Janet Johnston Bio

As an avid home cook and successful spice-shop owner, Janet Johnston brings her bright personality and true passion for spices to Food Network in her show, Spice & Easy.

As an avid home cook and successful spice-shop owner, Janet Johnston brings her bright personality and true passion for spices to Food Network in her show, Spice & Easy. Janet shares her deep knowledge of spices and demonstrates the ease of infusing spices and seasonings into everyday dishes resulting in fantastic flavors. Her approachable techniques and ideas eliminate intimidation and prove that spicing things up is both fun and simple.

Janet grew up in Hoffman Estates, Ill., outside of Chicago, with her parents and three siblings. She earned an associate degree in 1990 from William Rainey Harper College. She then moved to the city and studied photography at Columbia College and received her bachelor’s degree in 1993. After graduation, Janet worked for 13 years at Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting), starting as an executive assistant and working her way to being a manager on the Internet marketing team.

In 2000, Janet met her future husband, Mike, who worked in the spice industry. He ignited her passion for spices and cooking, and they moved to Denver in 2004 to realize their dream: open a beautiful spice shop and build a successful business together. They married in August 2006 and opened their second shop in September in Littleton, Colo. They opened a third shop in Boulder, Colo., in July 2008 and a fourth shop in East Denver’s Lowry Town Center in October 2008, which served as a prototype for their new franchise business. The first franchise opened in November 2009 in Colorado Springs with several more in the works. Janet and Mike manage the overall business every day in addition to constantly creating new spice blends and developing approachable recipes for their customers.

In August 2008, Savory Spice Shop was featured on the Denver episode of Food Network’s Road Tasted with the Neelys as a standout local business. Since then, Janet and Mike have appeared on episodes of Paula’s Best Dishes and Down Home with the Neelys to cook up some of their favorite spice-filled delights.

Besides cooking and eating, Janet enjoys traveling, antiquing, gardening and exercising including yoga.

Janet currently resides in Denver, Colo., with her husband, Mike, and their dog, Bounder. Spice & Easy is filmed in Denver — both in their 100-year-old Victorian home as well as in the original Savory Spice Shop.

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Marc Murphy Bio

Ask Chef Marc Murphy where he grew up and he'll fire off a list of cosmopolitan destinations — Milan, Paris, Villefranche, Washington, D.C., Rome and Genoa — "and that's before I turned 12," he’ll explain. This dizzying list of hometowns served as an excellent education in French and Italian cuisine, though as a teenager this was not his first passion. When the reality hit that he didn't have the funds to become a professional racecar driver, Marc followed his brother to the Institute of Culinary Education. After graduation he apprenticed at restaurants in France and Italy before returning to New York, where he landed a job as a line cook at Terrance Brennan's Prix Fixe. He stayed there for almost two years, working his way through every station in the kitchen and forging a professional bond with Brennan’s Sous Chefs Joseph Fortunato and David Pasternak. Eager to return to Europe, Marc flew to Paris and landed a position at the one-star Le Miraville, where he stayed for one-and-a-half years. Afterward, he staged at the famed Louis XV in Monte Carlo, where Executive Chef Alain Ducasse was so impressed with Marc's skills that he personally made arrangements for him to work with Sylvain Portay at Le Cirque once he returned to the States. Marc still considers Portay to be his greatest teacher. "Sylvain was above all concerned with coaxing out the most-vibrant, interesting flavors any ingredient had to offer, yet he insisted on minimal manipulation," he recalls. Following Le Cirque, Fortunato tapped him to work as a sous chef at Layla, Drew Nieporent's Middle Eastern fantasy in Tribeca, where he met consultant Georges Masraff. When Masraff joined forces to open Cellar in the Sky at Windows on the World, he recruited Marc to serve as executive chef. After receiving critical acclaim, including a two-star review from The New York Times, Marc headed uptown to serve as executive chef of La Fourchette, where NYT critic Ruth Reichl awarded him another glowing two-star review, citing his "open desire to transform food [so that] in his hands, even a simple green salad ... looks like a ruffled hat in a painting by Renoir." In March 2004 Marc opened his first solo enterprise with Landmarc [Tribeca], which won rave reviews both for its eclectic French and Italian menu as well as its highly untraditional wine list. Following its success, Marc opened Ditch Plains in the West Village in 2006 serving casual, beach-style cuisine such as lobster rolls, fish tacos and the infamous ditch dog, as well as other comfort food favorites. In 2007 Marc was given the opportunity to open another Landmarc restaurant in the pres­tigious Time Warner Center, where he brought his bistro-style cuisine midtown. In October 2013 Marc opened Kingside at the Viceroy New York hotel on New York's iconic West 57th Street, serving his interpretation of New American cuisine. Marc's restaurants now fall under the Benchmarc Restaurants by Marc Murphy name, where he acts as executive chef and owner. In addition to the restaurants, Marc also heads up the company's catering division, Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy, where his signature style of accessible contemporary cuisine transcends the boundaries of what is offered in his restaurant locations. Today Marc's involvement in the industry moves beyond the restaurants as well, with a regular role as a judge on Food Network's top-rated hit Chopped as well as appearances on other hit series such as Guy's Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay and Worst Cooks in America. Marc also appears on The Rachael Ray Show and The Today Show, among others. He is the president of the Manhattan chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, a board member of City Harvest, Culintro and Passport NYC at the 92nd Street Y Culinary Camp, as well as a member of the Food + Finance High School's Industry Advisory Board, a member of the Leadership Council for Share our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign and the national spokesperson for Share Our Strength's Dine Out For No Kid Hungry. In 2012 Marc joined the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, where he takes part in public diplomacy programs that engage foreign audiences abroad as well as those visiting the United States. Marc's debut cookbook, Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking, was released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2015.

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