Starting at the tender age of 14, John pursued his culinary apprenticeship in some of the finest restaurants, clubs and hotels in his native Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1979 he opened Friends Restaurant, and in 1984, L’Escargot Restaurant. Both establishments were met with enthusiastic acclaim and much critical praise by the media. As a result, John was a fixture on local television and radio, as well as in demand for cooking classes and demonstrations in the Cleveland area. A restaurant reviewer for Cleveland Magazine, in fact, was so enamored of Friends that she cited it ‘Too good to name’ for her glowing review, which sparked a controversy over the identity of the mystery spot (which she later divulged).
During this time John served as a maître grillardin and Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, and was awarded the title of Chevalier by the Les Amis du Vin International Wine Society, for whom he hosted countless wine dinners. Additionally, he won the international Helix Escargot contest in 1982, for which he was honored in Paris, France.
In 1990, while employed as a Corporate Executive Chef for a club management company, Chef John migrated to North Carolina where he began to inject traditional southern cooking techniques into his classically trained repertoire. In his travels he has been awarded numerous medals at culinary competitions, served as vice-president and apprenticeship director for the Charlotte chapter of the American Culinary Federation and earned his certification as an executive chef. In addition to his duties as Executive Chef, he serves as founder and director of the Apprenticeship Program of the Old North State Club.
McConnell Executive Chef John McAllister, CEC