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Johnson was born in New York and lived in the Bronx for three years before moving to Los Angeles. She and her family made their way to the D.C. area in 1998, where Johnson has remained, save for two years she spent at Temple University in Philadelphia. Her resume includes stops at Macon Bistro & Larder, Open City, The Diner, Eola, Le Diplomate, and Robert Wiedmaier’s Mussel Bar & Grille in both Arlington and Bethesda.