John Neal was born just outside Pensacola, in Milton, Florida. Following school, he moved to New York City where he became the official cook for a group of his friends. At age 25, in 1981, trying to figure out what he wanted to do with himself, he decided cooking was the most fun, so he entered the New York Technical College’s culinary curriculum.
He went on to work at restaurants in New York, then overseas at L’Hotel Rip-Alta in Plaisance-du-Gens, France and Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy before moving to New Orleans and becoming the executive chef at the Bistro at Maison de Ville in 1990.
In 1992 he bought the Peristyle Restaurant and six months later, the Great Chefs television crew showed up to tape him for Discovery Channel’s television series, the Louisiana New Garde (episodes # 5, 13 & 20). Chef John Neal passed away shortly thereafter.