John Michael MacNeil


My roots are on the East Coast of Canada; my roots are in Cape Breton. I love watching people’s eye light up at my uniqueness in growing up on one of the world’s best island. I grew up in the town of New Waterford, a coal mining community, which is rich in heritage, warmness and old fashioned family values. My strong roots and family have led me to the many successes that I have had and it in my culinary artistry that I put value, love, and passion.

I grew up in a loving family with a mom, dad, and sister that all shared my strong work ethic and focus in our chosen careers. My journey through life has influenced the flavors that I add to my recipes. Upon graduation from high school, I was accepted into the Culinary Arts Program at Culinary Institute of Canada on Prince Edward Island. It was at the Institute that my gifted teachers molded this interest into a passion and cultivated my eagerness to learn everything there was about the world of food. I remembered seeing a video during my education on chef Ferran Adria that was doing things with food that I would have never believed was possible, through his molecular cooking style. It is through his silent mentoring that I always try learning and integrating molecular/avant garde cooking in my menus.

Holland College allowed me to spread my wings from an island boy to the Rocky Mountains in beautiful Banff where I cooked at Buffalo Mountain lodge. I also worked at the prestigious Belevedere under Chef Alan Groom in the beautiful downtown Calgary, where I added to my love of the fine dining world.

I traded in the beautiful Rocky Mountains for the Swiss Alps to have the opportunity to study under Swiss chef and Michelin Gourmand Herr Urs Thommen at the Gasthof Baren in the small town of Utzenstorf, Bern. The beauty of the surrounded influences, the beauty of my cooking and learning the passion from the European chef as I travelled around Europe to even my most favorite classical chef- Paul Bocuse.

I then returned from Switzerland to spend some time with my parents before returning to the province where I entered the culinary no longer as a young student. I worked at a local trendy restaurant called “The Living Room” where I was headhunted by the Teatro group. It was at Teatro working with chef Dominique Moussu where I learned a new passion for cooking and fine tuned my palate with his precision, skill and guidance which I still find myself doing from time to time, in an afternoon phone call regarding a new recipe. It was through hard work and dedication that I took over the pass as Executive Chef, that I look forward to endless possibilities in my creative vision.

I uphold my creative vision and am always on a quest to find new flavors. I have taken off from weeks to weekends to find new flavors in New York, Las Vegas, France, Spain and back to my roots in Switzerland. I have completed stages in Michelin Star restaurants and sat with these talented chefs and translated their menus. My life experiences, my family, my personality, the places that I lived are in every dish from initial vision to execution.

Twitter: @zeolobsterboy