Chef Rob MaGee of Q39 Interview
Rob Magee got hooked on cooking at an early age and took his skills to the highest level with a degree from the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America. Working his trade in some of the finest kitchens across the country, he would always make it a point to honor the tastes of whatever region he was in. So when he moved to Kansas City, he naturally became obsessed with mastering the glories of KC barbeque. While still working as executive chef for Hilton, he assembled a competition team in his spare time called the Munchin Hogs. They didn’t just enter contests for fun, they ascended to the highest level of competitive barbeque in events across the country against the toughest teams — the real major leagues. Over a ten-year span they won a whole array of competitions and national championships. And Rob never tired of learning, honing his skill as an explorer of tastes and flavors, devising original sauces and rubs, always experimenting further and always using only the finest scratch ingredients. Competition barbeque is distinctive in that it’s all about serving food to finicky judges at its optimal window of perfection. Techniques for maintaining moisture, for example, had to be mastered that go far beyond the capabilities of most barbeque joints. Throughout his career of working for others, Rob had a habit of jotting down ideas for that dream restaurant he would open one day. After awhile, he realized he was having such joy and success with his obsessive hobby why not bring his award-winning, major league competition barbeque to the public in a restaurant concept he would totally control? There was lots of barbeque in Kansas City but there was nothing like this — the pursuit of perfection from a classically trained chef with an entire menu created from scratch in an open kitchen designed just for the purpose.