349: Being grateful with Johnny Ray Zone


Chef Johnny Ray Zone, an LA native, has worked professionally under some of the best chefs in the world, including Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay and Nobu Mat Sue He Sa. In 2014, during a stage at Sean Brock’s Husk in Nashville, TN, a local chef introduced Johnny to Nashville Hot Chicken. It was instantaneous love. It is safe to say in the years to follow, Chef Johnny has dedicated is life to mastering the perfect piece of hot fried chicken. You can find his chicken at Howlin’ Ray’s Nashville Hot Chicken, located in Los Angeles, CA.

In this episode we will discuss: Striving for perfection. Hiring customers. The decision to go or not go to culinary school. Mentors in the restaurant industry. The different mindset of someone leaving culinary school with massive debt. The cost of training an employee. Integrity in the restaurant industry. Transitioning from food truck to restaurant. Do one thing well instead of many things well enough. Making guests happy (and encouraging them to come back) is more important than watching the numbers.

Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

Never stop learning. Always strive for perfection even though it’s impossible.

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which “it factor” habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    Being grateful.

  2. What is your biggest weakness?


  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?


  4. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?


  5. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    Too many customers.

  6. What’s one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well and separates you from other restaurants?

    Treating people like human being.

  7. What’s one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

    Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain      The Forty Eight Laws of Power by Robert Green

  8. What’s one piece of technology you’ve adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

    Nest Indoor Security cameras

  9. With all the knowledge you have now if you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of business advice, What would it be and why?


  10. What is one question you think should be added to this interview?


Contact Info

Howlin’ Ray’s website

Instagram: @chefjohnnyrayzone

Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to Johnny Ray Zone for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!