Celeb pals back Restaurant TV star John after heart op
STARS of The Restaurant have sent messages of support to maitre d' John Healy as he recovers from a life-saving heart transplant.
John is in the Mater Hospital this weekend following lengthy surgery.
Those close to the 46-year-old feared for his life after he suffered two heart attacks in the last few years.
However the Herald can reveal that John is doing well following the surgery and is today recovering in intensive care.
Stars of the RTE series paid tribute to John, describing him as an "extraordinary professional". Celebrity lawyer Gerald Kean, who appeared as a chef on the RTE One programme last year, said John's personality was "contagious".
"He is the biggest part of that show. He is an extraordinary professional, a complete gentleman and a great friend," he told the Herald.
"When I was on the show as a celebrity guest, John would not only be friendly and helpful, he would offer advice and the taste the food before it was served.
"I was shocked to hear about his ordeal but I've no doubt he'll be back to full strength very soon."
RTE star Joe Duffy told the Herald that he has sent a get-well card to Healy.
"John is an incredible guy. I've sent him one of my own hand-done cards wishing him well. I am praying for him, his donor and the staff at the Mater this weekend. He's exceptional at his job."
John, originally from Naas in Co Kildare, suffered his first heart attack aged 41 in 2007 and admitted that heavy smoking and drinking contributed to it.
He has also spoken of how his hectic work schedule in restaurants in London and New York took a toll on his health.
He admitted to contacting the Rutland Centre for treatment which he said was the "best thing I ever did".
John regularly appears on The Restaurant along with food critics Tom Doorley and Paolo Tullio.
Mr Tullio told the Herald he was "completely shocked" when he heard about John's heart problems and said his role in making the programme a success was "immeasurable".
"He is a hit with both restaurant goers and the celebrity chefs. I know he'll be back firing all cylinders."