As Lidia’s Kansas City's 20th year in the historic Freight House District in the Crossroads comes to a close, the Italian restaurant – named for chef, TV personality and author Lidia Bastianich – has announced two new hires. Industry veteran Jeremy Lamb has returned to its ranks as general manager, and former general manager and chef de cuisine Cody Hogan has been appointed as the new executive chef.
Lamb brings more than 20 years of experience working in the restaurant industry to his new role as general manager. He previously worked with renowned local chefs Colby and Megan Garrelts, operating their Kansas City-based restaurants Bluestem, Rye Leawood and Rye Plaza. He's also a certified sommelier with a passion for hospitality and guest experience.
“This was a hard decision to make; I've been with Colby and Megan for 13 years,” explains Lamb. “I wasn't looking for a job, but I got a call from a head hunter about this opportunity and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.”
Starting his restaurant career in 1996 at Mill Creek Brewery as a server and a bartender, he spent time working in New Orleans before returning to Kansas City in 1999 (Lidia’s had just opened the year before). He applied for a position with longtime industry operator Mary Simpson, and she hired him to work at Lidia’s on the spot.
“It was the first time that I saw restaurants as a dynamic business – not just a playground to make friends and money,” says Lamb. “I became more and more interested in day-to-day operations of a successful restaurant, and they sent me to Italy twice and it opened my eyes to so many different ideas, professional knowledge and cultures.”
Lamb also moved to Pittsburgh to open the second Lidia’s location, with his goal to eventually move to New York City and continue his professional growth within the restaurant industry. After 9/11, he decided to put his New York plans on hold and left Lidia’s in Pittsburgh to pursue other opportunities, which brought him back to Kansas City and, eventually, to Bluestem working with the Garrelts.
“The 13 years I spent growing with Colby and Megan were incredible, and they are still two of my favorite people on earth,” says Lamb. “I learned so much about the business by being a part of their three great operations and I'm forever in their debt for the opportunity they gave me.”
For his role as executive chef, Hogan brings more than 19 years of experience working with chef Lidia Bastianich. Former executive chef Dan Swinney served Lidia’s for 20 years with great dedication before leaving to pursue other opportunities as of Oct. 1.
“Dan and I worked together for 25 years and learned so much from each other; it was a great experience,” Hogan said in a statement. “Now I really look forward to getting back in the kitchen and continuing to grow as a chef,” Hogan said.
Lamb says his relationship with Hogan was another reason he decided to return to the fine-dining restaurant that gave him his start. “I have a good relationship with Cody Hogan, and I am excited to develop an even stronger professional relationship with him,” he says.
With these two industry veterans at the helm of Lidia’s Kansas City now, the next 20 years at this Crossroads restaurant are sure to be as dynamic as the first.
Lidia’s Kansas City, 101 W. 22nd St., Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.221.3722, lidias-kc.com