- Fred the Red Frog with Dinny St. John (2014)
- An Italian Palate with Wyatt Waters (2013)
- Dispatches from My South: Reflections and Recipes from a Southern Food Scribe (2009)
- New South Grilling: Fresh and Exciting Recipes from the Third Coast (2008)
- Southern Seasons with Wyatt Waters ( 2007)
- Deep South Parties: How to Survive the Southern Cocktail Hour Without a Box of French Onion Soup Mix, A Block of Processed Cheese, or A Cocktail Weenie (2006)
- Deep South Staples: or How to Survive in a Southern Kitchen Without a Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup (2006)
- Nobody’s Poet: the Food Columns of Robert St. John with Marshall Ramsey (2004)
- A Southern Palate with Wyatt Waters (2002)
Robert St. John was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1947. His father died at the age of thirty-six when St. John was six. His mother, Dinny St. John, taught art for fifty years and just recently retired at the age of eighty-one. He has one brother.
In high school (at the age of fifteen), St. John became a radio DJ. He worked forty hours a week while attending school. After graduation from high school in 1979, he went to Mississippi State to major in communications. At the same time, he worked in a bar in Starkville. However, he did not do well at MSU. He dropped out and returned to Hattiesburg where he went to work in a restaurant.
After several years, St. John decided to go back to school at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. He took eighteen to twenty hours of classes and went to summer school while working forty hours a week at two different jobs waiting tables because he had a definite goal—he wanted to open a restaurant. He finished his studies (except for two courses) and moved to Florida. He finally finished the last two classes and graduated as one of the oldest students in the class of 2000.
After living in Florida for a short time, St. John moved back to Hattiesburg and opened two restaurants and a bar. During this time he also met his wife Jill, and they are the parents of two children, daughter Holleman and son Harrison. His next venture was a catering business which was not successful, so he next opened a live music club.
St. John began writing a weekly food/humor column which is now carried by numerous newspapers. He has been writing the column for more than twelve years. He has been in the restaurant business for over thirty years; and for twenty-five of those years, he has been as the owner of the Purple Parrot Café, Crescent City Grill, Mahogany Bar, and Tabella in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The Purple Parrot Café has been named the best fine dining restaurant in Mississippi and received five Four-Diamond ratings from the AAA Travel Guide. St. John himself has been named the Mississippi’s top chef three consecutive years and has been honored as Mississippi Restaurateur of the Year.
Several years ago Robert St. John traveled to Europe with his wife and children. For six months they traveled to seventeen countries on two continents, spending much of their time in Italy where St. John worked on a new coffee table cookbook with Mississippi watercolor artist Wyatt Waters titled Italian Palate. When he arrived back in Mississippi, St. John opened an Italian Restaurant.
St. John is the author of ten books including An Italian Palate with Wyatt Waters (2013), Dispatches from My South: Reflections and Recipes from a Southern Food Scribe (2009), New South Grilling: Fresh and Exciting Recipes from the Third Coast (2008), Southern Seasons with Wyatt Waters ( 2007), Deep South Parties: How to Survive the Southern Cocktail Hour Without a Box of French Onion Soup Mix, A Block of Processed Cheese, or A Cocktail Weenie (2006), Deep South Staples: or How to Survive in a Southern Kitchen Without a Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup (2006), Nobody’s Poet: the Food Columns of Robert St. John with Marshall Ramsey (2004), and A Southern Palate with Wyatt Waters in 2002. St. John is known in Mississippi as a writer of cookbooks, a chef, and a restaurateur, and he is now a children’s book author as well. His book for young children, Fred the Red Frog, was a collaboration with his artist mother, Dinny St. John, who created the illustrations for the book. The story is a rhyming tale of a red frog that is up to no good in a grocery store. It was inspired by stories St. John told to his own children when they were small.
St. John has been featured in USA TODAY and appeared on The Food Network, The Travel Channel, National Public Radio, Martha Stewart Living, and the Turner South network. He served two terms as President of the Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association and one year as Chairman of the Board of the Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association. He has served as Chairman of the Board of the Mississippi Arts Commission, chaired two gubernatorial inaugurations, is past president of the Hattiesburg Civic Association, and was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour to the Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal after Hurricane Katrina.
In 2009, St. John founded Extra Table, a non-profit organization that purchases healthy foods and sends them to soup kitchens and
mission pantries. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Extra Table. He describes himself on Facebook as a “father, husband, restaurateur, chef, author, columnist, world-class eater.”
- Robert St. Johns web site
- Web site for Extra Table, Robert St. John’s non-profit organization
- Unlikely chef Robert St. John from Jackson Free Press, 2013
- Robert St. John, mom release children’s book by Clara Martin, CST, 2014
- Mississippi Arts Commission bio for St. John