Chef Johns has roots in the Ann Arbor community well before Grange. His first culinary experience was behind the line at Real Seafood Company. Shortly after, Chef moved to one of the world’s culinary capitols, New York City, and the Institute of Culinary Education.
Formally trained in New York City, Johns has cooked in kitchens in New York and Chicago. Since returning to Ann Arbor, Chef Brandon has led the kitchens at several local establishments, most recently at the Chop House in Ann Arbor.
Johns’ love of food began at the age of 5 his family moved to a property that had once been a farm. His earliest food memories include sitting in a cherry tree eating ripe sour cherries, the smell of ripe Concord grapes and picking an endless supply of green beans from the family garden. He credits this early introduction to food at its source with his passion for local foods today.
Fresh, local and house made ingredients are a mainstay Johns’ menus. At Grange, 80% of ingredients are sourced from within 100 miles of the restaurant. Johns has developed an extensive network of local farmers and purveyors and has become an expert in local food sourcing in Southeast Michigan
Johns is also known for using the whole animal and has an affinity for unusual cuts and interesting combinations. His menus feature house made sausages, unique whole animal dishes like his signature fried pigs head and changing selections of house made charcuterie.
Johns is a member of Slow Foods Huron Valley and supports Growing Hope, Legacy Land Conservancy, The Greening of Detroit and other local food initiatives including Share our Strengths’ Cooking Matters. He is also honorary chef for the March of Dimes Signature Chef’s Auction. Johns was honored as best chef/restaurant in the 2008 and 2011 Edible WOW Local Heroes Awards.
Chef Brandon has been featured in local and national publications, including The New York Times, Gourmet, GQ, Midwest Living, Edible WOW, Detroit Hour Magazine, and the Detroit Free Press. He has appeared on Fox 2 Cooking School and Road Trip with G. Garvin.
Johns lives in Ypsilanti with his wife Sara and two daughters Lily and Alice. He enjoys fishing, University of Michigan athletics, Michigan craft beers, bourbon, gardening and old school funk.