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Jude’s rum cake.
What’s a culinary trend that you think needs to end?
Food trucks. It’s beat. Kansas City, and I’m not knocking Kansas City, but we catch on to trends later than the rest of the country. It’s kind of like they come here last. I don’t think it needs to end, but it’s tired.
What’s a culinary trend you wish would catch on in KC?
Caribbean roti stands. It’s like a chickpea kind of tortilla that they fill with seasoned chickpeas and then you have like 100 different garnishes. I’ve got down to the Eastern Caribbean a handful of times, Jamaica, and it’s something that’s simple street food in the Eastern Trinidad and Caribbean. It’s everywhere, and it’s really good and simple. It’s fun. It’s something I’ve never seen here in the states.
What’s your favorite barbecue in KC?
Joe’s KC. My wife is actually their catering director. And they’re a partner in Rye. But besides that, that’s the most consistent I think.