John Draz was born in 1962 and graduated from Kendall College with a degree in culinary management, then went to the CIA from 1979-81. Following school, he worked as a sous chef at the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago’s Watertower Place under Chef Edward Merard, followed by a stint at Leslie’s Café Provençal in Evanston, Illinois.
In 1984, Henry Markwood and John Stoltzman hired him as executive chef of the Winnetka Grill, and in 1985 the Great Chefs television crew showed up to tape him for PBS’ Great Chefs of Chicago series.
The following year, he moved to downtown Chicago to work as executive chef of Georges on Kinzie Street and in 1997, he became the executive chef/partner of his own restaurant, Plentywood Restaurant, in Bensenville, Illinois. In 2000, he left that property to become executive research chef for the food processing firm, Ed Miniat Company, where he remains today in 2016.