Johnny started his restaurant career in the dishpit of a small town in Texas at age 15. From there he worked as a server in various Mexican restaurants and hotels in Austin and finished his time in Texas at the Four Seasons as Server Captain. After a move to Seattle he worked for Canlis for half a year, became Assistant Manager at Zoe for several years, and then finally ended up at our own Mkt. in 2014. Johnny is now the Manager of Red Cow. He is currently looking to get Somm certification.
First Restaurant Job
Cypress Creek Cafe in Wimberley, Texas as dishwasher.
Last Restaurant Job
MKT, Restaurant Zoe
Alternate Universe Career
Nomadic Mushroom Forager
Favorite Late Night Snack
Olives, salumi, soft ripened cheese, fresh tomatoes, good bread, cheap French or Italian red wine to wash it down—or Tacos!
Best Meal Ever
Last Xmas with my girlfriend Carrie…We cooked a 2 1/2 lb Ribeye from a cow that Chef Joe Ritchey raised. Seared it in cast iron and finished with butter, herbs and garlic to medium rare. Served with sautéed hedgehog mushrooms, caramelized onions, braised greens, fennel slaw, and roasted butternut squash. Washed it down with a bottle of 2010 Domaine de la Mordoree Chateauneuf-du-Pape…Best meals have always been home cooked.
After Work Hangout
Ocho in Ballard
Finely Ground Porcini mushroom Powder. Great in soups and sauces...adds that umami-meaty goodness.
Favorite Seattle Restaurants
Altura, Ba Bar, Senior Moose, Harvest Vine, Mashiko, Le Pichet, Revel, MKT, Canlis
Food with a sense of place and season. Supporting the local food chain when it comes to meats and veggies…cheese and olive oil is another story! Letting the ingredients do the talking with just enough seasoning and preparation to highlight what nature and the producer have already perfected. Deliciousness comes from restraint more often than over processing or combining too many ingredients. The difference between a good pizza or burger is often just how the ingredients are put together and less is often more.
What do you love about Seattle?
Having day trip access to some of the most amazing and beautiful places in the US. The temperate seasons. The high quality of food and drink. The general social tolerance of different ways of life and cultures. The great music scene. The stable and growing economy. The months of May - October.
Favorite Place In The World
Anywhere my son Lucas is. Anywhere Carrie is in my arms.
Memorable Kitchen Disaster
Close call while making gnocchi for 10 people on stage during a charity event cooking class. I tried to make the dough too delicate and the first dumplings disintegrated in the water...nervous but determined and without anymore flour or potatoes I fixed the dough with a bit more egg and flour and they turned out perfectly in the end.
Can't Live Without
A good hike or foraging trip in the woods washes away all the stress of city life.
What's On The DVR?
All shows hosted by Anthony Bourdain…It never gets old watching that guy get tanked and eat until he drops.
What's On The Nightstand?
"Mycelium Running" by Paul Stamets.
What's On The iPod?
Be Satisfaction, Willie Nelson, Little Dragon
Favorite Movie Quote
Nicholas Cage as Charlie Kaufman's twin brother, Donald in Adaptation: "You are what you love, not what loves you."
What Have You Learned?
It actually is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Puns are only amusing to the one punning and other punishers.
It is best to not take yourself too seriously...after all we are just bags of mostly water and stardust on a wet rock swirling at the speed of light through an infinite universe that is at once everything-and nothing at all.
Procrastination isn't always bad. Sometimes the best work is done under pressure.
True hospitality is a personality trait that is hard to teach. Generally you either have it or you don't and it is something that your family taught you growing up.