He also oversees the sophisticated culinary operations of Ladeki Restaurant Group’s fine dining venues, working closely with their respective on-site executive chefs. These responsibilities require not only a strong culinary background but substantial skills in management and human resources
Moogk was born in Omaha, Nebraska, grew up in the Midwest and attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. His incredibly diverse career as a chef began as a Commis at the Hilton in Quebec City, a short stint at New Orleans’ Royal Sonesta Hotel, followed by a position as Chef de Partie at the Hotel Sofitel’s Minneapolis property. Moogk moved to Chicago to work as Sous Chef at Zorine’s, the private club created by legendary restaurateur Arnie Morton, and assisted in opening the original Morton’s Steakhouse.
Moogk worked as Chef de Partie and Poissonnier at the famous Ernie’s Restaurant in San Francisco, then returned to Chicago to open Arnie’s North, followed by another stint at Zorine’s. Moogk then moved to Hyatt Regency Waikiki as Sous Chef of Bagwell 2424, one of the Aloha State’s top venues for French/Continental cuisine and was responsible for the hotel’s entire banquet schedule. Hyatt then transferred him to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Chicago, home of La Tour, then as Executive Chef to the Hyatt Union Square in San Francisco and the Hyatt in Coral Gables, Florida. In 1989, he arrived at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, where he remained for seven years. While cooking at the hotel’s Café Japengo, Moogk met San Diego restaurateur Sami Ladeki, who was impressed with the chef’s innovative Pacific Rim cuisine. In 1996, Moogk joined Ladeki Restaurant Group to assist Ladeki with his ambitious plans.
At Ladeki Restaurant Group, Moogk oversees the management and training of the cooking staff for all restaurants and works closely with chefs Stephen B. Window (Roppongi), Matthew Zappoli (FRESH) and Ryan Johnston (Blackhorse Grille) in constantly evolving the sophisticated menus at those fine-dining venues. In designing menus, Moogk employs his fundamental culinary philosophy: “I think food should be fun…for both the customers and those preparing it,” suggests the Executive Corporate Chef, adding, “I also try to turn people on to new ingredients and unfamiliar combinations of flavors or textures to enhance that sense of fun.”
Moogk has followed Sami Ladeki’s lead in his commitment to the Greater San Diego community, playing a critical role in the company’s involvement in over 100 charity events every year. The 52-year-old chef resides in San Diego with his wife of twenty years, Jackery, and is an avid skier.