Johnny Ciao did not get his start in the culinary world like most chefs who go to culinary school or work in restaurants, but by working behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. Ciao always loved to cook for his clients and after producing a book and video called ‘Cooking With Country Music Stars’, that went on to sell close to 1,000,000 copies. It featured recipes from 36 top country music stars from Hank Williams Jr. to Dolly Parton.
In the mid-80′s, Johnny moved his operation from the east coast to the west coast (LA/SF). His second home in San Francisco is what led Johnny to becoming more involved with his passion for food when he met the late concert promoter Bill Graham who asked Johnny to create some of his Inventive Cuisine Treats for Bay Area luminaries at his yearly Bammy Awards Show. There Johnny came in contact with the Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana, Huey Lewis, Buddy Miles, Chris Isaac and many other music greats. He created backstage food and went on to cook for many of these artists one on one in their homes, at recording studios, on the road and wherever.
Johnny then received a phone call that changed his life forever. Pop Star/Music Icon Michael Jackson had collapsed on stage in the Far East while performing. He was weak due to a poor diet and improper eating habits. Johnny was hired to strengthen and change Michael’s diet. He proceeded to move into Neverland Ranch and created healthy, fun and Inventive foods for Michael and his many celebrity guests. It was truly an experience that will last with Johnny for a lifetime!
After improving Michael’s health and re-introducing him to fish and poultry items, Johnny decided it was time to stop representing the interests of others and focus on himself. He acquired a solid reputation as an articulate culinary artist and went on to work with one of the some of the entertainment industry’s biggest names including Willie Nelson, the late Marlon Brando and Gregory Peck, Whitney Houston, Dick Clark, Donnie and Marie Osmond, Mayor Ed Koch, Wayne Brady, Richard Kind, and many other music, sports and political figures.
After the release of his second book, ‘Koncert Kitchen’, Johnny began appearing on top television and radio programs throughout the world. Some of Johnny’s appearances include the Today Show, Regis, Wayne Brady, Donnie and Marie, several Dick Clark Specials, Entertainment Tonight, VH-1, MTV, BBC, RAI and countless network shows throughout the US and the World. To this day he continues to make appearances promoting his appearances, product line, books and charitable ties.
More recently Ciao has been traveling throughout the world filming an internet series, where he re-creates dishes indigenous to regions around the globe in his Euro-California style fashion. He also visits cool destinations, and cooks in the oddest of locations with celebrities and musicians.
Johnny also contributes much of his time doing benefits, golf tournaments and other appearances for ALS, March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, Chi Chi’s Kids, CROC Alumni, The First Tee and many other organizations and schools in need.
Johnny Ciao performs on harmonica while he prepares food at his Famous Blues and Funk Buffet Events which have sold out at several House of Blues locations, as well as other top venues across the U.S. and abroad. Well-Known Musicians from major groups join Johnny as he presents and prepares a feast of food and music for hundreds of guests.