John Placko

Culinary Manager - Toronto, Canada


John Placko

My passion is very much focused on molecular cuisine. In 2012, I decided to leave my corporate position and start two new businesses: Modern Culinary Academy and Powder for Texture. These have allowed me to follow my passion of molecular cuisine including educating others about the ingredients, equipment and techniques. My wife Judie, recently retired from teaching and is now my business partner. She’s a great help with my demonstrations, hands-on events and corporate events. Surfing is still my go-to sport whenever I can get to a beach or go back to Sydney, which is admittedly not very often these days.


I was born in Sydney, Australia, and became hooked on surfing as a teenager. I came to work in my first restaurant by way of a surf shop I worked at. When the surf shop closed, I ended up crossing the street to work in a small Italian place with an owner that taught me the importance of fresh food and an organized kitchen. My introduction to the hospitality industry was a very positive one and I was immediately hooked.

After high school, I went right into hotel and catering management. That led to beginning a cook’s apprenticeship and soon after that, I was entering and winning culinary competitions. The competitions took me all around Australia, to Germany, and then to Canada. I continued my pursuit of culinary competitions, becoming the captain of the N.S.W. regional culinary team and competing at the Bocuse d'Or competition. I've lived in Canada for 18 years working for numerous companies; Cara Operations, Prime Restaurants, Campbell’s and Maple Leaf Foods.

I feel it’s important to donate time to charities like “Live Below the Line.” In 2013, I was pleased to contribute and be Canada’s Culinary Ambassador this worthwhile cause.

Favourite Product

Fresh As Raspberries : The intense flavour and crisp, dry texture make them unique for dipping in chocolate or as a garnish on a dessert.

Favourite Quote

The harder your work, the luckier you become.