Joseph “JJ” Johnson

Chef Joseph “JJ” Johnson is a James Beard-nominated Chef de Cuisine at The Cecil and Minton’s, both based in Harlem, New York. Chef JJ fell in love with cooking while a young boy in the kitchen with his Puerto Rican grandmother. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he went on to hone his skills in some of New York’s most esteemed kitchens including Centro Vinoteca, Jane, and Tribeca Grill. Constantly in search of new flavors, Chef JJ spent a month cooking in Ghana studying West African cuisine and exploring the country’s exotic markets.

In 2013, Chef JJ helped open The Cecil, NYC’s first Afro-Asian-American restaurant with Executive Chef/Restaurateur Alexander Smalls, which was named “Best New Restaurant of the Year” in 2014 by Esquire. Chef JJ’s many accolades include a nomination for a James Beard Foundation award for “Rising Star Chef (2015),” an award from Star Chefs as a “Rising Star for Community Chef (2015),” being named as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30,” Zagat’s “30 Under 30,” and Eater’s “Young Guns” (all in 2014), and being recognized as “Chef of the Year” by New York African Restaurant Week (2015).

The Cecil Harlem

Chef’s Roll Profile:

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