John Palino was born on June 20th 1960 (Father’s Day), and was raised in a middle class home in the town of Lodi, New Jersey. John attended Rutgers University and while in school, from the age of 13, he worked for his dad in the family restaurant.
By age 20 John was managing a restaurant nightclub with a staff of 150. John loved a challenge and when restaurateurs asked for his help he was there with new ideas, training and rebuilding.
In 1988 John decided to move to Los Angeles and study with one of the greatest acting teachers in the USA, Sanford Meisner. Acting was something he had always wanted to pursue. Of course he had to work to support his acting desire so he went back to managing a top restaurant in Beverly Hills called Tribeca.
After two years John’s longing to get back to the east coast and family landed him back in NYC. At age 31 John had already worked in the restaurant business for 18 years and landed his next job running one of the hottest establishments in NYC, Le Bar Bat, a French Vietnamese restaurant club.
John acknowledges he has learned from some of the greatest restaurateurs and business people both in New York and Los Angeles. John has always believed that you never stop learning, never. Get the best people you possibly can to work with you and they will give you the information you need to succeed as a leader. Never be afraid of not knowing, only of thinking you do.
Over the next couple years, John redeveloped some major restaurants in NYC. When the opportunity came about, John grabbed it and opened his first restaurant. Within a year he opened number two and before the second year was out, he was on his next move off to New Zealand to follow a kiwi woman.
Now in New Zealand, remembering what his father told him, “if you stay in the restaurant business you will never get married”, he was left with the question, what now? John tried to stay out of the business, but still always found a way to be involved in restaurants; he gave his own time to help several restaurants around town. John didn’t like to see people struggle so he would step in and do whatever he could to set the restaurant straight. This is how the TV show “The Kitchen Job” came about.
In the first couple of years in Auckland, John began a career in marketing. Within no time he had created some wonderful events and concepts. First was with SKYCITY for the Millennium. Next was the Big Christmas Tree in Aotea square. Missing a bit of NYC and those wonderful Christmas decorations, he created The Big Christmas for the charity CCS. It was the second largest tree in the world and became a tradition that lasted for some years after.
While working with The Edge, it was suggested to him to take a small space at the entrance of the Civic Theatre. It was there he created his first place in NZ called Starks - a small bar named after Freda Stark, the wonderful dancer at the Civic in the 1940s.
After this success John opened three more restaurants from the Viaduct to the suburbs. John created friendly-family establishments.
One year later, John was sitting in a TV production office creating a reality show about his life called “The Kitchen Job”. Before he knew it, he was traveling the whole country helping people put their restaurant businesses back on track. Finally, he was able to combine all that he loved, helping people, hospitality and TV.
John has a passion to help people, fix problems, and create the best conditions possible.
After selling his businesses while planning his trip back to the States, John created his own Palino’s Pizza Dough, a first of its kind, selling at New World stores.
In 2012 John moved to Connecticut where he designed and built Sono Marketplace, which consists of 50 shops inside a european-style country market. Among the shops John opened was the Flat White Coffee Company, specialising in a New Zealand art-style of coffee.
Now back in NZ, John is a man that doesn’t stand still. He loves people and he loves Auckland. His move to stand for Auckland Mayor comes out of his great desire to preserve Auckland’s way of life and its culture. Auckland’s growth must be smart and efficient, while maintaining the existing beauty that we all know today.