Growing up in one of Providence, Rhode Island’s heavily Italian neighborhoods, John Delpha was no stranger to weekends spent around the table with friends, family and the home-cooked food that followed. Through his teenage years spent in the kitchen at the iconic DiLorenzo’s 1025 Club, John developed an early appreciation for the restaurant industry that only grew during his time spent in the south with the US Army post-college. While living in Georgia and Alabama through his early 20s, John found a fondness for barbecue and grilled oysters that cemented his interest in the culinary world.
After returning to Rhode Island and graduating from Johnson and Wales in 1993 with an A.A.S. in Culinary Arts, John quickly found his footing in the New England food scene. Starting his career as a Rounds and Line Cook while still in school in restaurants such as Al Forno in Providence and Baraonda in New York City gave John the solid foundation he needed to take on greater leadership roles.
In 1997, John found a home in Chef Jamie Mammano’s flagship restaurant Mistral in Boston as the opening Sous Chef. He worked closely with Jamie on menu development, and even had a hand in the design and installation of the kitchen. It was there that he also met Joe Cassinelli, Mistral’s opening Poissonier and later John’s partner at Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar. His first restaurant Executive Chef position followed in 1998 at Harvest in Cambridge, where he secured a coveted 3-star rating from The Boston Globe.
After years working in some of Boston’s most celebrated kitchens, John took on the high-volume country club setting in 2003 as the Executive Chef of Woodland Golf Club’s four dining venues and banquet facilities. He rejoined Jamie Mammano in 2005 as the Executive Chef of Sorellina, helping guide the restaurant to recognition from Esquire as one of the “10 Best New Restaurants” in the country. From there, John headed to the suburbs as the Executive Chef of the lauded Italian restaurant La Campania in Waltham in 2007.
In 2009, John set out on his own venture and opened The Belted Cow, an American-style bistro in Essex Junction, VT. As Chef/Owner, John found the creative freedom to pursue his passion for barbecue while cultivating a love of honest, home-cooked food. A true grilling expert, John competed with iQue, a nationally ranked barbecue team of six professional chefs and the first New England team ever to win the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational BBQ in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Alongside his iQue team members, John has amassed more than 30 awards from professional barbecue competitions, including the title of Grilling Champion (2006, 2011) and Grand Champion (2009) at the Jack Daniel’s BBQ.
John’s next culinary pursuit brings him back to the big city to open Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar in Somerville, where he lends his deep and diverse kitchen experience to the down-to-earth neighborhood restaurant and its impressive smoke program.
When he’s not in the kitchen or on the competition circuit, John keeps his grilling skills sharp twice a year at award-winning 17th Street BBQ in Murphysboro, Illinois, where he teaches high-level barbecue courses in whole-hog porchetta and catering alongside such masters as Mike Mills, Sam Jones, Pat Martin and Wayne Mueller.