Episode 14

John Gargano: from his time in federal prison to General Manager of one of NYC’s best restaurants (S8/Ep.14)

Published on: 4th January, 2023

John Gargano served 13 years in prison for selling drugs, and in 2016 received clemency from President Obama. He is now the General Manager of Tom Colicchio’s Craft New York and Vallata, two of NYC’s top restaurants. You may be familiar with his story from the Humans of NY instagram page. John is a graduate of NYU's School of Professional Studies with a degree in Leadership and Management Studies. In this episode, we discuss his journey as a kid growing up in South Jersey, his time in prison, where his sense of hospitality comes from, and what he hopes people learn from his story. John’s an avid supporter of Criminal Justice Reform and an advocate for providing opportunities for those who might not otherwise have. He discusses his work with Smile Farms, an organization that provides developmentally disabled adults with meaningful work opportunities at farms, urban gardens, greenhouses, farm stands…and now thanks to him… restaurants! Enjoy this episode as we go Beyond the Plate… with John Gargano.

President Obama's facebook post, as referenced in the intro of this episode.

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About the Podcast

Beyond the Plate
Social Impact in the Culinary World
Join Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan as he sits down in-person with the world’s culinary elite to explore their journey into the food industry and the social impact they have made in their community. Every episode will share inspiring stories of what it means to be in today’s hospitality industry.

About your host

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Andrew Kaplan