Even though we met at age ten, it took Brooke fifteen years to get her act together and to realize that Jamie is a really good cook… and easy on the eyes.
James began his culinary adventures at a brunch joint on Pensacola Beach and never looked back. He quickly graduated from biscuit-making to working for James Beard award-winning chef, Frank Stitt, at Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Alabama. Eventually becoming Stitt’s chef de cuisine, James learned to create refined Southern cuisine through classic French culinary technique and using only the freshest local ingredients. Finally, a move to New York City meant being closer to Brooke and collaborating with two of the biggest forces in the culinary world–Chef Daniel Boulud and Food Network. As a sous chef in Restaurant Daniel’s private dining room, he cooked for presidents and US Weekly A-listers (the celeb factor gets Brooke really excited…) On Food Network’s Chopped and Chopped Champions series, James walked away the first-ever two-time champ. James is currently the Director of Culinary Development and a chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education . After training with European masters in sous vide cooking technique in Venice, Italy in the spring of 2011, he began developing ICE’s premiere Cuisine Technology Program. The program features sous vide, low-temperature cooking and hydrocolloids.
In March 2013, James was featured in the New York Times and The New Yorker for his role as the lead chef in ICE’s collaboration with IBM, a project that seeks find how computers can fuel creativity in the kitchen. (Yes, Brooke married a chef nerd… but she wouldn’t have it any other way.)
Brooke dreamed of becoming the next Jane Pauley but, instead, developed into a mini- Paula Deen (that’s what happens when you’re surrounded by a cadre of amazing Southern lady cooks). Soon enough, Brooke figured out a way to combine her two great loves–writing and cooking– by publishing her debut novel with recipes, Belle In the Big Apple (Scribner 08’). The story features a small town Southern girl who moves to New York City in search of a career–and a good meal. Brooke penned the online food column, Full Plate, (think Carrie Bradshaw-cum-June Cleaver) for the New York Daily News and hosted the ABC digital food series, ”Eat & Greet.” She also served as the lifestyle/cooking correspondent for Conde Nast’s debut web network. Brooke is an entertaining expert and wine speaker and teaches Date Night Couples Cooking classes with James at the Institute of Culinary Education.
Just Married & Cooking, debuted in May, 2011, allowing the couple to get behind a lot of fancy stoves in the north and southeast. Since then, they have cooked with some of the best newbie chefs and newlyweds in the country. Recently, Brooke and James launched Just Married & Cooking LLC. In addition to culinary consulting, they stage hands-on cooking and corporate team-building events and dinners in Manhattan, the Hamptons, Florida and California.
Photos by Colleen Duffley