Justin Johnson, who I profiled last January when he was doing amazing things at Harwood Place, a Wauwatosa retirement facility, has been named executive chef at Hotel Metro Downtown.
"My plan is to mirror the hotel's green status with sustainable, local, natural ingredients," Johnson tells me. "It will be 'new' American with my good ol' fashioned French back bone.
"I plan to have my menus basically finished by the time I start on (Feb.) 8 and from there we will strategize a 're-launch'."
Johnson -- who has been at Harwood Place Retirement Community for about three years -- says he interviewed at Metro before that but turned down the offer that followed.
You can read my profile of Johnson here.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.