Chef John McCarthy is the chef owner of Oka, a Japanese izakaya located in 439 Third Avenue in New York City. He also owns The Crimson Sparrow restaurant in Hudson, New York, which serves a tasting menu of cuisine that employs French and Japanese technique and incorporates flavors and ingredients primarily from Japan and local farms surrounding Hudson. It opened in June 2012.
John is a former lawyer who left a legal career to attend the French Culinary Institute. After graduating from FCI at the top of his class, he worked for Chef Wylie Dufresne at wd-50 for several years, ultimately becoming Chef Wylie’s research and development cook.
John is also a certified sake sommelier, and has spent a considerable amount of time in Asia. He lived in South Korea for three years when he was in high school, and he typically travels to Japan at least once a year to either stagiaire or travel for food and drink research and development. For the past two years, he has partnered with Chef Hiroyoshi Amano to prepare two dinners for Outstanding in the Field at the foot of Mt. Fuji. for Fujisan Winery.