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Rob Magee, who went from barbecue newcomer to pioneering barbecue restaurant Q39, has died.

Magee, whose path in the culinary world began when his dad gave him a taste of lobster in a Ramada Inn at age 10, started on a classical path. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1986 and worked in restaurants for 30 years. 

When he moved to Kansas City, his interest in barbecue heated up. He was executive chef of an area Hilton hotel when he put together his first competition barbecue team: Munchin’ Hogs. The team won 52 grand champion and many more reserve grand champion titles between 2006 and 2012.

Magee opened Q39 as a barbecue restaurant with touches of finer dining, such as an all-scratch menu, an open kitchen and items that went beyond the standard for KC barbecue joints.