BA '89 - Business and Music
A New York City native, John is the chief proprietor and executive chef of the West Village restaurant The Lion, and he is chief proprietor of the Upper East Side restaurant Crown. John grew up on Long Island and came to his interest in food quite naturally. He says, “My friends still talk about my mother’s pasta fagioli.” As founding chef and partner of The Waverly Inn, John brought his Italian-American take on classic cuisine attracted both the celebrity crowd and serious food fans, who were wowed by his original and eye-opening offerings. His memoir, The Hunger: A Memoir of an Accidental Chef (HarperCollins, 2009) discussed his path to becoming a chef and restaurateur. When he graduated from Gallatin, his plan was, he says, to replace Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin. Although he tried his hand at a few 9-to-5 jobs, he eventually gave in to his natural culinary curiosity, first taking courses at New York’s New School for Culinary Arts, and then getting his first food job, chopping 40-pound bags of onions in the back room of Dean & DeLuca. He was working as an executive recruiter when he decided to take a 12-week cooking class at the New School, which led to his life of cooking. In 2009 and 2010, he was the first Celebrity Chef honored at the MTV Movie Awards. He has been featured on Entertainment Tonight, The Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, Martha Stewart, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and in Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, Town & Country, New York Times, and Saveur.