John’s the sous chef at an event center where he creates a new menu every day
Get to know John in this Q&A and get his “Korean Hot Chicken,” Monday (12/23) from 6-9PM in Edgewater!
Q: What’s your cooking background?
John: I first learned to cook at the age of 4, my dad would let me make simple things for breakfast like eggs and toast. Both my grandmothers helped to continue to teach me by teaching me their old recipes. I started in restaurants at 14 as a dishwasher and worked my way up to Chef de Partie.
John: At 17 I enrolled and attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY where I applied my knowledge of southern cooking I learned from my grandmothers and refined it with French cuisine as well as learning about the cuisines of the world! I took an internship at COI in San Francisco where I learned the rigors of fine dining and what it was like to be held to a global standard. I returned to CIA to finish my schooling and graduated at 19.
I accepted a job at Acadia, here in Chicago, and worked there for a year. I currently work as a sous chef and Sommelier of an event center where I am tasked with coming up with a new menu everyday for our guests.
Q: Where did you grow up and what kind of food did you grow up with?
John: I grew up split between Fredericksburg, VA and Tucson, AZ. Because of that upbringing I was introduced to so many different cultures and foods I never thought I’d encounter.
Q: What can you tell us about the dish you’re making and what inspired it?
John: My dish is Korean Hot Chicken. I have been trying to perfect my own personal biscuit recipe for some time and recently had someone ask me to try to incorporate a sour element. I chose kimchi! I got the inspiration from my time with the Yang Pop Up Series I helped start here. We were always trying to find new and different ways to introduce people to different Asian cuisines and I thought this would be great!
Q: Who do you think about when you make this dish? What does it remind you of?
John: When I’m making this dish I think about my grandmothers. The care and attention they gave to everything they made mesmerized me as a kid.
Q: What’s your favorite food memory?
John: My favorite food memory is the crab feasts my family would have during the summers when I was little. Growing up near the Chesapeake Bay meant we went crabbing, and when we had enough crab we’d steam them in Guinness and Old Bay, lay old newspapers on the table and eat for hours!
Q: Anything else we should know about you and your cooking?
John: As I mentioned before in addition to working in the kitchen I am a Certified Sommelier. My journey in wine has a few years down but so many more to go.