His students aren't sous-chefs or aspiring restaurateurs. They range in age from their twenties to their sixties; they're college kids or office drones, but all of them have a simple desire for kitchen-related fun. Chef Hogan is laid-back and unfussy, which makes him an ideal mentor for the casual foodie.
Hogan, who is the Chef de Cuisine at Lidia's, began his schooling at the UMKC Conservatory -- of Music. A Rotary scholarship sent him to Germany, where he landed in the clutches of a luxuriously epicurean host family. In Germany, Hogan ate like a king.
He returned a changed man, intent upon opening a restaurant. However, he says with a laugh, "It doesn't work that way, apparently." Instead, he took a job at the Classic Cup. When the Cup changed hands, he headed out West, working his way up the coast in kitchens from Los Angeles to Seattle. He returned to Kansas City to make chocolates at Andre's -- which more than qualifies him to lead the candy class he'll be teaching this week.
Although Hogan doesn't care if his students follow his recipes exactly, he's determined to infuse them with his passion for the experience of taste.
The fig vinaigrette? Hogan wants his students to use canned figs. If they're lucky enough to find fresh figs, he says, "Please eat them!"