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Executive Chef John Woods

a person standing in front of a store

Raised alongside nine siblings in a large Irish Catholic family, Chef John Woods feels right at home in his role as executive chef of bustling Irish pub, Five Roses.

Having lived and worked in the Chicago area his entire life, John’s storied food service career got its start at the country club he grew up next to, Nordic Hills Country Club. His neighbor, who worked at the club at the time, asked John if he would be interested in working in the kitchen, and without any prior experience, John accepted, and went on to learn that he thrived in, and was excited by, the fast-paced nature of the hospitality business.

After five years spent working as a cook at Nordic Hills Country Club, John then worked as a cook at Medinah Country Club for two years. After his successful stint at prestigious Chicago-area country clubs, he accepted a cook position at Stouffer Hamilton Hotel, where he partook in the hotel’s strong culinarian development program, and, after three years growing, learning, and moving up the ranks, he was tapped to be executive chef of the Stouffer Oak Brook Hotel. After six years with Stouffer Oak Brook Hotel, he went on to hold various other executive chef positions including: executive chef of The Rosemont Hotel for five years, The Holiday Inn Rosemont executive chef for two years, The Holiday Inn Select Naperville executive chef for seven years, Harrah’s Casino Joliet executive chef for seven years, and at the United Center as executive sous chef for three years.

Well versed in restaurant technology and passionate about reducing food waste in the hospitality industry, John has often been tapped as a thought leader on the topics including speaking engagements at the National Restaurant Association Convention and the Hospitality Technology Conference and at the Excel Centre in London, England on the subject of automatic purchasing systems and reducing waste in the food service supply chain.

At Five Roses Pub, John is excited to reconnect with his Irish roots- serving classic Gaelic pub fare with a refined, chef-driven twist. Having gained invaluable experience over the years from various mentors and chefs, John is committed to mentoring the cooks and sous chefs on his team and strongly believes in leading by example, which he aims to do each and every day in the kitchen through his attention to detail, work ethic, and the processes he has thoughtfully established since starting at the restaurant.

When not at Five Roses Pub, John can be found at home tending to his garden or baking artisan breads.