He has prepared delicious cuisine at two of New Orleans’ top restaurants. He grew up on a Pennsylvania farm where farm to table was the menu each day. John Hill knows his way around the kitchen and Gather in Cape Coral will enjoy the benefits of his immense culinary skills.
Hill, 42 and an Air Force veteran, was recently hired as the new chef de cuisine for Hospitality Group Holdings, which owns Gather inside Tarpon Point Marina, Fathoms Restaurant and Bar and The French Press in Cape Harbour, and Black Salt catering. Hill will mostly oversee the eclectic menu at Gather, where his award-winning skills are sure to excite customers’ taste buds.
Hill’s resume is impressive. Most recently, he was chef de cuisine at the popular Down the Bayou restaurant in New Orleans. While there, Hill raked in culinary accolades, including “Best of Show” categories in back-to-back years at the prestigious New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, where the city’s best chefs compete. This year, he won “Best of Show: Savory” for his crawfish and dumplings dish with bayou butter and pecorino tuile.
He also was chef de cuisine at another New Orleans restaurant, Salon by Sucré, in the heart of the French Quarter, where his talents built a menu of creative and contemporary dishes.
His culinary skills were first honed at his grandmother’s side making pasta dishes and sauce on the family farm near New Castle, Pa. The homestead was self-sufficient from dairy to produce, or what dining trends call “farm to table.” He was an apprentice for an area butcher at the age of twelve and earned a bachelor’s degree from the international culinary school at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh after his military career. He helped create succulent dishes for the school’s culinary Olympic team and worked with students in a horticultural culinary program at the Barack Obama Academy of International Studies in Pittsburgh.
Now, all that experience comes to Gather. “I will bring my own life experience, but I also want to capture the vision of (executive chef and partner) Benjamin Voisin,” Hill says.
Hill says “the sky's the limit” for what customers will see on the menu at Gather. “There could be eastern Asian, Italian, French, a mix of many other combinations,” Hill adds.
“As we grow as a business, I need people I can trust and it’s our goal to take another step in getting better,” Voisin says about hiring Hill. “I am so happy we were able to hire him.”
Hill is a big believer in using fresh vegetables, fruits, meats and other products that come from local farms. “I love cooking where people can taste the hyper-local, the backyard stuff,” he says. “Everything is popping around here with progressive culinary minds.”
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