John Malik: The Chef, Mentor, and Food Evangelist of Greenville

July, 14th, 2023 | By GVLtasty

Inside the Culinary World of John Malik

chef john malik photo

In today's 'Meet the Chef' series, we spotlight John Malik, a James Beard-nominated chef, seasoned restaurant coach, and food and beverage consultant based in Greenville, SC. Born and raised in New Orleans, Malik's culinary journey has been as diverse as it has been enriching.

Starting his culinary education in New Orleans, John embarked on a professional cooking career that took him to some of the country's most notable restaurants. His repertoire boasts prestigious establishments such as Christian's and the Eiffel Tower in New Orleans, Supper at Seven and The Mills House Hotel in Charleston, Augusta Grill, Stella's Southern Bistro, and 33 Liberty in Greenville, SC.

In 2000, John and his wife Amy opened the doors to their restaurant, 33 Liberty, in Greenville. The restaurant quickly garnered attention, finding its way onto platforms such as The Food Network and into pages of publications like Bon Appetit Magazine, Southern Living, and Chile Pepper Magazine. Though they closed 33 Liberty at the end of 2008 when the economic downturn hit, its legacy lives on, with John continuing to shape the culinary landscape in Greenville and beyond.

Nourishing Businesses, One Dish At A Time

John has since used his wealth of experience to guide and transform a myriad of food and beverage operations, each with different needs. From small doughnut shops to boutique hotels, he navigates each project with the approach of a seasoned sports coach, fostering growth and development. His work in menu development, food costing, staff training, and marketing has been instrumental in turning around restaurants on the verge of closure and shaping them into successful ventures. Beyond restaurants, John consults for boutique hotels, aiding them in crafting their food and beverage programs.

Beyond The Kitchen

Yet, John's influence in the culinary world extends beyond restaurant floors and kitchen counters. A prolific writer, his essays on food and travel encapsulate his experiences in the industry, including his interactions with the likes of Anthony Bourdain and his adventures in competitive barbecue. His novel, "Doughnuts for Amy," written during his tenure as the Food & Beverage Director of Greenville's Cascades Verdae Retirement Community, resonated with his culinary journey and was published by Winter Goose Publishing.

John's passion for the culinary arts and dedication to mentoring the next generation of chefs have left an indelible mark on Greenville's culinary scene. Notable protégés include Jeff Kelly of Stella's Southern Brasserie, Eddie Wiles of Greenville's Table 301, and Alex George of GB & D. Each of these chefs has gone on to make significant contributions to the Greenville culinary scene, showcasing the skills and insights they gained under Malik's guidance.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Culinary Success

John's website offers an invaluable resource for those seeking guidance in navigating the intricacies of the restaurant business. His comprehensive "Guide to Opening a Restaurant in Greenville, SC" provides aspiring restaurateurs with a step-by-step process for launching and running a successful food establishment. Touching on elements from market feasibility studies to menu pricing and legal requirements, the guide serves as a practical manual crafted from the perspective of an industry veteran.

Tin Roof Farm Radio Show: A Taste of Greenville

If you're hungry for more, John also hosts the "Tin Roof Farm Radio Show," a podcast featuring insightful interviews with food industry professionals from chefs to coffee roasters and farmers. It provides a comprehensive look into Greenville's vibrant food culture. With guests including Erik Guzman of Cucho's Taco Grill, Linda Lee, a Greenville food writer, and Tony Keely of Northampton Wine Cafe, each episode uniquely explores the local culinary landscape.

John Malik's multifaceted career, dedication to nurturing the next generation of chefs, and contributions to the local culinary scene have established him as a cornerstone of Greenville's food community. His passion for food, his meticulous attention to detail, and his commitment to the art of hospitality are evident in all he does. From his engaging novel, 'Doughnuts for Amy', to his comprehensive guide to starting a restaurant, to the deep-dive discussions on his podcast, 'Tin Roof Farm Radio Show', to his insightful restaurant reviews in the 'City Juice' column of the Greenville Journal, there are many ways to experience and learn from Malik's culinary wisdom. We invite you to explore these resources and continue to savor the vibrant flavors of Greenville's food scene.

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