Throughout his 30-plus year career, John Hogan has cooked in Chicago’s most notable kitchens. But his love of food began as a child, watching his mother prepare dinner. In his teens and early 20s he would dine at Chicago’s finest French restaurants and recreate the meals at home. After graduating from Dumas Pere L’Ecole de la Cuisine Francaise, Hogan held posts at Everest, Le Perroquet, L’Escargot, and Park Avenue Café.
He gained city-wide recognition at Kiki’s Bistro and then national attention for Savarin, which earned a spot on Travel + Leisure’s “America’s Top 50 Restaurants” list, as well as “Best New Restaurant” in 1999 from Chicago Magazine, and “Best Restaurant” by Esquire. In 2001, Hogan joined Glenn Keefer at Keefer’s as executive chef, making Playboy’s “Top 10 Steakhouses” list and earning recognition from Food Network for Chicago’s best steak. Presently, Hogan is executive chef of Tony Mantuano’s River Roast.
Mindy Segal opened HotChocolate Restaurant in 2005 after years of dedication to her craft and working in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants including, Ambria, Charlie Trotter’s, Marché and MK. In 2012, Mindy was awarded the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef” after receiving 5 nominations in previous years.
Her best selling cookbook “Cookie Love” was released in the Spring of 2015.
In 2016, Mindy partnered with Cresco Labs, Illinois’ largest cannabis cultivator. She is now giving back to those suffering from chronic conditions by reinventing the cannabis-infused sweets industry with her new product line. For more information please visit www.mindysedibles.com
Chef Segal has appeared on The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, The Food Network and in Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times.
Ala Carte Entertainment, also known as ACE, has been introducing unique concepts in restaurants and nightclubs, then operating them for years, and when the time came, reinventing them again. ACE's roots can be traced to 1970 when Fred Hoffmann opened the first Snuggery on North Avenue in Chicago. Since then, about a half-dozen Snuggery nightclubs pulsed the city and suburbs by introducing video and special sound and lighting to the nightclub scene. It even attracted the attention of Time Magazine, which did a story about nightclubs nationwide and included Snuggery.
At the time, Fred was a Cook County deputy sheriff and he was not allowed to be a sheriff and have a liquor license at the same time. So he left the county job and focused on building a successful nightclub chain.
By the 1980s, Fred purchased the Chicago Limelight nightclub in Chicago, refurbished it, and created the Excalibur Nightclub, a massive 50,000-square-foot nightclub that lasted 24 years. It became a hub of celebrity parties, including Michael Jordan and Prince. After that run, the nightclub was renovated again and changed into The Castle, featuring five different nightclubs under one roof. About three years later, the Hoffmanns sold The Castle to a real estate developer.
From the 1990s through now, Fred and his son, Mark have worked together to acquire more sites, remodel them and then introduced a new concept or one of their proven brands. That included changing some Snuggery nightclubs into Moretti's or other concepts. Another Snuggery was an Alumni Club with a previous concept, where Lady GaGa performed. It was later turned into The Drink nightclub in Schaumburg, where Bruno Mars also performed.
"There's no question that Fred Hoffmann started the Snuggery and made it a big hit," said Sam Toia president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association. "And now his son Mark is running the company and he's made it a hit as well. They knew what the Baby Boomers wanted and now they know what the Millennials want."