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Hospitality Veteran John Winterman Talks About Opening a Restaurant During a Pandemic

John Winterman got fired from his first restaurant job in 1986, and he's been in love with the industry ever since. He honed his appetite for fine dining under the stewardship of Charlie Trotter and Gary Danko, ascended the ranks in Daniel Boulud's empire to become maitre d' at the flagship Daniel, then joined forces with Drew Nieporent's Myriad Restaurant Group to open the 2015 James Beard Best New Restaurant Award-winning Batard as managing partner. Francie—Winterman's first independent venture with chef Chris Cipollone—was set to open its doors in mid-May of this year when the COVID-19 pandemic brought the entire industry to a screeching halt. Food & Wine Senior Editor Kat Kinsman got on a call with her longtime friend to talk about the unseen workers who power our whole food system, what needs to change to support them, and if there's still a future for white tablecloth dining.

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