Communal Table Podcast: Opening a Restaurant During a Pandemic

Hospitality veteran John Winterman talks about opening a restaurant during a pandemic, the unseen workers who keep the food system going, and the future of fine dining.

Chefs and restaurant workers take great care of everyone else, but often they need a little help themselves. Each week, Food & Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman talks with hospitality pros about they manage their business, brain, and body for the long haul. Is there a topic you'd like to know more about or a guest you'd love to hear from? Tell us at or tweet to Kat @kittenwithawhip, and subscribe to the weekly Food & Wine Pro newsletter. Subscribe to the new Communal Table YouTube page and never miss an episode. Catch up on previous episodes here.

Episode 64: Hospitality Veteran John Winterman Talks About Opening a Restaurant During a Pandemic

John Winterman got fired from his first restaurant job in 1986, and he's been in love with the industry ever since. He honed his appetite for fine dining under the stewardship of Charlie Trotter and Gary Danko, ascended the ranks in Daniel Boulud's empire to become maitre d' at the flagship Daniel, then joined forces with Drew Nieporent's Myriad Restaurant Group to open the 2015 James Beard Best New Restaurant Award-winning Batard as managing partner. Francie—Winterman's first independent venture with chef-owner Chris Cipollone—was set to open its doors in mid-May of this year when the COVID-19 pandemic brought the entire industry to a screeching halt. Food & Wine Senior Editor Kat Kinsman got on a call with her longtime friend to talk about the unseen workers who power our whole food system, what needs to change to support them, and if there's still a future for white tablecloth dining.

Note: Because the podcast had to be recorded in a less than ideal setup, the sound quality may not be as crisp as usual. We're all doing our best.

Links and Resources

About: Francie Restaurant

Follow: John Winterman

Read: The F&W Pro Guide to Coronavirus: What Restaurants Should Know

That Michael Stipe video: @remhq

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Previous episode: Edward Lee is feeding the people.

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