Rising Star Chef Thomas John of Piperi Mediterranean Grill - Biography

Boston, MA

November 2011

The son of an Indian Air Force commander-turned-farmer, Thomas John grew up infatuated with the food and culinary traditions of his south Indian homeland of Kerala. His mother kept a two-acre “kitchen garden” next to their house, and his earliest cooking memory is helping prepare vegetables for his family's annual Onam feast.

After receiving a degree in Public Administration from Punjab University, John attended the Institute of Hotel Management in Madras for three years, followed by the Oberoi Culinary School in Delhi. During that time, John received classical European training in both cooking and administrative techniques and worked as a sous chef at The Oberoi, where he remained for the next six years. During his tenure, he visited many of the top hotels in Southeast Asia to study their exacting kitchen standards; he also provided recipes and food styling for The Oberoi’s Food of India cookbook.

After two years at The Radisson in Delhi, John was hired as opening executive chef of Le Meridien in Pune in 1998. There, he oversaw the property’s four restaurants, as well as its extensive banquet facilities. In 2001, John brought his talents stateside to Boston’s Mantra, with a menu combining elements of French and Indian cuisine. In 2002, he was named one of “America's Best New Chefs” by Food & Wine magazine. He was also named a 2003 StarChefs.com Boston Rising Star Chef. John’s next moved to Au Bon Pain, where he serves as executive chef of the growing brand. Most recently, John launched the Boston-based, quick-service concept Piperi Mediterranean Grill.