Christopher James Bio 2017

Christopher James began his culinary career in Philadelphia in the late 80s while at Temple University studying history and secondary education.

Working as a line cook at a popular bar, Waldos, he had the opportunity to take an apprentice position at a new California-inspired Tuscan restaurant, Pomodoro, the brainchild of Neil Stein (Fish Co.) and the Marabella Bros. Working under Albert Paris, he honed his skills and appreciation of fresh ingredients, simple flavorful combinations, and high-quality exacting cooking techniques. Promoted from Pomodoro to a chef-manager of the Center City Marabellas Locust Street location, where a 120 seat Italian-casual restaurant was a favorite of theatergoers downtown.

Moving on in in the Philadelphia restaurant scene, Christopher took a sous-chef (and then chef) position at Dock Street Restaurant working with chef Bradley Bartram (now EVP of Starr Restaurants) owned by Rosemarie Certo and her husband Jeffrey Ware. Dock Street, full-grain brewery and restaurant serving house-made artisanal breads, eclectic “brew-pub” cuisine, with a distinct emphasis on seasonality of the menu.

In the mid-90s, Christopher traveled to Providence, RI to attend Johnson and Wales for their summer accelerated culinary program. While in school, he found a position as a sous-chef at Pot au Feu, a fine-dining formal French restaurant in downtown Providence with restaurateur icon Robert “Bob” Burke. At the stoves in Pot au Feu, he learned classically prepared fine-dining dishes and French bistro classics.

Traveling to Bedford, NH in 1996, Christopher joined C.R. Sparks, an American casual open kitchen, owned by Chuck Rolecek, serving fresh twists on stylized well-executed American dishes, many coming from a wood fired oven.

Heading south to NYC to go back to school at NYU in fall of 1997, Christopher worked briefly as a line cook at Alley’s End, in Chelsea on 17th Street, just west of Eighth Avenue. A small seasonally influenced menu of really great new American fusion food, gracefully served in an eclectic dining atmosphere.

Since January 1998, Christopher has been employed at NYU, first as a secretary to the director of public affairs, then moving up to serve as a media relations specialist since 2000. Never wanting to completely leave the food industry, Christopher started CJ Catering NYC, Inc. in 2007, working for six years as a company chef for a NYU women’s theater group, Voice and Vision, while they workshopped for two weeks over the summer at Bard College.

CJ Catering currently provides full-service editorial, marketing, and media relations consulting for a wide-range of enterprises. Today, Christopher still takes on the occasional catering gig, and on the weekends in the summer, he is a Master Judge for Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned professional BBQ competitions. In 2016, with his daughter Anastasia, his BBQ team, “Que Kings of Queens began to compete in the KCBS events.