I think what has made Bishop's restaurant so special for so many years, besides great food, is John's attention to detail.
His regular customers know that they can have a wonderful meal in a comfortable surrounding with beautiful art works on the wall and music that is never too loud, so that they can actually talk without raising their voices. They receive seamless, consistent and non-intrusive service. It feels very private even when the restaurant is full. Bishop's offers quality in every sense.
The day I photographed John, he arrived right on time carrying an armful of clothes to change into during the photography session including a brand-new white shirt with a tag still hanging from it. In this photograph , he's wearing a cashmere jacket with a Bill Reid gold frog pin on his lapel. He always dresses impeccably but subtly.
In spite of his successful career as one of the first celebrity chefs in Vancouver, John seems humble.
He generously invited me to his restaurant. A few weeks later, I asked Linda Solomon, the editor of the Vancouver Observer, to join me. I arrived at the restaurant before Linda. John came up to me and wanted to know about the friend I was waiting for, so that he would be able to have an appropriate conversation when my guest finally arrived. I thought that was very considerate of him.
I heard that John delivered a meal he prepared himself to my ex-husband Toni Onley when he was sick in the hospital. This seems just another example of who John Bishop is.
I come from Japan, a culture where service is so well established that it is done effortlessly. That is the first thing I notice when I return to Japan. The way John gives his service is very similar to what you experience in Japan. It seems so much a part of him that he is probably not even aware of it.
The photograph was taken in my studio in March 2009.
John Bishop is an owner of Bishop's restaurant in Vancouver.
Yukiko Onley is a Vancouver-based photographer specializing in photographing people.