Chef James is a nationally recognized chef and has worked in the kitchens at Craft, Starr Restaurants, Gramercy Tavern, Colicchio & Sons, and Lespinasse for more than 30 years. Green markets and nearby farms serve as Chef Tracey's sources of inspiration as he develops recipes with crisp, assertive flavors that best highlight the ingredients. Chef Tracey garnered Craft and Colicchio & Sons 3-star reviews from the New York Times.
When Chef James was a teenager, he developed an interest in the food industry after working at a bakery in Mesquite, Tx, his hometown. He finished his internship at Hyatt Regency in Dallas as a student at The Culinary Institute of America.
In 1994, Chef James moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked at Red Sage and Vidalia. James arrived in New York City at Luma before moving on to Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern, where he first met Tom Colicchio. James joined Lespinasse at The St. Regis Hotel, New York Times' four-star restaurant, after gaining as much knowledge as he could in Colicchio's kitchen.
Later on, Chef James accepted a sous chef position at Craft because he was looking for a new culinary challenge. As a member of the opening staff, he helped the restaurant earn three stars from The New York Times and The James Beard Foundation's award for "Best New Restaurant" in 2002. He eventually became the restaurant's chef de cuisine in 2007.
Today, Chef James is the Executive Chef/Partner of Monterey, the newest retro-chic American Brasserie in Midtown Manhattan, and Isabelle's Osteria, a contemporary Italian restaurant in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan.
The menu at Monterey spans the world and features Chef Tracey's seasonal fare in addition to a wide variety of roast prime rib of beef and prime dry-aged steaks. The two-floor spacious area is a comfortable and opulent expansive bar and seating for up to 200 guests. It is ideal for large group dinners and has separate rooms for business and social functions.
On the other hand, Chef James prepares a warm cuisine of seasonally appropriate Italian classics at Isabelle's Osteria. The intimate, 140-seat open area has indoor and outdoor dining, a large bar, warm woods, exposed brick, vibrant wallpaper, and vibrant plants. They have a separate space for private dining (indoors) and then a separate outdoor heated veranda for regular dining.