Find your cullinary voice

James Distefano

James Distefano discovered his culinary ambitions growing up in Northvale, New Jersey, surrounded by family where food and home were central themes. He completed his formal education at Hudson County Community College Culinary Arts Program where he discovered a natural chemistry with the pastry program. He continued his training in a range of local restaurants but received his big break when he was tapped by a friend to work at Park Avenue Café in New York. There he assisted pastry great Richard Leach and was introduced to legendary Chef David Burke.

James then decided to explore and experience Europe and staged at Georges Blanc in Vonnas, France. Upon his return, James was part of the opening team at Blue Fin at the W Hotel in Times Square, New York. Following the successful open, Chef David Burke requested that James join him as Executive Pastry Chef at David Burke and Donatella. There, James exhibited a remarkable ability to conceptualize and execute desserts that were signature items on the David Burke menu during the restaurant’s time. In 2008, James was hired as executive Pastry Chef at Rouge Tomate where he executed an ingredient- and technique-driven menu that adhered to the philosophy of S.P.E.®, or Sanitas Per Escam (Health Through Food), a nutritional charter that offers a balanced approach to sourcing, preparing, and enhancing food for the sake of good health.

Learn more about Chef James:

Dessert, Redesigned: Meet Chef James Distefano