At the age of 12, James Chase heard the call of the culinary arts in the simple form of bacon and eggs. Whether it was for his parents or his friends and their parents, who were happy to have him stay over in order to sample his art, this dish launched him from a curious teenager to a quizzical student, and now, to a chef of the highest quality.
Born and raised in suburban
Knowing that study without practice was under serving, James sought out employment under Chef Eric Pickens of Classic Catering, and delved deeply into the art and efficiency of catering to large crowds with food of the finest quality. Chef Pickens was impressed with James’ work and dedication and referred James to his friend, 1995 Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s Chef of the Year Bill Jackson of the Carlysle Grand Café in
While still in school, Chef Jackson took James under his wing, and was able to show him the enormous responsibilities of being a modern chef, from managing the multimillion dollar business to perfecting the smallest garnish. Under the tutelage of Chef Jackson, he was able to experience that which he was being taught in culinary school, preparing him for life as a culinary artist.
Soon James moved across the border into
James moved on to expand his culinary knowledge by spending time at Zola, the fashionable café beneath
Later, James worked at Chef Todd English’s Olives in midtown DC, under one of his most trusted assistants, Steve Maneno. Exploring the roots of Mediterranean cuisine and expanding upon his prior knowledge, James was able to add a new geographical twist to his repertoire while earning the respect and admiration of two of the city’s finest chefs.
That respect came calling when he was asked to join the staff at another of DC’s more prestigious haunts, DC Coast. Known for having the best seafood in town, James was able to learn from the highly rated Chef Jeff Tunks and Chef de Cuisine Andy Brooks. Chef Brooks took James’ cooking to another level, infusing the knowledge and usage of local and simple ingredients to create fresh masterpieces with seasonal variety. James was so well regarded at DC Coast, he was asked to help start Chef Tunks’ fourth DC restaurant, Acadiana.
The Washington Post in April 2007 raved about James’ Wahoo special:
Another night's wahoo -- ah, that daily delivery -- was also served just as requested, one minute on the light side. Topped with a roasted tomato sauce (with a surprise kick of chili) and sided with a slightly sweet gingery polenta, it was one of the nicest and least showy seafood entrees in several months.
James sees food as a personal interaction from chef to diner, and continues to implement his mantra of fresh ingredients presented in an exquisite fashion, simple as his bacon and eggs all those years ago.