John’s Bio

John A. Vlahides is a professional writer, producer, travel journalist, TV presenter, and former chef and hotelier. He is also a classical singer with the San Francisco Symphony.

For television, John co-hosted and co-produced the National Geographic TV adventure-travel documentary series Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled, for worldwide broadcast on NatGeo Adventure. Specifically he researched and presented the pilot in Morocco, plus the series’ closing episode in Madagascar, where he was one of few-ever journalists to experience Famadihana, the ritual exhumation of a tribe’s ancestral dead.

As a professional writer, researcher, travel expert, and critic, John has authored 26 travel guides for Lonely Planet, general-interest titles principally on California and the American West, but also on Dubai and the South of France; he is a specialist in etiquette, food, wine, and lodging. He formerly assigned stars to luxury hotels as a reviewer for Fodor’s. His viewpoints on California, New England, Canada, and Australia have been published by BBC Magazines, Sydney Morning Herald, Condé Nast Traveler, Sunset, Wanderlust, San Francisco Magazine, King Features Syndicate, and various other American and international publications. He has received favorable mention in Fantastic Man, the New York Times and Outside Magazine; and has appeared as a travel expert on CNN, ABC World News, Fox News, and various international and local television and radio programs, including ABC Classic FM’s prestigious Mornings with Margaret Throsby, ABC Adelaide’s A World Well Travelled, ABC7’s View from the Bay, KALW Bay Area public radio, and KRON 4 News Weekend, for which he produced a quick-vacations travel segment, called “One Night Stands with John Vlahides.”

John’s background is diverse. The son of two New York doctors—one of science, one of art—he attended prep school in New England at Gould Academy, studied literature at the Sorbonne, and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Binghamton University, and a Diplôme in classic French cooking from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine, in Paris, where he studied with the same chefs who had trained Julia Child. He has been a French–English interpreter, personal chef to celebrity artists, and luxury-hotel concierge with membership in Les Clefs d’Or, the Paris-based union of the world’s topmost concierges.

John is also a classically trained singer and performing artist, a 14-year full-season tenor with the Grammy-winning San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and has performed on multiple recordings, including the triple-Grammy-winning Mahler Symphony No. 8, under the baton of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. As a soloist in crooner style, he has performed at various SF clubs, including Bottom of the Hill and Great American Music Hall. John also presents and emcees at cultural events and festivals, such as Litquake, and spends free time downhill-skiing and hiking the Sierra, biking San Francisco’s hills, and sunning on the beaches of the Golden Gate.

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