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PRO CHEF
James Simpkins
INTRODUCTION
Chef and cookbook author specializing in familiar but sophisticated American regional cuisine.
Featured review
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"Amazing. Chef Simpkins was professional, entertaining and very accommodating. The food was delici..."
My culinary résumé
EXPERIENCE
2013 - 2013
Corporate Chef
Freelancer
Eat Club, Inc, Palo Alto, CA
Contracted to conceptualize and develop new lines of cuisine for the food focused Bay Area start-up
EDUCATION
DIPLOMA - HIGH HONORS
INSTITUTE OF CULINARY EDUCATION , New York, NY
BACHELOR OF ARTS - COMPARATIVE STUDIES
THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, Columbus, OH
MASTER OF ARTS - LITERATURE & CULTURAL STUDIES
UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT, Storrs, CT
ACCOLADES
2002
Tahoe Food & Wine Festival
Best Dessert
2002
Tahoe Food & Wine Festival
Best Pairing
Kitchit Q&A with Chef Simpkins
What is the one kitchen tool (other than a good chef's knife) that you can't live without?

A miniature offset spatula; it stirs my coffee, flips fish/meat/pancakes, un-sticks things that are stuck, and otherwise provides a heat-proof extension of my finger.

Where can you be found/what are you doing on your days off?

On my days off, I'm either playing golf or trail running in the Marin hills. Or traveling. I travel a lot~

Describe your ideal dinner party or event:

I like events that are big enough to bring about the feeling of community, but keep an intimacy about them. While it depends on the group, the magic number for guest experience (and mine) seems to be around 15.

What do you love most about being a chef?

I love that people are so happy when they eat good food. People smiling and sharing together is a great thing to be a part of - and I hope they take those feelings with them when they leave the table.

What is your signature dish?

It changes; currently, I'd say it's variations on a pistachio cake. I fell in love with it a couple months ago and have done several different incarnations of it over a few parties.
Previously, it was probably slow-roasted halibut with herb butter sauce. Could NOT get enough~

Describe your most memorable meal:

One of them was a "snack" with some friends in France: a lobe of seared foie gras with apple compote, a late-harvest Gewurztraminer (from a friend's vineyard), and mini goat cheese medallions - and a baguette. I teared up eating it.

FAVORITE KITCHEN UTENSIL.

The miniature, off-set (silicon) spatula. It does anything...and it doesn't melt.

HOW I THINK ABOUT FOOD...

...mostly as a language. We generally "are" what we eat and express other realities during a meal time--and usually great ones! Humans are happiest when we eat, and remembering that reminds me of the honor and privilege in what I do for others: Take a human need (eating), and turn it into the most sought-after experience on the planet- contentment, however fleeting it may be.

I'M A FOOD NERD.

My wife calls me a "tolerable know-it-all", because I'm driven to always know more about food culture. I have a Jeopardy-like food trivia, and have been known to do historical research during my menu planning to get the history of a dish, spice, animal, or country of origin. I like to find moments to punctuate serving dinner with some fun facts about what we're eating. I actually think it makes the food tastes better~

Wishiwasthere
Unfortunately, this chef only accepts bookings in San Francisco Bay Area.
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Chef Simpkins offers 5 menus.
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