Meet John Mindermann, The Man Behind GUIDO’S KITCHEN Soups
While deftly slicing and dicing at the Pittsfield Guido’s location one recent Monday morning, John Mindermann recounted his own slice-of-life path from culinary student to Guido’s Kitchen Man of Soups.
John grew up in New York City and graduated from The Community College of New York in 1980. He pursued his burgeoning passion for cooking at Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 1982. After working in the city in several three and four star restaurants, John set his sites on a quieter life, cooking at a country inn in the Berkshires. He followed his dream, relocated to this area and found his place in the Village Inn’s kitchen in Lenox and subsequently at Sebastian’s and Day’s Catch (the latter two restaurants are now defunct). When Chris and Matt Masiero opened their restaurant Zampano’s on Route 7 in Lenox, John asked to put his considerable chef skills to the test for the brothers. Chris and Matt were familiar with John as a Guido’s customer and appreciated his credentials and ever-growing culinary repertoire. He came on board at Zampano’s, marking the beginning a long and fruitful collaboration with the Masieros.
In time, Zampano’s was passed along to another owner; John stayed on for a bit to help with the transition, but soon left to join Guido’s Fresh Marketplace as Produce Manager, first in Pittsfield, then in Great Barrington and finishing up his Produce Manager role back in Pittsfield. John’s recently joined Guido’s Kitchen, where he is once more at home with knives and pots and pans, creating THE BEST soups with panache. When asked about his inspiration for daily soups-of-the-day, John offers, “I cook with the best ingredients that are available. The cooler’s my inspiration; I choose what looks best at any given time and get to work.” And recipes? Does he follow them? “I wing it. I don’t use recipes.” Letting his ingredients tell the story, folded together with years of culinary experience is a recipe in itself – one that’s successful and delicious day after day. This is success born of a labor of love. The new hat John wears in Guido’s Kitchen is a challenge. “It’s a lot of work,” he admits. “I’ve been out of the business for 20 years and I’ve had to make my way back into it.” We’re so glad his talents are back on the front burner!
It’s clear John loves the job and loves the soup. In fact, when asked which of his soups is his favorite, John diplomatically answers, “I don’t have a personal favorite. I like ’em all.” Sort of like a soup father to his soup children, John’s not playing favorites! But he’ll still share his progeny, so stop by Guido’s in Pittsfield to enjoy the fruits of his labors and become well acquainted with Guido’s Kitchen Man of Soups.