Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Columbia Room Taps Chef Johnny Spero to Lead Culinary Program

Executive Chef Johnny Spero

From our friends at Columbia Room...

Johnny Spero joins Columbia Room as Executive Chef

Former minibar chef will take over the craft cocktail bar’s culinary program beginning October 4

Johnny Spero returns to Washington DC, joining Columbia Room (124 Blagden Alley, NW) as executive chef, launching his first menu on October 4 and leading an overhaul of the James Beard Award-nominated craft cocktail bar’s culinary program. During his tenure as executive sous chef at Jose Andres’ Minibar, Spero earned a perfect four-star review from The Washington Post. He was also awarded the prestigious StarChefs 2014 "D.C. Rising Star" award and was Eater DC's 2014 Chef of the Year.

Spero will collaborate with head bartender JP Fetherston, owner Derek Brown, and the rest of the Columbia Room team on the food menus for the bar’s eponymous Tasting Room, Spirits Library and Punch Garden. Since re-opening in its new Blagden Alley location in February, the Tasting Room has produced three distinct seasonal cocktail-and-small-plate pairing menus - winter, spring and summer. The upcoming fall menu, inspired by leaves, will be conceived and crafted under Spero’s direction, and he will also enhance the snack and appetizer offerings in the Spirits Library and Punch Garden.

“We take our food very seriously, which is why we very intentionally sought out a heavy hitter like Johnny with an impeccable résumé and a true passion for creating memorable dishes,” says Brown. “He will, no doubt, be an amazing addition to our Columbia Room family.”

“My background is in restaurants with goals beyond just creating delicious food,” adds Spero. “For me, it's about putting together an experience and telling a story, which is exactly what the team at Columbia Room does every night. I'm excited to work alongside like-minded people like JP, Derek and the Columbia Room team, who constantly ask ‘Why?' and take risks.”

Spero comes back to the States fresh from a stint staging at Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz’s world-renowned Mugaritz located just outside San Sebastian, Spain and currently ranked No. 7 on the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Spero began his culinary career at the age of 16 in Baltimore County and has since had the opportunity to work in some of the best kitchens in Washington and around the world, including DC’s Komi and Townhouse in Chilhowie, Virginia.

About Columbia Room:
Columbia Room, nominated twice for a James Beard Award, is a Washington, DC craft cocktail bar widely hailed for its meticulously crafted cocktails and intimate drinking experience. Conceived by renowned spirits expert Derek Brown in 2010 and led by JP Fetherston, the 2,400-square foot bar features the signature Tasting Room, the Spirits Library and the outdoor Punch Garden. For more information about Columbia Room ticketing, menus and hours, please visit www.columbiaroomdc.com or call (202) 316-9396.