Listening to: “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” — Waylan Jennings

Sipping on: Catoctin Creek “1757 Brandy Cask”

I’m not entirely sure how to start this post because this dish has so much history tied to it. For those that don’t know, I spent four years at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI getting my B.A. in Culinary Arts. J&W has two class times, morning (7am) and evening (3pm.) I chose morning classes because I knew I wanted to work in a kitchen after class much to the disgust of my roommates who chose evening classes because…

Listening to: Flight Club — “Come Back”

Sipping on: Catoctin Creek “Hickory Cask” 2015

Old school French food is my happy place. There’s nothing like foie gras torchon with warm brioche or ris de veau with sauce Grenobloise or escargots drowning in garlic butter. One of the classic French dishes that will always have a place in my heart is a ballotine. For whatever reason, I decided to cook one for dinner at home because 🤷‍♂️ even though I haven’t deboned a chicken in at least a decade. Deciding on doing a ballotine was mostly to prove that I can…

Listening to: Zac Brown Band — “Colder Weather”

Sipping on: Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Maple Syrup Cask 2017

I go to Wegman’s every Sunday. It’s a thing. It’s not necessarily a thing that I ever thought would happen, but… COVID. I’ve been going grocery shopping every week for 18 months. Normally I figure out what I’m going to cook on my weekends weeks in advance (I’m a planner) but sometimes things just don’t work out as I plan. Sometimes life and work just sucks all of your creativity away. It happens. I went to Wegman’s today and finished my shopping…

Old School.

Listening to: Frank Ocean — “Thinkin Bout You”

Sipping on: Rowan’s Creek

People like to call chefs “artists” a lot. I hate that. I’m a firm believer that chefs are craftsmen. We turn the inedible, edible. We work hellish hours in some of the most stressful environments imaginable while being held to the most stringent standards. It’s really fucking hard and definitely isn’t for everyone. That said, there are some things we do that provide a welcomed escape from reality, if only for a moment. For me, one of those things is making pasta.

Pasta dough was the first recipe…

Listening to: Kaskade — Redux 2013 Live @ Voyeur San Diego

Sipping on: E.H. Taylor Four Grain

There’s a handful of dishes that I can confidently say that I do extraordinarily well. These are things that I’ve done literally thousands of times over my 20+ year career that I consider myself an expert on. Risotto is one of them. I (harshly) judge cooks on their risotto and I’m almost always disappointed. I’ll never order risotto unless I know who’s making it. Chefs are, by nature, bitter, jaded, fickle people. We know what we like and if someone doesn’t do something…

Listening to: Aaron Lewis — “So Far Away”

Sipping on: Old Bardstown

Last Monday was my birthday. I turned 39. I don’t like to make a big deal of my birthday. I’m not a very materialistic person so I never really “need” anything. Maybe some new Birkenstock clogs for work. A gift card to Bonobos for some button-ups. A couple boxes of golf balls. I’ve been conditioned to treat special occasions and holidays and birthdays as just any other day, much to the chagrin of those around me. “Perks of the job.” Last week my amazing husband cooked dinner for…

Listening to: Jason Isbell — “Yvette”

Sipping on: Catoctin Creek “Rabble Rouser” 2016

Nearly everyone knows me as “Chef Johnny.” It’s become my brand, even after moving from BOH to the bar. I made that move when I decided to open a cocktail bar (mainly because I’m a control freak and needed to make sure everything outside of the kitchen was how I wanted it to be) and I couldn’t control everything from the kitchen. It worked out pretty well. Rogue was the best cocktail bar this city has ever seen. It also molded me into a pretty good bartender.

Listening to: Brett Young — “Chapters”

Sipping on: Kavalan Cask Strength “Sherry Cask”

“What’s your favorite thing to cook?” If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that question over my 20 year career, well I wouldn’t be rich but I’d have a decent amount of extra cash. These days when I’m asked that question, I look like this ಠ_ಠ and my answer is always “roasting meat.” There’s just something about a Maillard Reaction that makes me feel a certain way.

There are two ways to properly roast meat, via direct heat or indirect heat. They both…

Listening to: “Into The Mystic” — Zac Brown Band

Sipping on: Catoctin Creek “Rabble Rouser” 2017

I think we can all agree that the past year has been crazy, to say the least. I for one never envisioned living through a full-on global pandemic. Yet, here we are, posting Instagram pics of our vaccination cards (shout out to the #PfizerGang.) One of the few positive things to come out of a year of lockdowns was my rekindled love of cooking at home. As a chef, people always assume that we cook amazing and fabulous things at home. Yea, we don’t…

Listening to: “One More Light” — Linkin Park

Sipping on: E.H. Taylor Single Barrel

Lately, I’ve been trying to force myself to make time to write. Given what I do for a living, this tends to be easier said than done. It means that my best time to put words to keyboard are over my weekend, Sunday & Monday. Normally, this is after I’ve had some wine during the day while I do a weeks worth of laundry, clean the kitchen, cook dinner for Drew & I, and then have a cigar with a glass or two of whiskey. (This…

John Maher

Chef > Restaurant Owner > Beverage Director > TBD

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