Chefs

- JAMES LAIRD, Serenade
James Laird

Appearances at The Summit Wine & Food 2013:

V.I.P. Gala Dinner (Friday, 6:30 pm) The Friday Night V.I.P. Gala Dinner on September 20th will consist of a multi-course Dinner featuring sumptuous dishes from notable restaurants and prepared by Master Chefs.
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Biography

At age 40, Chef James Laird's critical acclaim spans from his hometown state of New Jersey to the larger culinary world. The New York Times named him "one of the best classically trained chefs in New Jersey;" NJ Monthly rates his restaurant among "the best of the best;" and The Record describes his cuisine "as a soft and subtle love song."

He has been nationally recognized as well. In 2000, as a tribute to his creativity and expertise, James became the first New Jersey Chef awarded the prestigious Robert Mondavi Winery Culinary Award of Excellence. The Mondavis, who were present at the gala celebration held in his honor, cited James as a chef who "embodies the timeless principles of gastronomic greatness" by creating cuisine that pairs beautifully with wine.

Upon graduation from the Culinary Institute of America, James traveled to Europe to hone his skills under the tutelage of renowned chefs Georges Blanc and Alain Pic. During the early 1990s, he held positions at Lespinasse, The River Café, and Aureole, eventually moving on to New Jersey's esteemed Ryland Inn. During his tenure as sous-chef, the restaurant achieved an "Extraordinary" rating from The New York Times, the equivalent of four stars. It was in the kitchen of the Ryland Inn that James met the woman he would later marry and become business partners with, Nancy Sheridan, also a CIA graduate.

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