Follow John on Instagram @jburnspatersoniv and Twitter @jburnspaterson

1. What was your first job in hospitality

I was a busboy at my parents restaurant during middle school.

2. What is your favourite cusine to eat - preferably not the one you work in?

I eat copious amounts of Asian cuisine. It’s comforting to me, but I won’t cook it because it doesn’t taste as good.

3. Which dish do you most associate with childhood?

Meatballs. My mom made meatballs weekly, mostly on Sundays. To this day they’re still the best i’ve ever had and I can’t for the life of me recreate them.

4. What’s the soundtrack to your first love?

Meh. Not really my thing, but I do love Phish. Lots of Phish.

5. What do you crave after a long shift?

A negroni or beer.

6. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – what do you have? 

It is, but i’m often on the run so it varies. In a perfect world - soft scrambled eggs, sausage (links, not patties), and rye toast with a smear of butter. Always really good black coffee. Realistically, it’s usually just black coffee with my wife then we’re off to work.

7. What is your favourite word?


8. If you could go on a culinary extravaganza-eating holiday – in which city would you choose to do so?

Paris. I fucking love Paris. I was just there in September and will be there in a few weeks for a night and I plan on eating in at least 4 restaurants.

9. All at the same time or coursed out?

Coursed out - who wants to eat that much at the same time!? Relax. Take your time. Drink more. Enjoy.

10. What is the one area of working in a restaurant you wish you knew more of?

I wish I was a better bartender. I love cocktails, love making cocktails, and was once a bartender, but not like the guys & gals out there now. The cocktail world is insane.

11. What is the best cure for a hangover?

Cold Mexican coke, lots of air conditioning, and a blacked out room. BUT! if you take Catsclaw (google it) before you go to bed you won’t get a hangover. Game. Changer.

12. You’re allowed one shift drink – what is it?

Kolsch, but lately it’s been Folksbier Morning Dew - a staple at Prime Meats.

13. What is the one thing which guests do that drives you mad?

Look at some stupid fucking wine ratings app on their phone instead of asking the sommelier. It’s so stupid. Sommeliers select the wine for the list and open them everyday. They know what is drinking well and what isn’t. Robert Parker does not, most likely the tasting note/review the critic wrote is so dated. It drives me up the wall. Sommeliers are your friend - we genuinely want you to drink the best possible wine for your needs and have the best experience!

14. Do you have any rituals during a shift?

No rituals, but I keep things in certain places in pockets and when those things aren’t where they’re supposed to be I panic.

15. What’s the last film you saw?


16. Best thing that has ever happened to you in a restaurant?

As a guest, I’m rather easy to please.  Having said that, my wife and I went for a casual dinner at a restaurant in NYC, the plan was simple - a bottle of Ganevat Chalasses and a couple burgers. My buddy was the sommelier and had opened a bunch of insane stuff from a prior event and we ended up drinking some of the best wine I’ve had to date, including ‘85 Dujac Bonnes Mares.

As a sommelier, probably when a 10 top walked into where I was working - I had just come back from a weekend of Phish and was super hungover and exhausted. They had a case of wine and just kind of threw it at me and said open them up and to make sure I had some. The box included some insane wine from Coche to Raveneau to Roumier to DRC to LeRoy. All classics, including a bottle of ‘88 DRC La Tache, a bottle I’d been chasing for a while.

17. What’s your tagline/motto?

Friends of mine say I apparently say smokeshow a lot.

18. Photography while eating – yay or nay?

Sure why not, just don’t get crazy. Enjoy the experience.

19. Rank the following in order of priority; wine, food, sex

Sex, wine, food. but never simultaneously.

20. What would be your last meal – drinks included.

Roasted bone marrow + oxtail marmalade. Bibb lettuce salad with radishes & dijon vinaigrette. Dry aged bone in strip seared rare with perfectly crisp potatoes. A huge piece of 3yr Comte. Profiteroles for dessert. For sure wine - some form of Selosse Champagne, Raveneau Chablis, & Chave Hermitage.

21. What makes you happy?

My wife, my dog, my family, wine, and live music.

22. How do you relax?

I don’t really relax well, but it usually involves a bottle of wine.

23. What is the background on your phone?

A picture of my wife and I from a recent vacation.

24. Favourite Instagram accounts to follow


25. What is the best thing about working in hospitality?

The sense of family and community. It’s a small world out there.

26. Which restaurant are you ashamed to NOT have eaten at?

Daniel in NYC. 

27. Who is the person you most respect in the industry?

My parents. they’ve been in food/hospitality in some capacity for 30+ years.

28. What is your go to party trick?

Showing up with a big bottle of wine.

29. Finish this sentence; I eat everything except ...

Brain. Can’t do it.