Published January 25, 2013
Many restaurants claim to be locally-sourced, but very few are on a first name basis with the farmers, like Chef James Tracey is.
Chef Tracey is executive chef at two of New York’s hottest restaurants: Craft and Colicchio & Sons. He also has his own ‘hearts of palm guy’ in Hawaii (Brian) and a farmer at the soon-to-open restaurant in Bridgehampton (Jeff).
“Making connections with people like farmers and very specific farmers like Brian… we have a lot of connections like that and that’s part of what we do and kind of what makes it fun,” Tracey told FoxNews.com’s Kitchen Superstars.
Tracey works together with notable Top Chef judge and Craft chef/owner Tom Colicchio to create a seasonal menu using fresh ingredients and classic techniques.
“What we strive to every day is to have a welcoming, relaxed experience for everyone who comes in and feels completely welcome and no atmosphere of stuffiness or pretension,” Tracey said.
The Texas native began his work with Chef Colicchio in 1997 at Gramercy Tavern. The team has worked together ever since in building a critically-acclaimed restaurant empire that includes Craft, where the food is simple and served family-style.
“At Craft, our menu is a family-style version of the restaurant so it’s great for a party of four where you can come in and order multiple dishes and share, which, as long as you’re coming with people that you like, it’s great,” Tracey said.
Chef Tracey has big plans for the future, but right now his passion for new and fresh ingredients is serving him well at Craft and Colicchio & Sons.
“Of course, opening your own restaurant is one thing. I could see that coming down the road,” Tracey said. “Right now, this is a nice challenge.”