Executive Chef Charlie Johnson

Chef Charlie grew up on an organic sheep and dairy goat hobby farm in central Minnesota where his family tended a large garden from which they canned and froze some of their own food. He started his career working in a college town pizza joint when he was 16. He worked his way through a local vocational college-cooking course before applying to the Culinary Institute of America. Charlie was accepted while working a season in Vail, Colorado. He did his extern for the CIA at Alfredo’s in EPCOT, Disney World. After graduating he returned to Minnesota to find nothing interesting available and found himself back in Florida opening Capriccio at the Peabody Hotel with Fredy Girarde’s Sous Chef. After a couple of years he needed more challenges and moved to Boca Raton where he worked at several trendy restaurants. During the 4 years in Florida he married his high school sweet heart and as they were expecting their first of five children decided to retreat back to Minnesota to be close to family. He helped open the Radisson Hotel with Graves Co. and D’Amico’s management in St. Cloud. Next working as Executive Chef and Event Coordinator for Prom Co. at Green Haven Golf Club for four years. He finally got his break when he was offered the opportunity to take over the bankrupt Italian Café. After years of hard work and much success he fell ill and was uncertain of the long-term effects. Charlie reluctantly decided to let the restaurant go. After a couple of years, nearly losing everything and struggling with his career, he finally got his health in control. He decided that it was time to get back in the business. Charlie felt that BBQ was perhaps the most undeveloped cuisine in this market and most likely to be recession proof.f.