The greenmarket serves as a daily inspiration for James Tracey when creating the menus at Craft and Colicchio & Sons. James works alongside chef Tom Colicchio to capture the flavors of each season, using locally sourced ingredients as the basis for the bold, clean dishes that characterize the cooking at Colicchio & Sons and Craft, which received its second three-star review from The New York Times in September 2011.
James’ interest in the culinary world blossomed as a teenager when he took an after-school job at a bakery in his hometown of Mesquite, Texas. After graduating from high school, he attended The Culinary Institute of America and completed an internship at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas. In 1994, the young chef moved to Washington D.C., where he held positions at Red Sage and Vidalia.
New York City beckoned and James landed at Luma, followed by Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern where he first met Tom. After honing his culinary skills in Tom’s kitchen, James went on to join Lespinasse at The St. Regis Hotel, a New York Times four-star rated restaurant.
James was eager for a new culinary challenge and accepted a sous chef position at Craft, where he was part of Tom’s opening team that helped the restaurant receive three stars from The New York Times and The James Beard Foundation’s award for “Best New Restaurant” in 2002. Five years later, he became the restaurant’s chef de cuisine, and in 2011, James was named executive chef of both Craft and Colicchio & Sons, where he oversees the staff and menus at both restaurants.
James lives in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, with his wife and two daughters.
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