John Simmons began cooking professionally at 15 years old. He cooked his way through high school and college, earning beer money and a degree in economics at the University of Illinois along the way. After a few years in an office, he decided that there’s no place like home and in the kitchen John was home. He enrolled at Kendall College Culinary School in Evanston, IL and earned his degree in culinary arts. After a year cooking in sunny Sonoma, CA, he returned to Chicago and got a job on the line at Bistrot Zinc, run by a large and talented rockstar French chef, Rene Bajeux. Shortly thereafter Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises was opening a monstrous French Bistro at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and needed a chef. Mon Ami Gabi was an immediate smash hit. After 4 years as the executive chef at MAG it was time for John to do his own thing. In 2003, that’s when Firefly* Tapas Kitchen and Bar was conceived and subsequently born.