Nine on the Line: Chef John “JP” Pratt from Tohono Chul Garden Bistro

"Nine on the Line" is a chef Q&A series asking a different chef nine questions in each article.

Last modified on October 23rd, 2018 at 10:48 am

Executive John "JP" Pratt at Tohono Chul Garden Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Tohono Chul Garden Bistro executive chef John “JP” Pratt started his culinary career via classes with Ms. Krinke during his freshmen year at Mountain View High School. He immediately loved it.

His first job was at — the now-defunct — Billy Bryant’s Bar-B-Q, where he fell in love with pulled pork. From there, he worked at a couple other mom-and-pop joints before studying culinary arts at the Art Institute of Tucson. After cooking for additional restaurants such as Hotel Congress, he worked his way up to his current executive chef position.

1) What was the first dish you had that changed your perspective on food?

Bacon-dusted fries. It completely changed the way I thought about food. Being able to take something and change the way it looks, and the texture, but still keep the same flavor opened my eyes to the whole molecular gastronomy world of cooking.

2) What are you eating these days?

Chocolate ash, edible charcoal, pliable smoke, pork belly, and pumpkin bonbon with a pumpkin distillation.

3) What was the first dish you remember cooking?

Potato soup with my grandmother.

4) What concept, ingredient, or food trend are you experimenting with these days?

Distillations, ice creams, foams, powders, and cheeses.

5) Who would you most like to cook or eat dinner with?

Heston Blumenthal, Michael Montesano, Grant Achatz, Nikola Tesla, Daniel Tosh.

6) What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to eat?

Seattle, Washington.

7) Speaking in junk food terms, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Oh, dude, Hot ‘n Spicy with cheese or super fries all day.

8) Which three Tucson restaurants do you frequent the most, aside from your own?

Grumpy’s Grill, Linh-Nam Chinese Restaurant, and Hotel Congress.

9) With a figurative electric chair in your immediate future, what is your last meal?

If they are gonna kill me, they are gonna have to clean up after me, too.

Super fries with extra beans, nacho cheese, my top 30 favorite hot sauces, and guacamole, all topped with chili and a Mexican pizza from Taco Bell. And a side of my mom’s pepperoni fettuccine Alfredo. I love that stuff.

Catch John “JP” Pratt at Tohono Chul Garden Bistro, 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte. For more information, visit tohonochulpark.org.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com.
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