The market serves as a daily inspiration for James Tracey when creating the menu at Craft. James works alongside Tom Colicchio to capture the essence of each season for the restaurant’s guests, using locally-sourced ingredients as the basis for the bold, clean flavors that characterize the cooking at Craft.
James’ interest in the culinary industry 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 Colicchio. After learning all he could in Colicchio’s kitchen, James went on to join Lespinasse at The St. Regis Hotel, a New York Times four-star restaurant.
James was eager for a new culinary challenge and accepted a sous chef position at Craft, where he was part of the 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. In 2007 he became the restaurant’s chef de cuisine.
James lives in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, with his wife and two daughters.