CHEF JOSEPH “JJ” JOHNSON Culinary Chair
EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION: Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)
BACKGROUND: Centro Vinoteca, Jane, Tribeca Grill, The Cecil, Minton's
WHY HE IS AMAZING: In 2013, JJ helped to create the world's first Afro-Asian-American cuisine at The Cecil, where he rose from Chef de Cuisine to Executive Chef and helped the restaurant nab the coveted 'Best New Restaurant' award from Esquire magazine in 2014. Also during that year JJ was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and Zagat’s 30 under 30. He was awarded Chef of the Year by New York African Restaurant Week 2015. Additionally, in 2015, JJ was a Semi-Finalist for The James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef Award, received the Star Chefs’ Rising Star Community Chef Award. and was named an Eater Young Gun. JJ was named Rolling Stone Magazine's ten breakthrough rock star chefs for 2016 and is a member of the James Beard Foundation Impact Advisory Committee. As the Cecil has recently merged with it’s sister restaurant Minton’s JJ will pull inspiration from the Afro-Asian-American flavors first introduced at The Cecil, the Caribbean flavors he grew up as well as African and Asian tastes acquired from his recent travels. Chef JJ was the inaugural chef at Chefs Club (NYC) Long Term In-Chef Residency Program. During this ninety-day residency program, Chef JJ's late 90's-early 2000's Hip-Hop and R& B playlist was equally as superlative as his food. Both were covered by the NY Times. In February, Johnson released the Afro-Asian inspired cookbook, Between Harlem and Heaven which he co-authored with Alexander Smalls.
LAST NIGHT ON EARTH HE’S EATING IN: Tulum