Top Chef Insights

Ever wondered whether a Master Chef's guilty pleasure is simply peanut butter or mac 'n cheese? Want to find out what the latest menu trends will be for the coming season? Always wondered who inspires some of the leading chefs in the industry? We've asked these questions and have the answers for you here.

View archived Top Chef Insights interviews.

October's Featured Chef: Chef Alan Ogard, Lexington Hotel


What made you want to become a chef?
One day I needed a job. My dad got me a job as a busboy at the Elks club that he worked at. Soon I was in the kitchen cooking. Then I started doing more and more things in the kitchen and I was good at cooking. I was enjoying creating a dish that other people really liked. 

With winter approaching, what seasonal changes do you see coming to menus?

Well, to begin with, there will be soups, more root vegetables, and squash. You should see roasted butternut squash soup. Sweet potato and Yukon potato side dishes will be on most menus. The use of spaghetti squash as pasta.

What's the weirdest thing we would find in your refrigerator? 
Squid is something you would always find in my refrigerator as well as whole lambs and pigs, purple potatoes. Weirdest to most, but not to me, would be bones -chicken bones, veal bones, beef bones, and fish bones. Lots of them for making fresh stocks for our soups and sauces.

Is there one comfort food that you're secretly obsessed with having at home?
That would have to be pot roast with demi glaze, roasted carrots and potatoes.

Which talent would you most like that you don't possess? 
Pastries. I can make a sauce out of just about anything, and make it taste good. I can do soups in my sleep. The talent that I am lacking in would be pastries.

What's your favorite meal to cook for friends? 
I guess my favorite meal is tough. I have a couple of favorite dishes like I like to cook. I really enjoy barbequing, especially baby back ribs, ribeyes, BBQ chicken, stuffed pork chops with an apple cognac glaze, and herb crusted prime rib. The dish that I feel my friends would most enjoy would be pan seared scallops cooked in a lime-chili garlic butter on top of parmesan risotto and sautéed asparagus.




More about Chef Alan: 

Chef Alan has been in the restaurant industry since 1977 when he started at the Burien Elks Club in Seattle, WA as a busboy. He spent the next 5 years watching, learning and self-teaching and made his way up the line to head cook. His next endeavors included several restaurants in the Colorado area, starting with Kitchen Manager at Red Apple Steak & Seafood and eventually moving to Sous Chef at The Hotel Denver. Chef Alan spent his Sunday mornings perfecting his brunch expertise while at The Hotel Denver, and is, perhaps, when he honed his famous Eggs Benedict early on in his career.
 
Chef Alan eventually made his way to a quaint city in the state of Michigan to become the General Manager/Executive Chef at the Red Cedar Grill in Williamston, MI. Some crowd favorites on the menu included his homemade Bleu Cheese dressing and his secret recipe for their famous marinara sauce. He most recently has been spending his time at the Lexington Hotel in Lansing, MI.

Archives: 

September Chef Insights - Barbie Marshall, The Farming Chef
August Chef Insights - Cal DeMercurio, Corporate Executive Chef, Black Bear Diner
July Chef Insights - Johannes Bernau, Executive Chef, Who Song & Larry's
June Chef Insights - Ryan Vargas, Chef de Cuisine at Emeril's Tchoup Chop