16 Jan Biography
Restaurateur Entrepreneur and Chef
Johnnie Cooke draws his experience from his extensive culinary career, which stretches, from half-way across the globe to impress ever-loyal diners at his city centre Restaurant by Johnnie Cooke, located in the luxurious surroundings of Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, Dublin. And most recently his newest addition to the group Green & Bean Cafe.Bar, the perfect spot to relax and enjoy your chosen tipple or dish in beautiful fresh surroundings. With healthy breakfasts, tasty lunches, afternoon treat and even post-shopping bubbles all on the menu. Located in Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, on Level 2.
Johnnie began his career at the Grey Door restaurant in the heart of Georgian Dublin before heading off to America to sample the high life in the Big Apple as Chef at the Water Club restaurant, specialising in New-Age cuisine. Next stop was California where Johnnie added another two top class restaurants to his already impressive Curriculum Vitae – “Gustav Anders” and “Avantis”. “Gustav Anders”, as the name suggests, was mainly Scandinavian and “Avantis”, a restaurant with origins in Northern Italy. After 5 years in the States, Johnnie returned home to Dublin in 1990 to launch the well known “Polo One” restaurant as Executive Chef, where he remained for a further two years before deciding to go alone.
In 1992, Cookes Cafe was launched to great acclaim, catering to the most discerning international tastes, offering sanctuary for both dining sophisticates and exhausted shoppers alike. The Med-Cal cuisine for which Cookes Café was so famous for was based on simplicity. Disassociating him from the overtly stylised presentation of food, Johnnie’s primary focus is getting freshly sourced foods to the tables as quickly, and with as little manhandling as possible. Cooke only used the finest ingredients, in season.
Cooke’s focus remains on getting freshly sourced foods, using organic combined with the best and freshest of ingredients to create a gastronomic success which has become synonymous with Cooke’s style of foods. Over the years, Johnnie’s contacts in France, Italy and Spain have been extensive, regularly attending food fairs and exhibitions and sourcing produce directly. The menus change with the seasons, reflecting the availability of different foods throughout the year.
In over 15 years as one of Ireland’s leading chef/patrons, Johnnie Cooke has greeted visiting international celebrities and dignitaries, stars of stage and screen, top business people, and discerning diners alike to award-winning dining of the highest international standards. He has consistently attracted plaudits from food writers and gourmets, both here in Ireland and overseas. He has been invited by the Irish Government to cook for visiting dignitaries at Farmleigh House.
Building on the Med-Cal, Mediterranean influenced food and borrowing from the Tapas culture in Spain, the meze plate from the middle east, and the family feasts typical in Tuscany, Johnnie has sought to create a more informal restaurant atmosphere and has a loyal following for his ‘chef platters’. The diner advises the waiting staff of their likes and dislikes and the chef sends out an assortment of starters and main courses on platters that are placed in the middle of the table for people to help themselves. Ideal for groups of friends and romantic couples alike, this dining out experience allows customers to sample a little of everything and is a most convivial and interactive form of dining out. The same concept applies to the delicious dessert platters.
The Johnnie Cooke Group has subsequently grown to develop the following successful food related business:
Johnnie Cooke Bespoke Events was originally set up in 1996 in response to clients of Cooke’s Cafe requesting the same restaurant quality food for private entertaining both at home and in off-site venues. The team led by Johnnie Cooke has a proven track record in culinary circles and has long been the benchmark in gourmet catering in Ireland.
Still going strong in 2017, the Johnnie Cooke brand has become synonymous with taste and has regularly catered for government events and visiting dignitaries, high society weddings and parties and intimate gatherings in people’s homes. Our list of private and corporate clients is unrivalled and the long standing relationship we’ve built with our regular clients is a testament to our consistency and continued innovation of menus and event ideas.
The Johnnie Cooke team have a unique understanding of what goes into making a successful event with over 15 years of experience – carefully chosen, bespoke menus, expert restaurant quality food preparation, stylish presentation, well-chosen wines, and professional, efficient and discreet service.
Since June 2017, the Johnnie Cooke Bespoke Events team have a very unique offering in a very special place, Lambay Island.
Johnnie Cooke Bespoke Events is a fully resourced catering and events company providing catering for the full range of events: business breakfasts, canapé and buffet receptions, formal dining for lunch and dinner, barbecues, weddings, parties, launches, etc. Whatever the size or occasion of your event we can make it a most memorable event.