Growing up in Highland Park, Illinois as a second generation Korean-American, John’s childhood and family life centered around a deep love of food and celebration. This early respect for the art of hospitality, as well as his love of cooking subsequently inspired his culinary path. While attending The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, John worked as an extern for chef Grant Achatz at the world-renowned, three Michelin-starred Alinea. Upon graduation, John joined the team as a Chef de Partie, an experience that continued to inform his early career in fine dining. Several years later, John headed west, assuming the position of Chef de Partie at Josiah Citrin’s Michelin-starred Melisse in Santa Monica, California. While there, John met his culinary collaborator and future wife, Katianna. The pair moved north to join the team at chef Christopher Kostow’s acclaimed The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley. Over nine years at Meadowood, John spent time on every station in the kitchen eventually becoming chef de cuisine where he maintained the restaurant’s three Michelin stars for three years. In 2015, John was named a Maker of the Napa Valley by AFAR and, in 2016, he was named Asian Business Association’s “Chef of the Year,” a reflection of his passion for authentically modernizing the food of his childhood.
Awards & Press
- James Beard Award