Employee Spotlight: Gracie’s Server – John Cappiello by Stephen Willson
This month we are highlighting the exceptionally talented and eternally inspirational John Cappiello, a front-server at Gracie’s. John has been a member of the Gracie’s team for three years. In those three years, he has worked his way through the entire restaurant, starting in the kitchen then moving into the dining room. He started way back as a young, fresh faced kitchen intern, worked his way to the garde manger station, then decided to focus on honing his service and beverage skills. This led him into the dining room, first as a back-server, then eventually being promoted to a front-server. Regardless of where John happens to be working, he shines bright and always works hard.
Like so many of us in the industry, John’s culinary inspiration begins with his family. His parents were always cooking for the family. However, it wasn’t until he spent a weekend at Johnson & Wales University as a visiting high school senior that he realized the potential of a career in hospitality. Before then, he had planned on going to military school to become a pilot.
John has become our in-house beer guru. He even makes his own beer. However, his beer knowledge is not his only strength on the dining room floor. His culinary background and kitchen experience have allowed him to acquire vast, in-depth knowledge of food ingredients, cooking techniques, and the highly respected work ethic that comes from working long hours in a hot kitchen. In addition, he also completed and passed the introductory sommelier course for the Court of Master Sommeliers. He is constantly learning and growing. His ambition and work ethic are sure to take him to the top of his industry.
At Gracie’s, one of John’s favorite things is to turn guests on to new foods, wines, etc. He loves when a guest tries something they would have never eaten and then loves it. His knack for food and wine pairing allows him to personally tailor his guest’s dining experience and enhance each and every meal. John’s favorite food and wine pairings are oysters on the half shell with Champagne, and sausages with wholegrain mustard paired with German riesling.
Outside of working at Gracie’s and attending Johnson & Wales University, John spends his time running. He runs a lot, like 70-plus miles in a week! He enjoys photography and, occasionally, detaching himself from his fast-paced life to spend time building with Legos. He also has a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, as he has been studying martial arts for the past 14 years.
His hard work, ambition, and exceptional work ethic have recently earned him the prestigious Kopf Scholarship, awarded by the Kobrand Corporation. This ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ award earns him an all expenses paid two month journey through Italy, France, and California. There he will study winemaking, viticulture, and taste through some of the most famous and treasured wines in the world. The scholarship also awards him a $5,000 dining budget and a $10,000 cash prize. It is a life-changing opportunity awarded only to the very best and brightest students across the country. There is no one on the planet more deserving of this award than John. We are all so proud of him.