Chef John Mooney’s professional life has been a winding culinary journey through all corners of the world. After attending Kendall Culinary School in Illinois, Mooney worked in kitchens around the country, first for Chef Gabino Sotelino at nouveau French Ambria and Chef Dean Fearing at The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas. Later, he moved to Washington, D.C., to high-end Red Sage and Asian street food venture Raku. In 1997, Mooney traveled to New York to become the sous chef at Tapika and Michael Jordan’s Steak House. And in 1998, he joined the team at the W Hotel New York, working to launch the hotel’s flagship restaurant, Heartbeat.
It was as chef de cuisine, and later executive chef, of Heartbeat that Mooney enhanced his interest in seasonal, fresh, and organic produce. He had obviously found his milieu; in 2004 Mooney was appointed corporate consulting chef of India’s Taj Hotel group, opening the country’s first organic restaurant, PURE by Michel Nischan. 2006 took Mooney to Dublin, Ireland, where he was appointed executive chef at The Shelbourne Hotel. Retuning to the United States in 2008, he opened Highland Manor in Apopka, Florida, with partner Mick O’Sullivan, where he began hydroponic gardening. He brought these practices to the ultra-seasonal menu of his New York City restaurant Bell Book & Candle, where Mooney was named a 2011 StarChefs.com Rising Star Sustainability Chef. His latest project is a D.C. restaurant in the Union Market complex that will continue showcasing his commitment to responsibly sourced cuisine.