Richard Johnson wasn't always on the straight and narrow. Growing up in Buffalo, N.Y., he got involved with the wrong crowd and lived a life "in the streets," as he puts it. It's a reality from which he doesn't shy away; instead, he addresses it and uses that experience to shape his business acumen.
In the early 1980s, "I got into a little trouble, so I had to move," says Johnson, now a professional chef and owner of Metro City Wing House in Temple Hills. "My cousin told me 'come to Florida, because I don't want anything to happen to you.'"
But once Johnson made it to Florida, he looked for work in the "Help Wanted" ads and realized he wasn't qualified for work. He eventually found a job washing dishes because of its association to the culinary arts. So he's not like the chefs you might see on television: Johnson, is self-taught, having done a little prepping and line cooking while also washing dishes. "I knew I could eat," Johnson says. "When I got into it, I said, 'I can do this!' I just wanted to be the best at what I do. My passion for it grew because good food leads to good conversation."